Welcome to the H VAC Financial Freedom podcast, a show to help you create more revenue, profit and freedom in your life. Now, your host, John Victoria. All right. Hello and welcome everyone to the H VAC Financial Freedom podcast, a podcast focused on helping you the contractor to make more revenue, profits and freedom in your business. My name is John Victoria, your host. And today we have an exciting interview with a guest who can help you to do all three of our objectives for the podcast. And so for a quick introduction to our guest, uh Mr Ken Ruch, uh Rusk, he is a best selling author, entrepreneur, and blue collar advocate that proves there is no degree needed for comfort, peace and freedom, no college club for, for the both of us.
Um But for Ken, I spent his younger years digging ditches and working in construction. He never went to college but instead worked on goal setting planning and working hard for the past 30 years. And so now Ken is a very successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses and revenue streams. And so he's also an author of blue collar Cash where he shares his insights over the past 30 years working in blue collar trades as an entrepreneur, mentor and life coach. He's also been featured in the media, the New York post USA today, the Ab Times Fox News, the Fox News channel CNN and many more.
And um also he has a testimonial from uh one of my favorite um coaches in the space. Uh Mr Tony Anthony Robbins. Um He, where he says, I love Ken's perspective on our life's purpose to share our unique gift with the world. And so I'm very excited to introduce Ken. Um really just like a mover and shaker and one of the most awesome humble guys that you ever meet. And so to bring him on, welcome to the podcast, Ken. Hey, good morning. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. Awesome. Awesome.
And how are you feeling today? I'm, I'm good. You know, I happen to be taking a short break in sunny Florida from uh from Ohio. So I'm feeling pretty good about, oh, you gotta love it. Gotta love the, the Florida Sun. Absolutely perfect. So I guess we could kick off uh that everything today. You know, I gave a quick bio into your story but would love to dig into how you got into the trades and what brought you to today because I mean, you really, I, I think it's amazing that without a college degree, you built this, this empire and so just wanna learn, uh your hero's journey as you started, uh to now today.
Well, you know, I think I started out like, like most people and again, thank you for having me. I really appreciate being here. Um, I, I think I started out pretty normal. Like most people, I had a bunch of odd jobs, you know, I was a newspaper carrier and I worked at a bowling. I worked at a bakery while when I was like 12, 13, 14 years, years of age. And, and, and I really like the fact that I could control my, my destiny, I could control my income. Even, even at a younger age, I knew that if I put the hours in, I would get paid for them and then I could do what I wanted with that money.
So I remember when I was 15, you know, we used to, my, my high school shared a fence with an industrial park and, um, there was a hole in that fence that we would cut through after school to go hang out at the local carry out. Um, and just do what kids did after school back in the day. But, um, I remember going through this industrial park and there's all these really hustling and bustling businesses. You know, there's people milling around and equipment, moving around it and all the sounds and sights and the energy and all that.
And, um, you know, I thought to myself, you know, I'm 203, I need to buy my first used car. I like to take my girlfriend out for pizza or, you know, go bowling with my buddies or whatever. Yeah. So I inquired in this company that I knew somebody that had worked there and, um, I inquired and they're like, well, yeah, we're ditch ears. That's what we do. We basically fix wet basement. So I said, well, you know, I can do that. You know, I, I need money like anybody else.
I think I'm qualified to do that job. So, yeah, I, I started, um, in the summertime I would, uh, I, I'd work doing landscaping and digging ditches and doing all that kind of stuff. And in the wintertime I would work in the office, um, because I was in, in high school still, I, I would work after school. So I kind of got a good feel for what the front and the back of the, of the office looked like right how the business ran and I did that for three years, three years or so.
And then I had the decision. Am I gonna go to, to college or after high school? Am I gonna go right into the workforce? And back then it was about a 50 50 proposition whether you did that or not. So, I, I remember that, um, we started opening satellite offices of our company because the company was growing so big, we could service people that were two and three hours away. So they came to me and said, do you want to help set up franchises? And so I said, sure, I, I, I can do that.
So, it, it was great because I got to go travel the Midwest, you know, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, those types of places. And I got to open up franchises with somebody else's money. Ok. And, and learn and make all the mistakes and there weren't many mistakes. Thank God. But, um, to be able to set up a company from scratch for somebody else and then move on and do it again, was kind of a really great education for me. So, after doing that for three or four years, I set up four or five offices and then I got kind of tired of living out of a suitcase.
So, uh, at, uh, 23, I think it was, we, we moved to and opened our own company out in Ohio and started with six people back in 1986. And I think we're at 200 today. So it's been quite a ride. Oh, my gosh. And what a world class education you got with setting up those franchises. Like, that's just really amazing. Just like the practice opening it up and creating it. That's, I mean, it's better than any NBA that you could get. Really, it's that hands on experience. Well, yeah, I had been told that I had a few people that said, you know, this might be better college in college.
So, if I were to take a chance at doing that, it was an opportunity. Um, you know, it was one of those things. I mean, I still kind of feel like, well, I guess I'm supposed to go to college because that's what, you know, my friends are doing or whatever. But, um, the more I looked at it, the more I thought this is, you know, specific hands on the old education in, in an area that I'm interested in. So, uh, it worked out pretty well and, and here we are today, it's awesome.
And, um, maybe just one thread I wanna tug at is, so you were working for the company, the franchise, but then you decided to open up your own company, why not just continue working with the franchise? Like what made you make that leap to say? Like, hey, I want to design my own, you know, company, build it up. Like, what was that motivation to, to, to do that? Well, it, it actually was a franchise that opened of theirs but still like running your own company because, you know, they give you the, the formula but you still have to execute it.
And, um, it's not too dissimilar from, you know, running a business from scratch. You still have to go there and start it all from nothing. They don't, they don't give you anything or they don't, they don't like, give you any financial backing or anything like that. So you're still, you're still on the hook for this baby all on your own. And I, I remember that, um, we, uh, we, we had 90 days to, to get past the uh this small loan that we took from the bank and, you know, thank God we did that.
But, uh, you know, just the fact of working for myself, it just put me back into the same type of control mode that I, I really think all of us are, especially your listeners are after, which is to be able to control their own futures. Exactly. The, the, the, the ability to write your own check for life. Right. It's that, that freedom. Um, you know, wanting to, you know, it's a non-traditional path, right? You've not college and then starting your own business and it does require a certain mindset to do that.
So that's amazing. And, um, it's amazing where you've built it to today as well from six people to over 200. And so I guess that sets the frame for today's conversation because a lot of the things that I hear from contractors nowadays is, you know, it's tough for me to find people. It's tough for me to retain those people. Um, you know, there's a lot of problems with, you know, the job market. They say people are aging out. What is your perspective on all of these, all of these things that contractors are saying around employment and retaining and building a team at this time.
Well, you know, that's a, that's a really big question and, and, um, I, I, I think part of the, the, the essence or the beginning of this problem is, you know, when I was in high school back in the eighties, we had shop class in high school and you could walk down the hallway and you could look to your left and see somebody changing in transmission and an old mustang or you could look to the right and you could see someone maybe doing someone's hair or you could see someone welding something or, or building something in, in the carpentry shop or, or wiring an outlet or, or whatever.
And, um, that's where kids accidentally discovered how cool it was to be in the trades and how rewarding it was because you're in, you're in control of your own thing. I, I think when, when they took shop class out of high schools and they replaced those rooms with computers. I, I understand that we had to learn both of those, um, or, or we, we had to learn computers but why couldn't we have done both? I mean, why was it one replacing the other? Which never really made sense?
So you have that particular force that's causing this strain on, on new people coming into the trades. You also have the problem with the fact that when I was younger, my father would kick me and my brothers out of the house and say, you know, go build something, go fix something, go, go whatever. So we would go find some lumber and a hammer and nails and we'd go build a tree fort. Ok. Well, now, you know, they're building tree forts on these things on cellphones. Right? And, um, it's just not the same experience.
It just isn't. And I think everyone would agree with that. So if you, if you couple those two forces with the fact that colleges are really, really good at shaming teachers, parents, guidance counselors and the students themselves and just saying, if you don't go to college, you're not gonna amount to anything. Ok? And they have a don't forget, follow the money. So they have a financial reason for saying that because they sell college for a living and that's what they do. Now, those three forces are really putting a lot of pressure and that's why in the book, blue collar cash, I talk about the blue collar crisis because it really is a crisis.
And, um, you know, you go anywhere and you try to hire somebody and obviously your, your audience would know this. You know, you, you're really booked, you, you're booked to way out, you're, you're, you're charging good money because you can't. And there's a demand and everyone knows where supply is low and demand is high. That's where the money goes. So I think your listeners have a unique opportunity to continue to take, take advantage of the fact that they are becoming a, more of an, you know, a, a, more of an endangered species if you will, than, uh, the, the other side, which is just pumping out college educations one after another.
And, you know, and I have to say real quickly that I'm not an anti college guy. I mean, if you're gonna operate on my shoulder so I can get back out on the golf course. I want you to know everything there is to know about a knife before you come at me with it. And the same thing goes for teachers or, you know, engineers or whatever architects, people that do financing, you gotta know that stuff, but that's a job specific degree for a job specific opportunity that's waiting for you when you get out.
So, yeah, I, I, in that case, college is a great thing. I worry about all the people that are just getting thrust into college and not even know why they're going there and, and, you know, they spend four years playing beer pong and then they come out with a bunch of debt and wonder what am I doing? A long, a long answer to a big question. But yeah, that, that is certainly the impetus as to why we have the problems that we have today. Got it. So, just to, yeah, so part of the force is just the norms and standards of our society, how things have evolved with our educational system, there's less people.
Now the value of the blue collar goes up. But then also I guess another thing that happens as well is a lot of the, you know, let's say the technicians or the folks that they're hiring, they become rarer as well. And now they have the choice in terms of like, hey, I want to work for this company or that company. I want more better benefits and whatnot. And so now it's a new problem where it's like, ok, the people that I'm looking to hire, I have on my team, like, how do I retain these folks?
And so for you, you built this really big company? 200 folks, how did you create, um, a culture or a system to retain those people when they now have more options as well? Since they are more rare? Um, like, how did, how did you begin to work on that problem? Well, that's a, that's a great question and you hit it on the head and I think culture is the beginning, you know, in the old days you used to put an ad in the paper and the next day you'd have 10 people sitting in your foyer wanting this job.
Well, now it's, it's, it's different. I mean, now you have a situation where you might have three and all those three, you know, they come in and they come into the interview and they look at you and they, hey man, what's in it for me to work here because I got have choices and you need to be ready to answer that question. So for us, because we were in such a, a hardcore dirty construction, you know, jack cameras and concrete and you know, gravel and dump. I mean, all that kind of stuff.
We had to be working on culture 13 years ago when we started just to get anybody to come in. So for us, it was a necessity to do that where for a lot of businesses it was, you know, me boss, you employ, I have job, you need jobs. So therefore I'm good and you didn't need to work on any of that stuff. So yeah, I think now if you're looking to find not only people but the right people and we'll get into this in a moment about, you know, entrepreneurial employees.
I think you need to really start with looking at what do I look like? Like I, I would want you to walk outside of your business, walk back in and act like it's the first time you've ever been there, ok? Act like you're trying to get a job at your own company, walk in the door and see what you see and feel what you feel and hear what you hear because a lot of times you can either you can either, you know, make a great impression on somebody or shoot yourself on the foot within the 1st 10 minutes and somebody walks in your foyer.
So I believe there's a lot of things about culture. We call it creating cool. Ok. I think there's a lot of things that, whether it's color, whether it's energy, whether it's music, whether it's, um, uh, you know, obviously the fact that you reward people or celebrate things or, um, have, uh, people in control of their own financial gains. I think, uh, you know, from birthdays to anniversaries to, um, people hitting their goals that need to be celebrated to Children, to all those types of things. People want to come to your organization, but they have a reason that they want to work for themselves.
And I think that's the thing. We need to be able to answer that question to a very selfish individual. And I don't mean selfish at the detriment of others. I mean, selfish for someone who's saying I'm in this for me first. Can you second? So what's in it for me to, to work here? And how can I get what I want for myself? Because if I can answer that question now, I'm on to something. Mm. I love that. And, and I, I think the essence as well, what you're saying, it's, it's partly related to the golden rule where it's like, you know, if you were to come to work for your own company, like what are some of the things that you might like?
Right. You know, if I have a family, there's some of these benefits, like how am I reaching my long term financial goals? And especially because if I have the option to go wherever I want, um you know, ideally it's someplace that is amazing and it's like, it's like the best option out of what I got. Um So that's beautiful, like you said, energy, music rewards, financials. Um in terms of rewards, like how do you, how do you set that up? Because I think that compensation plans based off performance is something that I've seen like world class companies do.
But let's say a company, they, they haven't done it in the past. Like how would one begin to set something like that up for, for their employees? Well, first off, one of the things that you want to do is you wanna make sure that you involve this group of people in building what this new program looks like. And I know that seems, you know, you gotta let go of your ego a little bit here. OK? You have to, you have to understand that the people around you will help drive your company way further than you can drive it on your own.
And I know a lot of times people are like, well, I'm the boss. I love to solve the problems. I go home and my wife or my husband says to me. How's your day, honey? And I say, well, I fixed this and I told them that and I yelled at this guy and I, I answered that question and I solved this problem. So therefore my day was great wrong. Your goal going into this. And I, I, this could be somewhat controversial, but for all you owners out there, your goal going into this is to make yourself as irrelevant to your company as possible. OK?
So you can then drive yourself in the places you want to drive yourself, you can plug yourself in wherever you want to and not be beholden to one particular task or, or, or mechanical uh thing during the day. So yeah, for us, it was real simple. I said, OK, we are at this particular level of, of annual revenue, OK? We're, we're at X millions of dollars in revenue for the year now been there hovering around that number for the last five or 10 years or whatever. And I want to grow this company.
And if, if, if you're, if you're willing to help me grow it, I'm willing to share in the growth of that with you, with all of you. So you get people as a collective as a group. Now figuring out how to grow this company from, let's say 10 million to 15 million or from 15 million to 20 million, but you're only going to pay out the increase in revenue. So the greatest part is y y you can't spend money that you don't have, right? That's what's happening here. You're gonna spend the newfound money that your people helped you find.
So when you get into a position where, you know, you can reward people, you can do it in a couple of different ways. I, I always call it like this three pronged approach where in the beginning they have maybe a monthly bonus that they work on based on sales goals that are hit that are above and beyond the current level, then you might have a quarterly or, or six months or even an annual financial incentive that they can hit if the company does a certain amount of revenue over a 12-year period above and beyond what you're currently doing.
And then the third piece is the celebration of that and that's where I talked about earlier creating cool. So what we do is everyone's on a monthly bonus plan, everyone's on an annual Boris plan. And if we hit this big number, then we hand those checks out some really cool destination, whether it's somewhere in some all inclusive at, in, in, in, you know, in Cancun or whether it's in Florida or whether it's in the Bahamas or whatever. So now you have people looking short term monthly, you have them looking long term annually and then you have them dreaming about celebrating in a great place that they probably wouldn't go on their own ok.
And you can do this in a very financial fiscal way because the bigger the group, the smaller the price tag. So it, it, it really is a cool system for getting people really involved in not only the day to day because, you know, a lot of people tend to work for Friday. Right. It's Friday. I'm gonna get paid, I'm gonna go out and drink beer with my buddies or whatever. I'm trying to get you to create what I call entrepreneurial, um entrepreneurial employees. Some people like to call them entrepreneurs.
And these are people that feel like they're actually running the company with and for you, they're, they're in charge of their departments, they're in charge of the financials of their departments, they're in charge of, you know, the mechanics of how their department works and then they have a little mini profit center within your organization to, to take care of. So, yeah, I think it's really important that you gather these people around you because the more people like that you can put in your inner circle, the more comfort, peace and freedom you're gonna have as an owner, the less chain you're going to feel to the daily operation of your business, the more freedom you're gonna have to plug yourself in where you want to.
And after all, you know, we do run our own companies so that maybe we can have that golf lesson on Thursday afternoon every once in a while or, you know, whatever we do on our own time, there is a reason we started this company to begin with not to be a slave to it, but to have it create an amazing life for not only ourselves but the people inside of it as well. Oh, that's beautiful. And, and now one thing I'll call it as well is, um, I like the way you set up the bonus system because it's not just on an individual contributor basis, right?
The monthly is like, these are, are my individual target, but there's some quarterly or annual goal that is a result of the entire team. And so now collectively as a team, like we have to get to this goal, it's not like because what, what can potentially happen though I've seen in some organizations is that, you know, 11 is doing really well, but essentially that's to the detriment of another. And so now it's like conflicting forces, but now you've aligned incentives so that, hey, we're gonna hit this together, we get this bonus plus we're gonna celebrate together at in Cancun or Mexico City or in Bali or wherever that is.
And so it's, you've got, it seems like you've captured the individual while at the same time making sure that as a team, we're our incentives are properly aligned together. Yeah. And you know, it, this is easy to do. This is a real complicated, you know, um and, and first off, when, when you, let's say you have this conversation the last week of December because you want to kick off the year and you want to have this whole year happen and you can't wait for this to, to, to, to, to start.
So I remember distinctly when I had this conversation with the people around me and I, I was thinking, ok, I had an X million dollars in business that I was already doing. I wanted to get it to X plus. Well, when I asked them all the question, how far can we take this thing? Every one of guessed a higher number than I had in? So, be careful that you are your worst enemy in limiting where you can go. So, and, and what, what I, I remember getting this smile on my face. Wow.
I didn't expect that. Right. It, it was, it was three million more than I had even. And in my own vision, I, I gotta tell you they hit because they were in charge of hitting it. And so I thought to myself, I walked out of the room happy and a little bit, you know, I had some pause because like, am I the one that was limiting what I thought this place could do? Right. Wow. So, yeah, I, and I, and I also have to tell you the, the thing about the year end celebration isn't expensive. Yeah.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. Because again, you, you can't money, you don't have. So, what we did is we, we immediately started saving, you know, about $123 a week, ok? And just put that aside for this year end celebration whether it was gonna happen or not, we didn't know, but we were planning for it. And because of the newfound revenue that the company was getting that $1000 was like a piece of cake to do. So, you know, again, be careful, you're not the one limiting your company's growth, empower, you know, five or six or 10 or 20 brains around you to create a vision for your future, allow people to be rewarded with a piece of that future and um and then get out of their way, ok?
Because they're gonna take this thing way faster and way higher than you can take it. Just I assure you that, wow, what a, what a, what an insight, right? You know, it's like I thought, I thought I was dreaming big but my team's like, no, Ken, like let's do this. Oh my gosh. I feel like a very proud owner and father of the company in a way where it's like, wow, I can't believe. Yeah, it, it's, it's really interesting and, and it's, it's humbling and uh what's really cool though, more than any of this.
Ok, John, in my opinion, is watching them gain in their personal lives. Ok? We talked about them being selfish earlier. Well, I believe that you have to be chasing something weekly, monthly, quarterly for yourself personally. You know, I don't care whether it's, you want to pay off that nagging visa that you had or you want to buy, you want to upgrade your vehicle or you wanna maybe put some money away for retirement or what, whatever it might be. Ok. The fact that you as an owner are even taking the time to ask, hey, how you doing?
What, what's your future look like? What do you want to look like? Tell me why you're here beyond just a paycheck and you know, getting money in your bills. What does building he Rusk's life look like to him. You get involved in those conversations with these people at the same time while you're doing the rest of this, it's not a lot of work and, and again, if you're doing it right, you'll have plenty of time to do this because you offer some of those responsibilities to other people and you're gonna provide financial gain for them doing that.
So when I see people winning for themselves, you know, we have this huge blackboard probably 8 x 8 and it's made out of glass and they, they have these bright neon colored markers like you would see, you know, in front of a Mexican restaurant announcing the drink of the day. OK? Or something like that, right? I love a Mexican restaurant. So, and, and so we decided to put this board up. And now when you have a goal as an individual that works with our company, you have to take that goal and write it up on the board.
I'm going to visit my aunt in Ireland. It's gonna cost me $3,000. I'm gonna save $20 a week. It's gonna take me three years to do this. The date is January 14 and I'm gonna have this done in three years on January 503 and it's for sure you write your name, your date, you sign it. Everybody else in the company gets to see that. And guess what happens? You have all these other people that are forcing you to hit that goal besides just yourself. And I think that's the big thing here.
You know, you know that if you have to meet somebody at the gym in the morning and they're counting on you and waiting for you to get there, you're gonna go way more often than if you're just going for yourself. Right? I mean, that's just a fact. So why don't we do that with our own personal goals and especially with our employee goals, you get a bunch of people that are all chasing something, whether it's six months a year, two years, three years down the road and by the way, time flies.
So a three year goal is like nothing. You can't believe how empowered they get and you only have to, you only have to teach them to do that once because once they do it and they, man, they're like this goal crunching oriented machine that they will probably have two or three goals going at the same time and guess what? They can only achieve those goals with and through success at your organization. So now you have all these people saying, man, you know what I can get what I want for myself and for my future with it through his company, I feel like I'm winning.
So therefore, why wouldn't I stay here? He cares about me. He cares about my future. He gives me the path to obtain that future. He rewards me when I make that happen or she rewards me when I make that happen. So why wouldn't I hang around here and, and make my life work? And that's why of the 200 people that we have many of them. I'm gonna say I'm gonna say at least 50 of them have been around 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years. So that goes to show if they think they can win, playing on your team, they're gonna play hard and they're gonna hang around and be loyal.
Mm That's beautiful. And it's because you, it sounds like you've connected um the with them like the what's in it? For me? Their personal vision tied that with the company and shows like because if we grow this company, we will all achieve our goals and like this, this com this company vision encompasses everyone's vision and accomplishing it. Yeah, I mean, how, how many times do you go to a job or a new job? And someone says, hey, you're OK. Yeah. Come on over here and then they get to go to the job and start doing that and, and, and you know, that's it.
I mean, the book didn't match the cover. You are this really cool awesome guy in the interview or gal and now the reality isn't matching what you started. Ok. So that's where people go. Hey, I think I was sold on moving on. Whereas if you get in, if, if you get in and maybe not even underwhelm them but just even whelm them and then when they get to see the back of it, they're overwhelmed by this guy is telling the truth or, or she put out this program and man, it's really happening.
This is great. Yeah, you're gonna have a team of those entrepreneurs that we talked about. And again, you know, you have to have your people understand that they need to happen to life, not let life happen to them. It's a completely different story. You know, a lot of times we leave these, if, then lives, you know, if I study hard and if I get a good job and if that job pays me money and if I get over my bills, then I can start living. No, let's start with the, then first, like, have your employees draw out what they want their life to look like.
What's that? Nirvana? What could be, um, what's their comfort, peace and freedom level? And we actually haven't cardboard with Crans and they'll draw it out. Like, what's your favorite car? What's your, what, what, what, what would your house look like? If you could make it the way you want it, what would your pet be a dog or a cat? And if so what color, what would you name it? Right. Um, what would your vacations look like? You know, what would, uh, what would your charity moment your get back moment look like?
What would your hobby or sport be? You know, have them draw out what they want their life to look like in, in amazing unbelievable detail and show them how they can get these things one step at a time and then you'll have somebody that's gonna be around for a very long time and, and help drive your company forward. Um, that's, that's so that, that education is so valuable because not a lot of us are taught how to goal set like that and build a vision growing up.
That's not some, that's something I remember, you know, being taught in school. Um, so that's, I mean, really, you're, you're changing lives by painting a picture of the future. Um, because most people haven't gone through that exercise. Right. Well, Yeah, I mean even even look at, even look at something as simple as health care. Ok? So the only time you use health care in our country is when you become sick, you have a symptom, right? So you're being reacted to a symptom. I have something therefore, I need to react to it.
Therefore, I need to get treated. Ok? And then I can get beyond that. Well, that's what I'm trying to say is, is part of the problem here. We live as reactive as we can be in lives. I mean, we, we, we react to all this stimulus, OK? My, my car broke down. So therefore, I have to find the money to fix it or, or, or whatever we react to what happens to us. I'm saying, let's turn that around. Proact, ok? Let's, let's begin with the end in mind.
Let's let's talk about the future first. Let's draw a picture of what that looks like and, and go at it one piece at a time because it's just such a better way to live, to live in an anticipatory fashion rather than, than reactive one. And what I mean by that is, you know, just take vacations for a second. We're all amazing at planning vacations. I'm down here right one right now. So you know, you think about going to Florida? Ok? I'm gonna go in four months in spring break.
Ok. So I'm gonna plan my hotel and I plan my airplane. But then I start thinking about the beach and the palm trees and the, and the breeze and the sounds and the ocean crashing. And I think about the smell, the suntan lotion and my sandals and my drink and my sunglasses and my beach chair. You, you start to get all this stuff into your head because you're anticipating this amazing moment. Why do we stop at vacations when we, when we talk about anticipating things, why aren't we anticipating all the different walks of life that we have and chasing a lot of different things at the same time.
It's, I mean, it's, it's a way to anticipate all things in life and when you anticipate things, it gets you out of bed, it kind of drags you along. It's like one more, it's like one more vitamin in your body or one more. Uh you know, cup of coffee that gets you moving towards a path. Anticipating things is a very powerful way to live. I recommend everybody do that. Love. It's anticipatory. Um way of mindset also being proactive and intentional in designing the future. Um Love that and not just doing it for yourself but doing it for, for your employees and um everyone in your life because this, it's just not an education that I found to be very common.
So that's, that's amazing. It's amazing. You know, it's one of the things that I was most surprised about when I wrote the book. So, you know, I thought one of the readers would be somebody just starting out who maybe missed the boat on shop class, but still wants to create an awesome life with them through their own two hands. Right? And then there was somebody who maybe went to college and is doing something that they're not happy with and they always wanted to be a trades person.
So they say, you know what I'm gonna, I'm gonna shun that. I'm gonna go back to that world because I was happier there. The book is good for them too. But what I was really impressed by was how many business owners would go out and maybe they get a half a dozen or a dozen of these books and they would have a, like a book club or they, they would read one chapter a week. Maybe they would take the course with their, with their people and immediately then eight weeks flip your whole company's attitude towards.
All right. Where are we going? How are we getting there? How are we gonna benefit when we get there? How we're gonna reward ourselves? We are in control of our input. We're in control of our output. We're in control of the quality of that. We're in control of our day, our schedule, our time and because of all that, we're in control of our financial data. So you, you flip a company that reacts to things and turn it into a proactive, really, you know, awesome energetic go forward company because they all got together and, and went through this, this material and realized, wow, we've been thinking the wrong way all this.
Now let's get, let's think for the better and make, make something really big happen that and I think one thing that um as you're saying, that one potential block that I could see from someone who's looking to implement, this is, is kind of what you mentioned earlier where a business owner may tie their self identity and self worth to solving a lot of these problems. So they can't, you know, they can't let go of like, hey, you know, you guys can work on this and really be the entrepreneurs that they could be.
How would you advise someone who, who has that identity so tied to their performance and solving problems? Um How would you coach them um to think differently? I, I guess I would look at it this way if, if you looked back on your life, let's say you're about to retire and you looked back on your life. Are you gonna remember times with your family? The vacations you took maybe that sports car that you, you cruised around town and it's maybe your golf game with your buddies. Are you gonna remember the times and the memories and the moments you had or you gonna remember all the times you, you know, doing payroll?
Ok. Or you can remember all the times that you did, um, you know, having a chat meetings or, you know, maintaining your vehicles or whatever that is. I mean, you know, why wait until you're 113 and you're old and you're busted up to start living. That's crazy. We're, we're meant to live, you know, we, we don't, we don't live to work. Ok. We work so that we can live well, what's the live part? That's what I'm talking about. I mean, live now, live, live the whole time. Don't just wait till you're 70 and say, well, now I'm gonna play golf.
Now, I'm gonna stop doing payroll and I'm gonna hit golf balls. No, that's not the way you live. You, you, you live now during this whole period of time, you engage more people on your team to help you get that freedom, you reward them with money that you didn't know you had. But now you just found and guess what? They helped you make it right? So they deserve that and everybody's better off for that because, you know, there, there's not so much strain on the hours in a week.
You're all kind of sharing the burden of that. But because of that, your growth happens and that's where the real fun begins because now comfort, peace and freedom isn't something you think about when you're 70, it's something you think about tomorrow. What am I gonna do then or how am I gonna have? Some fun or maybe take the dog for a walk, who knows? Um, being spontaneous is probably one is, it's probably that spot. I, I would think spontaneity is probably as elusive as, um, Sasquatch. Ok. It's very rarely, very rarely experienced but everybody wants it, you know.
So spontaneity is Billy just, you know what, I'm gonna call my buddy and go out for a beer with him or I'm gonna go call this old friend and go have lunch with them or I'm going to take my crew out to the movies just for fun or whatever. Fine. 80 is one of life's true gifts because it requires no stress and creativity from your brain. And um so yeah, let's start living now, let's not wait till we're 245 to do this and, and everyone can do it. You just have to have to take a few steps and start thinking a little different. Yes.
And uh I'm just laughing in my head thinking about someone's on their deathbed and they're thinking back to their best moments like payroll like a little, a little different man from the nab. Well, I had a lot of fun reading those financial reports, man. That was awesome. That was great. Checking that p and Right. Oh, that's, that's so funny. But yeah, it's, it's, it's a beautiful thing and um and I'm glad you painted that picture because um yeah, for some people, they might not believe it's possible, but like you're just really bring to life what could be possible for someone who is afraid to let go.
Like, what's, what's really important? Let's keep the first things first. Like, what are those important memories we know with the family, with the kids that are, you know, just about to go to college, those last few dinners they might have or, I don't know, whatever that is. But, yeah, um, it's, it's those special moments that, um, you'll remember not, you know, oh my gosh. You know that payroll that. Yeah. Well, you know, my, my self-worth doesn't come from being, you know, this, this over controlling, you know, boss type person.
My self worth comes from how many cool lives can I help create within my company? And again, you know, I have a guy who's been with me for 210 years. He came here when he was 220. Every Christmas party and he's, he's a V P of our company now. He went from a shovel to a V P. He's, he's awesome. Every Christmas he wants to give me a big bear hug and almost break me in half. He's a big guy. And, um, and tell me how much I had to do with his life.
And I always look back at him and say, listen, Tim, I had maybe 21% to do with what your, your success story is. Ok. You were, you did the work, you had 212% of it. But I can tell you, you know, if you ask me, what are, what are my most proud moments not gonna be payroll or it's not gonna be the basements we fixed or whatever. My proudest moments are watching the people's lives within my organization develop and become, you know, comfort, peace and freedom as many times as I can make that happen because when you see people walking around and they, they feel like family and they're, they're creating these moments for themselves and for each other and they're sharing in each other's successes.
That that's really what being a boss is all about. I mean, that, that's really what a leader really does. And um yeah, that's, that's what makes me feel good and that's, that's where I derive my most value from. That sounds like a new and the best K P I to ever track. It's, it's not about necessarily all the profits, but it's, I mean, it's the piece of it, but it's the people that you impacted with what you said, like, comfort, peace and freedom. Um what a revolution.
I mean, I, what a revolutionary way of, of viewing things that most, most folks don't think that way. So that's, that's amazing. That's so good. Well, it's, thank you for that. But I, I have to, I have to just remind everybody that you don't have to, you don't have to sacrifice profits for this. If you do this, the way we're talking about, you can have more profits than you've had now because you're empowering a bunch of people to think and do with and for themselves unleash the power of that and you get out of the way because it's gonna be a hell of a ride for you love that.
And I think we go to that maybe in the tax because you, you do have a book and you have the course and it sounds like this would be one of the most active ways to begin to get some progress on a lot of things you mentioned. Could you talk us through, um, like how a company might use that and maybe some of the things that they'll learn along the way as they try to implement. Well, you know, it's funny because if you go on the internet and you look at improvement courses or whatever, you're gonna see courses for, you know, $250 503 dollars, $250.
I mean, that's fine if, if you're gonna get that kind of, you know, um, payback or R O I on that. Fine. Do that. What, you know, my world was, my world was really good before I wrote this book before I built this course. And um I didn't do this for a more financial gain. Ok. I, I, I've got plenty to do to keep myself busy. But what I would say is my goal was to shorten the learning curve to entrepreneurs just like my, my learning curve was shortened by, by working, setting up those companies when I was younger.
So this course is $250. It's eight sessions, 250 minutes per session. You can do it in a weekend or you can do it in eight weeks or however your your your pace is. But if you buy this course, you get a free $25 copy of blue collar cash and you also get the ability to donate one to somebody else. So that's the really cool thing is you can buy this book. Buy this course. If you're a Fox viewer, you get it for $99. Normally it's $129. But you can go to blue collar cash dot com and go see this and you can literally help yourself and someone else for about $49 apiece.
I mean, it's, it's crazy. You get a book, they get a book, you get a course, they get a course taken online. Um Again, if you're a Fox viewer, you go to blue collar cash dot com, you get it for 99 bucks. It's 100 and $503. But it, it, it for me, it was just about covering the cost of what I have to do to support the system. Obviously, I'm not getting, you know, wealthy on $99 courses. But, uh, I, I, I want people beyond the four walls of my company.
To see the same success as the people within it have seen. And it's, it would be really cool. And I have heard this many times already for people to say, man, I got the book. I took the course. Um I now have a different way of running my company. I now feel like I'm an entrepreneur rather than just, you know, to the company and, and working 70 hours a week and just grinding it out. So, yeah, buy them, buy the book and the courses have your, have your um your book club with your, your employees.
And uh I think you'll be glad you did. That's amazing. That's really quick. So you said 8 sessions 45 minutes, that's literally a weekend someone could go through and just really change, change the trajectory of their company in business, whether they're just starting out or whether they've been in business for many years. I think if you were doing it as an individual, you're right. I think if you're doing it as a business owner, you'd want to have that weekly meeting where everyone could sit and talk about what they learned from that particular session.
And um because as a, as an owner or, or manager or a leader, you wanna, you wanna see people in that room and you want to kind of catch who's really telling it and who's really doing what they should be doing and who's doing it the best and who's giving the best answers because those are gonna be your future entrepreneurs that you want to surround yourself with. So that's why I say if you're gonna do this for 10 or 20 people on a weekly basis, it allows you to see how good the people are at wanting what they want for themselves.
That's what you're looking for. Because if I can find someone who's in it for themselves first and me second, like I said earlier, I think I'm on. Hm. So when you're saying, um altogether, are you saying, like we'll watch it together then facilitate it or like, hey, let's watch it. And then everyone come Friday at one PM. Let's talk about your big takeaways and how we're gonna do this. Yeah. What, what everybody does is they read a chapter on their own and they take the first session on their own and then they come back and they just talk about it and that meeting could be a half an hour.
Hey, what's thing of chapter one? What did you learn from? Chapter 1? What did you learn from modular or mod, you know, mode one of the, the first step in the course. Um And then, and then just how is it changing what you're thinking? Because that's what you're really looking for is to turn your company from a reactive company into a proactive one when it comes to your future and their future and, and the goals that you have together and one last clarifying question, is this just for the management team or is this like for everyone in the company to watch?
Is it like a tier like roll down? Like, hey, we start with the leadership team, then it goes to the level down, the level down. Um Or is this like everyone at once? That's a great question. And I think it depends on the size of your company. I mean, if you have a total company of 12 people, you can all do it if you have a company of 50 and there's layers, I think you would want to do it in, in, in certain times because the greatest part about, you know, I, I always talk about, you know, teaching the student is easy, teaching the teacher is a lot harder.
So as an owner, if you have layers of management, then you can implement this through your first layer, then you can watch them, implement it through their second layer and really know who's got it. Like you're gonna learn so much from watching the implementation of this course in this book, you're gonna learn who's really got it. And you might find some people leapfrogging over others. I mean, I've seen that happen. You, you might find that there's some people who were sleepers who you thought man, I didn't really think they had it and look at how great they are, what's going on.
And um yeah, there, there's y y you know, the way to look at it is the person who has the most to gain person who has the most clear cut financial or otherwise goals put in front of them, the person who's the best at drawing, the drawing is probably gonna be one of your best people. So you can kind of keep an eye on who you're bringing up and how you're bringing them up. And as, as your company requires people to move up and move on, especially with the growth, you're gonna know who to put in what place.
And I think that this is a really good important first step for that. Oh, this is exciting. And it's, it's really like a train track. Like it's like you already got a program, you already got the book. It's just 11 just roll it out. It makes it really easy. Um I haven't gone through it myself just yet and I'm, I'm gonna purchase it as well and I'm gonna take my team through it. So I'm excited. Well, that's great. I, I, I definitely want your feedback on it because I've gotten, you know, I, I did this blind test.
I had 50 people go through the book and the course and um I hate to say this but all 50 said, Wow, this is really amazing. And it was, it was kind of a blind study that we did and I, I think it's, it's not because of me. It's not because of how great the book is. Um It's not because I think it's because somebody finally ask the question, hey, how are you doing? What do you want next for you? What does your future look like the way you see it?
How would you design the life that you want for yourself? Notice how many times you use the word you just now think about it. I think people really enjoyed it because they're like, wow, I get to think about me for a change. I get to be selfish for a change. This is really cool. So I think that's why they came back with such great reviews and, and I mean, I hope that continues to let me know what you think when you do it. Uh it's, it's a vital thing, right?
Everyone, everyone sees themselves as the hero of their own story and even even in marketing, right? You know, I think the mistake a lot of companies make is like, oh, it's all about me, me, me but no, it's about your customer and in this case, like it's about your employees. Like what are they looking to do? What are they looking to build? It's not about me but by helping others get what they want. Um you know, in certain you, you will also get the things that you want but it's, it's helping and, and doing onto others good.
So I very exciting. Well, you, you, you just hit on something I think is important because it's not about you, it's about your customer, but it kind of is both because if you want this increase in revenue, if you want this increase in profits, if you, you want this increase in in the performance of your company, you are going to create a better experience for your customer, you're gonna create a better environment for your customer. So it is about what your customer wants, but only you can provide that.
So it's kind of both of you and cancer creating this new environment for amazing successes which again drives the company forward. So, yeah, I, I, I agree with what several are and it's awesome and, and we're closing on the hour. So, um I want to ask, are there any action steps you want our listeners to take or any last takeaways that you want to share with everyone? Well, first off, you know, I'm, you know, when you get into your 50s, you become all philosophical, right? Because you're on the other side of the, of the curb as they all I can tell you is I, I don't want anyone out there to go another week, another month or another year and stay at the end of that time, man.
I wish somebody would have told me this before, you know, and, and I also don't want anybody out there to go, you know, someday I'm gonna make that happen someday. I'm gonna get my group together and someday I'm gonna get this, this information and, and let them see it because I guarantee you that some day never comes. Ok. That's why they called it Sunday. There's a reason they call it some day. It's because you can't define when it is. All right. So two days is a lot better than some.
And if you do nothing else read the Chapter of the Sun Deers plot versus the two dear plot in the book because I use the, to the story of two different country clubs. One is the Sunday day and one is the two day country club and how the members are very different who belong to those clubs. So at least afford yourself the opportunity to understand how important today is. And, um, you'll, you'll know what I'm saying is if, if, if you change this one behavior, if somebody comes up to you and says, um, hey, you know what good to see you.
Uh, let, let's someday. Let's go to lunch and you go, ok, you pull out your phone, go. I got my calendar open. How's next Thursday? You'll know that you've made the switch because otherwise you, you know, that's a great idea. I'll call you and then you never, it never happened. So I, I think that's the difference. If, if you, if you make that one little switch, I, I think you're gonna be on something big here. I, I'm just laughing. I just think about sales calls when, when you're talking to someone, hey, you know, I'll, I'll get back to you with that, with that on, on your proposal.
And you're like, well, when, you know, someday, you know, I like that. That's a, that's a dead lead. Right. Exactly. I love that. So awesome. Um, so great. So let's all not be some days, let's be, you know, what's that day? Like two days, three days has to be something that's booked in the calendar date and time or it doesn't really exist. Um Beautiful. So, so I think that that wraps it up. Um I wanna say thank you so much, Ken for being on the podcast. Um A lot of takeaways, I mean, my brain is just buzzing, you know, listening to everything that you're saying, it's, it's very inspirational and, and it's like very beautiful what you're doing.
It's not just building a pro a profitable company. It's like you're building a better world, I think. And then what you're doing with the book and what you're doing with the course is how do you extend these, these, these, like these nuggets of knowledge that you're sharing with other people um that, you know, we don't just run into in our everyday lives, like through college or through just talking with people. And so I'm very excited to, for everyone to listen to this, to implement in their businesses and really build a better company.
And a, and a and a better community. So, you know, on behalf of everyone at H A venture freedom, you know, thank you so much. And um yeah, so glad to have you on today. Well, thank you. It's, it's a great thing that you do. I get the opportunity to talk to a lot of people and it's always great to talk to somebody who really has AAA serious um ownership of what they're doing. And again, I thank you for what you're doing and, and for to all the people out there that you're trying to help.
And if I can, if I can make a little bit of that learning curve, just a little bit easier. That's, that's what I'm here for. So I appreciate you. Thanks for having me. Yes, sir. Thanks so much and thank you everyone for listening. Um Yeah, I hope you get some takeaways from this, uh, check out the book, um, check out the website you said it's um, blue collar cash dot com. Is that the E collar cash dot com or Ken Rusk dot com? If you want that discount, you can go to blue collar cash dot com forward slash fox and get that discount there.
Awesome that you can and thank you everyone and we will catch you in the next episode. Take care and um, yeah, see everyone soon. All right, bye bye. Thank you for joining us for the H VAC Financial Freedom podcast. Follow us on Stream Yard Apple podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music. And check out our main website W W W dot H vac financial freedom dot com to find out how you can also achieve financial freedom.