Dr. Harold Jonas – Founder of Sober.com


I do not think of a project failing, I think of not trying as the failure.

Harold Jonas, PhD, LMHC, CAP is a practicing Psychotherapist and Licensed Therapist in Florida. Since 1999, he has had extensive experience with web development and award-winning app development. He’s responsible for the concept, design and launch of multiple directories serving the Addiction & Recovery industry – most notably Sober.com. Most recently his FlexDek MAT Edition app, designed to help combat the raging epidemic of opiate addiction was awarded the First Place Award in a nationwide Opioid Recovery App Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The first-of-kind adaptable smartphone app increases client compliance by introducing rewards for usage and reduces relapses which often require re-hospitalization.

Where did the idea for Sober.com come from?

I saw the evolution and inherent value of up-to-date information when chasing referral placements as a discharge planner at a psych hospital. I developed Sober.com – one of the first online directories for the recovery industry in 1999-2000 and went LIVE with online aftercare in 2004. We were testing out social capitalism by directing ad revenue to free recovery coaching via the Internet.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Each morning, I assess what “needs” have to met for me personally, professionally and with the business.
I make mental and paper lists, prioritize and check off as the day unfolds. I leave room for flexibility and re-prioritization.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I envision how an idea looks, since I process more visually than textually. I evaluate the market, research competing or similar ideas that may be out there and look for either a void or a way to improve what is there. Since I am trained as a clinician, I think in terms of program development and evaluation, conduct a needs assessment and weigh it out. Then I look at costs versus earnings potential and seek ways to calculate and minimize risk, then devise an exit strategy if all comes undone. I do not think of a project failing, I think of not trying as the failure.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Professionally, the latest trend I am excited about is the Disease Concept argument getting air time and print space.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Self-discipline and an undying willingness to sacrifice short term wants in order to achieve long term goals.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

That is hard as I do not think of any job as being bad or the worst. The over-rising theme was working for someone else was the worst thing about the task. Every task was challenging in different ways. I had to learn patience and maturity to manage success.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Not let my dreams go up in smoke.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Routine with flexibility has served me well. Believing in an idea despite all the naysayers that either do not “see” it or are risk oriented. Chasing the dream so there are no regrets.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

I read the news daily, usually via the Internet. I look at two-three sources of the same story. I take risk and am very decisive.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I view my failure being limited as to my pure business knowledge. I am limited in business school information like accounting and bookkeeping. I compensate well but never over-compensated by pursuing formal education or self-teaching to the extent that would be more helpful

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Internet destination sites. People will travel based on information on the web. A good destination site can generate revenue through advertising and other ancillary rev streams like concierge services, tour services, etc.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I traded in AmX points for an iPod so I can download Podcasts and learn while bike riding. I bought new earphones and a case to protect my new toy. Everything seems to have a purpose in the near or far.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

We are using Microsoft Office and a slew of other products that support our lead gen division. I am a PC user so I use Google for most everything, mail, docs, spreadsheets and calendar.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The one book I recommend is “GETTING to YES”. It will assist in self-awareness and make for more mutually beneficial happy endings.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

To this day I hear my Father’s voice since the belief system he taught, modeled and slammed home stuck. Other influential people are Victor Frankel, Irvin Yalom, Malcom Gladwell.


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