Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Don Sandel, Founder of GoPositiv, Inc., located in Arlington Heights, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

At GoPositiv, Inc., we offer keynotes, workshops, coaching, and consulting, all in the context of a positive mindset, well-being, and increased engagement. This is all borne from the idea that we are better in everything that we do when we shift from a negative default to a positive one. Such content really allows us to work with a varied client base, which includes pharma, manufacturing, schools, banks, non-profits, and even individuals. Since we can all benefit from shifting to a more positive mindset, our clients are wonderfully varied.

Tell us about yourself

I was in the corporate world for almost 30 years running such departments as Talent Development and Leadership Development. While in this very interesting and compelling career, I desired to improve our curricula. This brought me to research how our brains learn. While doing this research, I kept running into positive psychology studies. I was hooked. I read everything I could on the topic, earned certificates, and began embedding these concepts into corporate programs. Soon I was speaking internally, then externally, and then globally. Some of my workshops were the only ones with a waitlist! Convinced of this new calling and its related benefits for individuals, teams, and organizations, I launched GoPositiv. Now we offer a number of solutions at a time when the workforce needs positivity, increased well-being, and happier leaders and employees. When we share the neuroscience and the research about this "positive mind-shift"--how it makes us better--audiences become believers.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We literally started with nothing, a blank slate. We had to build a workable and scalable strategy, create our solutions and offerings, and market who we are and what we do. Much of this was foreign and brand new. I made mistakes and miscalculated, but I grew and learned from those missteps. Through that process, we've grown year over year on an average of 20%, with current bookings already in 2023 exceeding that 20% previous growth. In addition, I published Positive Mindshift, available at Amazon, to glowing reviews and a spark to my business. New offerings and solutions are also seeding this new growth. Despite a tough business climate, the future looks bright!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

So much of it is the "not knowing." It's all-new, and mistakes, many of them, will happen. I'm an expert in shifting to a positive mindset and its benefits, but I'm hardly an accountant or a marketing savant. Knowing my weaknesses and strengths and playing to those have been a huge benefit, often leaning on experts in the areas that I'm not. The other challenge is the up-and-down nature of a new business. Having confidence, a positive mindset, and resilience remain key attributes.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Love what you do. When there is joy in the business process, knowing that you are making a difference will provide the boost and the requisite energy needed to push through. Most everything can be monetized but loving what you are doing is the fuel to success.
  2. Know your mission, vision, and purpose. This is similar to the related idea of knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Once you know where you are going and how to get there will keep your focus on your end game. There are plenty of outside influences that can both keep you focused but also help take your eye off the ball. Leverage others in support of your goals but always keep your vision in mind.
  3. Build your network and solid relationships. A broad network will be the feeder system to the solutions that you offer, but solid relationships are also what sustain our positive emotions, especially during tough times. My biggest successes are due to those relationships, and I don't just mean new clients and revenue. Solid relationships are both the key to a thriving business but also a thriving life.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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