Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Allie Olson, I am now Co-Owner and Business Developer for Express Employment Professionals. Express Employment is on a mission to connect job seekers with opportunities for employment. We staff for temporary and permanent positions in industries from entry-level office services, forestry, construction, home-health, and professional.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
I would say my biggest insight or lesson that has been helpful in my career would be that you cannot manage or lead people one way. It doesn’t matter what type of leader you are; your leadership style should change with the people you lead. There are 12 women in my office, and they are ALL extremely different. They need to be led and supported in different ways. I had to adapt my leadership style to each of those employees. It allows our bond to be different, and special to each individual.
What is one habit of yours that helps you be productive?
Making a schedule. I have a very type-A personality, and my work is the opposite. I pencil out a tentative schedule for the week, I plan around it and whatever comes in the door I handle. I had to have some type of structure to my day or I would go insane. At the end of every day, I go through my schedule and checklist and figure out if there is anything else that is a priority that needs to be done, if not it gets pushed to the next day and completed.
What is your morning routine and how does it help you get the most out of your day?
I wake up at 4:30 am. I am at the gym by 5:30, and then to work at 7:30 to be here before my staff gets here. It is the piece of my day that I truly give to myself, it’s an hour and a half and it helps my mental state A LOT.
In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?
I live a really healthy lifestyle, I’m in the gym 5x-6x a week, on the weekends I’m usually in the woods bow hunting, hiking or camping! I find the structure outside of my work is really important for me. The things I can control, are controlled. I love cooking, I meal prep all my lunches for the week usually on Sundays– don’t get me wrong I eat sweets every day because I love them but the meal prep makes it easy. It’s something that I don’t have to think about every day if it’s done for the week. I am a happier, better person when I have structure in my life, I truly couldn’t do it any other way. The one thing I started this year that has changed my life is reading. Actually, listening to audible books and podcasts. Most nights when I get home I grab my dog, shoes and headphones. We usually walk about 2 miles but it is 30 min of peaceful solitude. I finish a book about every week, between listening when I’m getting ready, driving and my walks I can rock a book our pretty quick. They aren’t always about business or leadership, they change to whatever mood I’m in. I’ve really found this a peaceful way to wind down after work.
When you feel unfocused, what do you do?
Step away. There are a few tasks in my job that take a lot of focus. Reading spreadsheets, calculating things and being very detailed. I have to physically get up, walk away and come back.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
I don’t think there has one specific mistake. The last 2 years in a leadership role have proven to be challenging. Each day I make mistakes, as a team I have set the culture to acknowledge the mistakes, learn from them, and move on. You should be making mistakes every day, if you aren’t then you are doing things the way they have always been done.
I will say, in my first 2 years I fired 4 people and had 3 quit on me. The culture I am setting within my office was obviously not for everyone, and that is OK!! Because at the end of the day, it’s my business, it’s my life and it’s my office. I know in my heart that I am building a business and a team that is unstoppable and the individuals who didn’t want to partake in that, didn’t last.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
I live in a field that is changing every single day. Especially right now, employment is a funny world to be working in. I think in the next 10 years I have the opportunity to really grow this business. Job seekers are confused about the world around us, and it’s our job to help lead them through it. I believe we will see more remote work, a shift in schedules, a shift in culture, and a whole lot of industries that aren’t even industries yet.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I don’t know because I don’t listen to it! Haha
One thing that is always been hard for me has been advertising, there are industries like radio, print, and media that can really promise you the world, pay attention to what works specifically for your business!
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
Saying YES to everything. When I first started, I thought I had to prove myself and work my butt off. Which I totally did, I worked extremely hard for everyone around me. I gained their trust and it led to great relationships but, know what you bring to the table. I know that I am a kick-ass saleswoman, I can go out and sell all day long, creating relationships with business’s is very easy for me. What I’m not super good at in my business I do not do daily. Yes, I know how to do almost everything in my office, but I don’t. I had one piece of advice from my Mom and she said “hire people that are better than you.” Not better in every aspect, but they need to be better at something to make you hire them for a purpose. All my employees are better than me at something, I learn from them, on a daily basis.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
Brene Brown- Dare to Lead. It truly changed the way I lead people.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Take your shot. You may have to start at the bottom, actually, you should start at the bottom but it is so worth it. You will learn so much, and appreciate the process if you start at ground zero. If you find an idea or company you are passionate about, don’t give up. All good things come with hard work and time. Don’t be afraid to put in the work. I feel like now a day’s people assume they are entitled to the world. The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing. Contribute to society, make this place better than you found it, and find something you can pour you, heart and soul, into
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
“Everything good needs time. Don’t do work in a hurry. Go into details; it pays in every way. Time means power for your work. Mediocrity is always in a rush; but whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing with consideration. For genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do badly.”