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BizCast 55: Shobi Zietlow: Rags to Nationally Recognized Leader

Copy BizCast 55:

Episode 55

Shobi Zietlow: Rags to Nationally Recognized Leader

About BizCast Greater La Crosse

We bring you news from the business community. From startups to experienced problem solvers, you’ll get in-depth insight on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Greater La Crosse. Our show is a collaboration between WIZMNews.com and BizNews Greater La Crosse ( GreaterLaCrosse.media ).

 Summary

 Shobi Zietlow, the owner of Referral Staffing Solutions, who shares her journey of entrepreneurship, starting from her humble origins to building her business. She discusses her upbringing, challenges in managing the business, seeking professional development programs, and her commitment to giving back to the community. Zietlow shares her plans for rebranding, celebrating 10 years in business, and her passion for making impactful connections between jobseekers and employers.

Full Transcript [generated by A.I.]

 [apologies, A.I. did not do well on this transcription]

[00:00:00] Shobi Zietlow: my advice to new business owners is always like charge double, whatever you think it is charged at least double that. It’s probably going to be three times that, but at least double. Just at least double, trust me. 

[00:00:11] Vicki Markussen: Welcome to Biz Cast Greater Lacrosse, a weekly podcast from Biz News. We bring you news from the business community. I am your host and founder, Vicki Markussen. Joining me today is Shobi Zietlow. She is the owner and president of Referral Staffing Solutions. So I always like to start with. You’re a business owner, where do you think you got this incentive, this urge to become a business 

[00:00:37] Shobi Zietlow: owner?

[00:00:38] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m going to start at the very beginning, of course. So I am the third child that my parents had. So my parents had I have an older brother, older sister, and my parents packed up and moved to Mississippi. My mother was very, very pregnant. I was born in the back of a van on purpose.

[00:00:58] Shobi Zietlow: has always been entrepreneurial. right? Like he saw two children being born and said, Hey, I can do that. And he delivered me and the four children that came after me. So I always say that that’s where it started. right? But the reality is we were incredibly, incredibly poor. We lived in a school bus. We took that school bus from Mississippi to to this area.

[00:01:15] Shobi Zietlow: So we grew up in Cashton and when we got to Cashton they literally went out into the woods and cut down trees and built a house out of the trees that they forested themselves. You can see through the walls, which is great for winters in Wisconsin. Mm hmm. Dirt floor outhouse, the whole nine yards, we literally had a garden hose that came into the house.

[00:01:32] Shobi Zietlow: You had to let it run for a while so you didn’t drink the rust that collected overnight. So I always say like my goal, my dream in life was to have indoor plumbing, and I have not one, but two indoor toilets now. I know, it’s amazing. And hot water. It’s crazy. I do joke about that, but like, that really was a driving force in my life.

[00:01:50] Shobi Zietlow: I was like, I know that there is something more out there for me. I know that I can have better than this. And that is really, I think, where it started. Growing up, my father had always tried different businesses. And we were always a part of that, whether it was planing lumber as a seven-year-old, which was probably not very safe or OSHA approved, but we did it to selling Amway and just a variety of different things and so like we got that inspiration, I would say but unfortunately, nothing ever really came to fruition, so we just, I think all of my siblings realized we wanted more in life. And right now, six out of seven children have their own businesses. That’s 

[00:02:28] Vicki Markussen: incredible. And if you think about it, like it was instilled in you. It was a necessity that you work and that by working hard, that’s how you make a living, right?

[00:02:38] Vicki Markussen: Like it was that or not eating or something. Not very desirable as a result. And this was your mindset. Where was your path? Where did you really start to see that path? Was it in high school? Was it after high school? 

[00:02:53] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah it’s, so I’m the third child. And my older siblings, my older brother graduated with honors.

[00:02:59] Shobi Zietlow: My older sister was valedictorian. I graduated with honors, but I did not. I did not apply myself like I should have. Literally, they gave me the ribbon when I went to pick up my gown for graduation. And I was like, I don’t think I’m supposed to have that. And they’re like, no, it’s yours. And I was like, oh, cool.

[00:03:13] Shobi Zietlow: So I, I did not apply myself. I’ve always been a little bit of, I always tend to do things that, Backwards way. So I, after high school, worked a couple entry-level jobs. I moved to Chicago for a while. I was there for about a year, moved back, started college. I was like, okay, I’m going to figure something out.

[00:03:31] Shobi Zietlow: I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I enrolled in school. I started, and then I found out I was do with my son nine months later, like nine months from the day school started. So I finished that semester, and I was like, what am I going to do now? I was working a job that I was miserable in. It was a call center, and I cried a lot there.

[00:03:48] Shobi Zietlow: But when I found out I was pregnant, I was like, cool, I’m going to keep this job for a while. And after my son was born, then I made a change and I went back to waitressing, something I always loved the hustle and bustle. It was always fun. Just a lot of fun, like, B-sing with customers and that whole nine yards.

[00:04:03] Shobi Zietlow: So my son was about two years old when I went back to school. My sister and I both were in the service industry, and we decided, you know what, we want to do something bigger than this. So we’re like, let’s own our own restaurant. We love the restaurant industry. Let’s do that. So I jumped back into school, ended up relocating to Madison.

[00:04:18] Shobi Zietlow: So I started a supervisory management program. Same time, entered into the staffing world and the entry-level staffing role. From there, I realized oh it took me about six months, I would say, in that role. I was, I don’t know if I want to do this. This is challenging. There are sometimes challenging individuals you get to deal with.

[00:04:35] Shobi Zietlow: You’re playing with people’s lives, right? You’re a part of people’s lives. But at that six month mark, there were some people that came back to me and were like, Oh, my gosh, because you gave me this chance, this is how my life changed. And then also on the business side of things where businesses were like, Hey I can go to my kid’s school Softball game because you found me the staff I needed, and our production goals are met.

[00:04:56] Shobi Zietlow: So I started seeing how those small things that I was doing in the staffing industry was really impacting people’s lives. And so that’s really where things switched for me. So I was going to school full-time. I was a single mom at that point, and I was working full-time as well. And so I worked through school.

[00:05:12] Shobi Zietlow: I graduated with my degree. At this point, it was 2009 when I graduated, so the economy was like a hot mess at that point. Oh, it was, yeah. So the company I worked for was like, you’re great, but we can’t offer you anything. And I was like, I worked really, really hard to put myself through school. Like, we’ve sacrificed a lot to make that happen.

[00:05:31] Shobi Zietlow: And I love what I do here, and I love this organization. I don’t want to leave, but I can’t work for, I don’t know, 11, 12, 13 an hour or whatever it was. I’m supporting a family by myself, right? So I told them I was going to look for another opportunity. And it was a couple of weeks later, they came in and actually walked out.

[00:05:48] Shobi Zietlow: What’s the best part about your job summary, and who will hire you? Sparta, Wisconsin opened up. I had a friend that sent me a link and said, hey, if you think about moving back. And at this point my son is growing up. I took a look at my life, and I was working a ridiculous amount of hours with the agency I was with, and I realized like the only people I knew were people I had met through work.

[00:06:26] Shobi Zietlow: And then there were a couple of people I had met through my son’s daycare, but I was like, we don’t have a life outside of work here. And my son is growing up without his. Without his cousins, without my sisters. And so we decided to take the leap and move back here. And I worked for that other organization, managed that agency in Sparta, about six months into that role.

[00:06:45] Shobi Zietlow: I got a new boss, and I was like, Woo, this is going to be great. I think we’re going to get along wonderfully. We didn’t. No, no. But we talked about it. We openly talked about it. We did not communicate well. What she wanted and what I we just, and I will tell you, I’m not an easy person to manage.

[00:07:01] Shobi Zietlow: So, you got, I got to give them some grace. It’s the entrepreneur in you. Yes. I wouldn’t want to manage somebody like you. So it was, I worked for them for about two and a half years. Came to a point where I was like, I can’t do this anymore, and I put in my resignation. I did tell them, I was like, I will work until you find my replacement, or until I find a replacement.

[00:07:17] Shobi Zietlow: But they came in and walked me out the next day, so I was like, oh that’s not what I was planning. At that point, I applied for a couple of different roles. This was December of 2013. Applied for a couple of different roles, like trying to figure out what I was going to do, but I’m going to backtrack a little bit.

[00:07:30] Shobi Zietlow: I skipped over a very important section. About a year prior to that, Someone told me about this Tony Robbins conference that was in, he was coming to Chicago, so the Chicago area. And I went to that conference, and it was Unleash the Power Within. And so it’s a conference where there’s like lots of personal empowerment.

[00:07:48] Shobi Zietlow: You walk across fire is the whole thing. And with that, like, when I’m sitting on my couch trying to figure out what am I going to do, right? What am I going to do? I decided, you know what’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? Because I had all these self limiting beliefs. You’re not smart enough.

[00:08:02] Shobi Zietlow: You’re not you don’t have enough money. You don’t have enough of anything to go out on your own. But then I was like, you know what’s the worst that’s going to happen? I need to know when to cut it off. I need to know when to stop if I’m failing miserably. But what’s the worst that’s going to happen other than a really terribly bruised ego, right?

[00:08:19] Shobi Zietlow: I can get through that. I can get through that. Look at my childhood. I got through a lot. I can get through this. So in January of 2014, I was like, okay, let’s do this. So I created the LLC. Worked from home for a while, didn’t have a separate bedroom to set up my office. So I bounced from my couch to my kitchen table and I just realized, oh my gosh, I’m not being as productive as I could be.

[00:08:40] Shobi Zietlow: At that point I found an office, and it was a cheap office. It was dingy. It wasn’t cute, but it got me, it was a place for me to go and a place for me to work. And we had our first employee on payroll by April of that year. I did some direct hire stuff between January and March. But first employee, first temporary employee working for another company in April of that year.

[00:09:01] Shobi Zietlow: And yeah, fast track now, we have got two offices. We have an office in Sparta. We have an office in La Crosse. We have had an office in the Viroqua area, which we don’t at this point due to some shifts and changes that have taken place. Still staff in that area. We just don’t have a physical location there right now.

[00:09:16] Shobi Zietlow: But yeah, 10 years in business and it has been an insane journey, but that gives a bit of the how we got here, I suppose. And it’s 

[00:09:25] Vicki Markussen: not just that you started the business, you grew the business, you’re in a business that is really tough. I’m sure you’ve seen it. seen huge peaks and huge valleys. And so, how have you navigated that?

[00:09:36] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. So 

[00:09:37] Shobi Zietlow: the first year, first two years in business I guess the first year and a half in business, I did it by myself. So it was about a year and a half in, and I hired my first internal employee. By the end of that year, I hired another person in a part time role. And I realized once I brought employees on, I was like, Oh my gosh, like our sales were increasing massively and our net.

[00:09:55] Shobi Zietlow: Net earnings were not. And I was like, okay, employees are tough. Which is funny, right, because that’s literally my business. But that’s probably been one of the hardest things about growing the business, is like, how do you manage employees? How do you set expectations? How do you how do you set that follow through?

[00:10:11] Shobi Zietlow: So we were profitable the first six years and then 2020 hit. In 2020, we were not profitable. 2021 hit. We were not profitable. 2022. Vicki Markussen, BizCast, Greater La Crosse, La Crosse, Vicki, Markussen, Big Crazy, Big The company itself was not profitable, but we were able to pay the internal staff that were doing the work, but for long term sustainability, it was not a thing.

[00:10:54] Shobi Zietlow: So I did take a risk. At the end of 2022, I met with my leadership of my organization. And I was like, hey, so there’s this opportunity to go to Tony Robbins again. I was like, I need something outside of myself. I need something bigger. I need something to believe in myself. because 2020 2020 was tough.

[00:11:13] Shobi Zietlow: We’ve stayed, very engaged in what are we doing, and how are we changing, and how are we adapting to what’s happening out here? And then 2021 beginning to middle of 2021 is when those wage increases really started hitting. So at this point, my business is I need to pay my staff more money, right, to keep them so they don’t go somewhere else.

[00:11:32] Shobi Zietlow: But now finding employees is that much harder. So it takes six to eight times the amount of work to place one person that it used to take. So how on earth does this work from a gross profit standpoint when we are bringing in a significant amount less, but I need to pay a significant amount more. So that was one of the, one of the huge challenges.

[00:11:50] Shobi Zietlow: But I was like, I can’t, I’m not going to keep staff if I don’t pay them. Market wages. So it was a huge navigation and I went to a EWH, Small Business Accounting put on this seminar about managing, managing cash flow through inflation or something along those lines. And I sat in that meeting and other people would talk about their businesses, and I was like, you need to raise your rates.

[00:12:11] Shobi Zietlow: You need to raise your rates. You need to raise your rates. So I’m driving home from that meeting and I was like, oh my god, I need to raise my rates. We need to break, and it was challenging because I’m like, how do you go to a business and say, Hey, our services are not what they used to be because we aren’t delivering what we used to deliver because it takes a lot longer and the candidates aren’t there, but hey, pay me more.

[00:12:30] Shobi Zietlow: So it was challenging, but we were all in that same boat. So people understood it. Yeah. So I think that helped, cause we were all feeling that same pain, but I was like, how on earth am I going to be like, let’s pay me more money. When we’re not delivering what we need to deliver or it’s taking us longer to deliver what we need to deliver might be a better way to say that.

[00:12:48] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah. And I’m sure you 

[00:12:49] Vicki Markussen: know this, but I’ll say it because they’re experiencing the same thing. So to do it in house, they’re having to work six times harder. Like they, they have the same experience. So I’m sure that’s why they were understanding and that’s why they outsource it so they can keep making a widget or whatever that they do, providing a service so that.

[00:13:06] Vicki Markussen: You have that under control, but yeah, challenging time. So you went to the EWH, Angie Jones is great. And so you’re realizing from other businesses what they need. So, bring in the Tony Robbins connect, like what did that do for you? 

[00:13:23] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah. So, the Tony Robbins thing. So I’m like, okay, we don’t have any money.

[00:13:26] Shobi Zietlow: Let’s spend a lot of money because Tony Robbins stuff isn’t cheap. And this was like a little bigger. So the first one I went to was Unleash the Power Within, which was like, I don’t know, maybe 800 to a thousand dollars. And this conference was like, We’re talking about 10 G’s. Like it was not a cheap conference.

[00:13:42] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah. Plus on top of that I was short-staffed in my office. So I’m like, how am I going to ask my team to take care of this? But my team, I have someone who’s been with me for over half of the time we’ve been in business, Julie. And she was like, no, we need this. Like you need to find yourself and you need to find this business.

[00:13:58] Shobi Zietlow: Right. And so she 100 percent supported it knowing that she was going to be doing a lot of work. Well, I was gone. So I went to this Tony Robbins conference. It was in January of 2023. And it was like, it’s so intense. It is like 12 to 14 hours day after five days in a row. And it’s intense and it’s crazy.

[00:14:17] Shobi Zietlow: And you go in, and it’s very I don’t know if anybody’s ever been to one of those conferences, but like it. It feels very cult like when you get there because people are like high-fiving and dancing and you’re like, this is weird. And then three minutes into it, you’re high-fiving and dancing, and you’re like, this is great.

[00:14:31] Shobi Zietlow: Um, but I think he calls it like immersion therapy, right? Where like you, you’re in it, and you hear it and you think through these things and he Yeah. Gets you to a point of exhaustion almost. But there are just so many breakthroughs that happen with that, and it really is like helping eliminate some of those self-limiting beliefs.

[00:14:46] Shobi Zietlow: And just kinda helping you break through barriers. So it was very much about looking at the business and building the business and figuring out what do we need in order to be profitable? Mm-Hmm. And what are the things that are really gonna make a change? ’cause you can make a 10% change in your sales and a 10% change in your gross profit and a 10% change, in all these.

[00:15:03] Shobi Zietlow: and that adds up to a lot of percentage, right? When you’re making little percentage changes in little sections of your business. And so that was really the kick-off in 2023 that I think got things rolling. And I also had a lot of belief because I had been to two different conferences. One on a more personal level and then one on this business level.

[00:15:21] Shobi Zietlow: In my life, and I came back and made huge, massive changes in my life. And so I was like, I know that this is going to do it, right? So fast-forward then to April of 23 I got an email from SBA Thrive. So, Small Business Administration has this program called Thrive, and Thrive stands for train, hope, rise, innovate, venture, elevate. It’s again through the Small Business Administration. And so there was this program, I had to go through an interview, actually I think I had to do two interviews for it, to see if I was the right person for the program. There are a couple of things.

[00:15:51] Shobi Zietlow: You have to have an annual. so I met all those qualifications and Revenue of at least a quarter of a million dollars, be in business for at least three years and have at least one internal staff. So I met all those qualifications and at this point I really felt like we had, we’ve been stagnant, right?

[00:16:04] Shobi Zietlow: Like, our sales have been stagnant. Our gross profit has been dropping where we’re not like we’re not. Bringing in enough money to meet the demands of the higher wages internally. Very important. And so we needed to figure out what to do with that. So this program, like when I went to them, I was like, I don’t wanna go to just any business program.

[00:16:21] Shobi Zietlow: Like I, I need to go to a program where we’re wrangling a teenager, right? Yeah. So like I was saying, as I started the business, it’s like you have like a, a baby, an infant, you’re helping it grow, and then you have this. on Manageable Teenager that you’re like, why are you looking at me like that?

[00:16:34] Shobi Zietlow: What are you doing? Right? But I was like, I don’t know what to do. So this Thrive program is for those teenage businesses, where like you need maybe a little bit of different support than you need when you’re first starting out. Mm hmm. And that was a six-month program, so the closest one, I think they might have one in Milwaukee.

[00:16:51] Shobi Zietlow: This was, this one was in Minnesota. So this one I had to drive to the cities to go to this, and it was, I think, eight in person sessions. So it was, again, another one of those things, like that core employee that I spoke about, Julie, in my office, I went to her, and I was like, Mom, can I go to this?

[00:17:05] Shobi Zietlow: But the reality is she takes on a lot of extra stuff when I step out of the office. And so she was like, yeah, absolutely. Let’s do it. So like it was eight times traveling there on top of traveling and having in person sessions with a number of other small business owners. There were programs online you had to work through like different training programs online.

[00:17:24] Shobi Zietlow: Going through the basics of business, right? Leadership, planning and development, finance, human resources, sales and marketing, social media, and then legal and compliance. And so we worked through these modules online, talked about them in class, went through some problems and then ultimately had to rebuild our business plan for the next three years and then present that to a group of professionals for our final session.

[00:17:47] Shobi Zietlow: And it was just huge to work with other small businesses that are in very similar situations. No one else was in staffing. But they also were a lot of the problems that we had were different. And I was able to provide, insight on the human resources side of things and other people were able to provide insight on marketing.

[00:18:04] Shobi Zietlow: So it was really cool to meet Vicki Markussen, BizCast, Markussen, Vicki, Markussen, Vicki, Markussen, Vicki, 

[00:18:14] Vicki Markussen: Markussen,

[00:18:18] Vicki Markussen: Markussen, Vicki, Mark Meetings, we’ll just say. Sounds like homework. Over what period of time? 

[00:18:25] Shobi Zietlow: So the program started in June, and then our final session was in December. So it’s 

[00:18:29] Vicki Markussen: intense. This is not for the weak at heart. You have to be committed to 

[00:18:35] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah, I think they said that you needed to plan to have 10 to 15 hours per week to commit to this to set aside for this so again it’s like working we all any small business owner knows like a lot of times you get sucked into working in the business, so this was like you need to commit to working on the business for this period of time, can you do it?

[00:18:52] Shobi Zietlow: So yeah it definitely took work and dedication, and dedication from my staff, from my family, from myself. There were plenty of days where I was like, I don’t wanna drive. I don’t want to spend six hours in my car today. Because I would drive there, have a three hour, three or four-hour session. And then drive home.

[00:19:08] Shobi Zietlow: Like it was a really long day. And at first, I would start working in the morning and that I’d go and finally as I got towards the middle of it I was like, I’m not working in the morning. Like I’m exhausted by the time. It’s. I’m just going to take a chill morning, get prepared, do what I need to do, but not work.

[00:19:22] Shobi Zietlow: 6 hours before I spend 6 hours in a car and then another multiple hours learning with the group. And, yeah. It’s 

[00:19:29] Vicki Markussen: interesting that you find those mechanisms to elevate. And that you enter it and you say, okay, I can see where the path is, how my business is going to be stronger at the end. When we first touched base, you had mentioned that you had done a program right as you started.

[00:19:46] Vicki Markussen: Can you talk about that? 

[00:19:48] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So I did a program and I, I can’t remember exactly how far in I was in the business. It was, um, I met with my banker and my banker had told me about the ETP Program. So it’s the Entrepreneurial Training Program that they host at UWL right here in La Crosse.

[00:20:06] Shobi Zietlow: And that program was, I, it’s been a long time, but I think it was eight weeks, maybe it was twelve weeks, but I think we met one night a week for a certain period of time. Very similar to the SBA Thrive Program. But it’s really like a way to create your business model. So whether you’re already doing it, I was already doing it.

[00:20:26] Shobi Zietlow: Some businesses were just starting out. Other businesses were thinking about starting out. So it’s a great program to work through and figure out, do I have a customer that is willing to pay for what I’m offering? And if so, like if things change, if there’s a significant shift in the marketplace, like I’m not a Vicki Markussen, but I am a Vicki Markussen.

[00:21:02] Shobi Zietlow: to the radio. Like, how are you going to reach those customers? So you can build that plan out. What do you, how do you need to price your products in order to actually pay your rent and pay yourself? Because like, when I first started out, I was charging a ridiculously low amount of money. Come on. Yeah, a lot of money.

[00:21:20] Shobi Zietlow: So have my advice to new business owners is always like charge double, whatever you think it is charged at least double that. It’s probably going to be three times that, but at least double. Just at least double, trust me. Yeah, 

[00:21:32] Vicki Markussen: yeah, and so I think that’s through the Small Business Development Center over there at UWL, yeah.

[00:21:37] Vicki Markussen: Yeah, yeah. Lots of great resources that they do for free as part of their funding, so. Yeah, 

[00:21:42] Shobi Zietlow: I think that program cost a couple of hundred dollars. Oh, does it now? It’s a very reasonable price. But they do, I think they have scholarships available if you’re like, I can’t pay for it. I think they have scholarships available, but it’s very, very reasonable, close to cheap, not quite cheap or not quite free.

[00:21:55] Shobi Zietlow: I mean, sorry. It gets back to the committed. 

[00:21:57] Vicki Markussen: You have to be committed. So it’s one way to make sure they’re committed. So what’s next for your company? Oh, 

[00:22:03] Shobi Zietlow: that’s a good question. That’s a good question. So 2024 so we just celebrated 10 years. We’re doing all sorts of things this year. We’re rebranding, so we’re going to put, get a new logo.

[00:22:13] Shobi Zietlow: We actually just approved it, but we haven’t shown it to anybody yet. So we’ve got a new logo out there. One of the big things that we are really passionate about is giving back to the community. I had mentioned that I was a young mother. My son is now 20 years old. Wow, time flies.

[00:22:26] Shobi Zietlow: Yes. Oh, my gosh. I’m telling you I’m having moments now where I drive by, drove by the grocery store the other day, and a woman was holding her child’s hand, and I started crying, and I was like, oh, my gosh, my 20-year-old. It’s anyways. Yes, time flies. Love your kids. He’s still with me, but, I know it’s limited.

[00:22:43] Shobi Zietlow: Anyways, all right, sidetracked. As a young mother, I had my son when I was 20 years old. I went like a lot of things in my life. I do things, and then I figure out how to handle them later. So I didn’t have the financial stability to pay for health insurance. Child care is expensive. So I was like a system.

[00:23:01] Shobi Zietlow: I was a product of the state, right? Like, I signed up for those things that the government helped me with. And I’m a very prideful person. So I worked really, really, really hard. One of the reasons I put myself through school. Vicki Markussen, BizCast, Greater La Crosse, La Crosse, Vicki, Markussen, Vicki, Markussen, system is tough.

[00:23:29] Shobi Zietlow: And one of the things, one of the things I had to do for college was to volunteer. So I had to volunteer, I think it was four hours or something for one of my courses. And that really spiraled that piece where it’s like giving back to the community is so important, right? Like, I had people that helped me in one way or another, right?

[00:23:44] Shobi Zietlow: If I didn’t have that aid to help pay for childcare, if I didn’t have that aid to help pay for health insurance, like life would have been a lot tougher than it was. So if there’s any way we can give back, that’s what our goal is. So, I’m getting way off track here, but in 20 No, it shows your values.

[00:23:58] Shobi Zietlow: It’s fine. In 2024, we are, we’re implementing more volunteering, more giving back. So we’ve got some programs we’re going to start with, One of my staff members father-in-law is at an assisted living facility in Sparta, so we’re going to start volunteering there. We actually had a meeting this morning to do some volunteering to help people with varying abilities help them get better at interviewing, help them spruce up their resumes, helping them get out and working in the workforce.

[00:24:22] Shobi Zietlow: We’re going to do a Habitat for Humanity build, there’s just so many things that we’re going to do. So we’re really looking at opportunities to get out there, build our collaboration as a team. So we’re going to do this together, but also impact the community while we’re doing it.

[00:24:35] Shobi Zietlow: So anyways, we’re, yeah, new logo, giving back to the community. We are having a huge celebration in June. So we’re super excited about that. My sister owns On A Whim. It’s in Cataract. So it’s a little bit of a drive, but it is absolutely breathtaking, gorgeous. So that is happening in June. And we’re inviting everyone, we’re going to have a bounce house.

[00:24:55] Shobi Zietlow: We’re gonna have food and just gonna have a big party to celebrate 10 years. And aside from that, like we’re just going to continue growing and building and developing. We have a marketing person now, which we never had before. So that’s super exciting. So she’s helping with a lot of the rebranding.

[00:25:12] Shobi Zietlow: She’s actually in school, TWL, so she graduates in May. So once she graduates, she’s going to come on Full-time. And yes, just continuing to grow and develop and help more businesses in the area, make those connections between the jobseeker and the employer. And yeah, onward and upward, 

[00:25:28] Vicki Markussen: right?

[00:25:29] Vicki Markussen: That’s a good segue to my common closer question, which is what makes you passionate about what you do? 

[00:25:36] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah, I think what makes me passionate about what I do, goodness, is that it’s really building those connections, and it’s helping somebody that maybe doesn’t know how to do it for themselves, right?

[00:25:48] Shobi Zietlow: Making those connections where we are helping someone, an individual, a jobseeker meet those goals. In most cases, our goal is to elevate them and move them up a level. In some cases, people, all they want is, [a.i. failed here] So I think it really is just, it’s so cool to be like this tiny little part, tiny little part of somebody’s, you know, life and, and making things better.

[00:26:28] Shobi Zietlow: And then when you see someone, last night we had an event that we went to last night and someone that I worked with there she was placed at a client in the area. She’s it was four years ago and I love my job. It just fills your heart every time you hear that. Not every fit’s a perfect fit.

[00:26:43] Shobi Zietlow: We’re working with humans. It’s not checking boxes. But there are so many times that that perfect fit takes place. And you know 100 percent it’s that business and 100 percent it’s that employee. But you help make that connection, right? And that just it’s so heartwarming. Yeah, 

[00:26:59] Vicki Markussen: the life that it changes and the business that it helps, 

[00:27:02] Shobi Zietlow: yeah.

[00:27:03] Shobi Zietlow: Yeah, and then the community as a whole, right? The businesses are thriving, the community thrives, so. 

[00:27:07] Vicki Markussen: Yeah, yep. You have been listening to Shobi Zietlow. She is the owner and president of Referral Staffing Solutions. This is BizCast, Greater La Crosse. We’ll catch you next week.

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