Take Control of Your Future with Ken Rusk
Episode 689th January 2023 • Construction Disruption • Isaiah Industries
00:00:00 00:34:48

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“Beyond your bills, beyond next month, why are you here? What are you trying to build for yourself? You’re much more in control of your future than you think you are. You just have to give yourself the confidence and the courage to recognize that.” Ken Rusk, Rusk Industries and Author of Blue Collar Cash

 

Choosing a career is a decision we all undertake younger than we likely should. Whether attending college or trade school or heading to work straight from high school, the world of work is changing rapidly. Author, ditch-digger, and entrepreneur Ken Rusk proposes that we ditch the current model. Instead of focusing on college prep and getting the right degree, choose your career first to build the life you want.

 

Too often, we undervalue blue-collar work, choosing unhelpful degrees and debt over in-demand jobs with job security in spades. Working his way from ditch digger to owner, Ken shares his experience in his book, Blue Collar Cash. Aimed at anyone who needs a career change, Ken’s bestselling book guides you on the path to a fulfilling life and work. His message is empowering, challenging you to define your ideal life and boldly live it out.

 

Topics discussed in this interview:

-      The story behind Ken’s bio

-      Ken’s start in blue-collar work and his journey so far

-      Shift in education to college prep over career

-      Tailoring your business to modern realities

-      Reversing the current mindset on careers and school

-      Empowering your employees to grow your business

-      Two stories of changed lives

-      The power of investing and compound interest

-      Trade schools and valuing blue-collar work

-      Choose a specific degree for a specific line of work

-      Rapid-fire questions

 

Visit Ken’s website, kenrusk.com, check out his book Blue Collar Cash, and enroll in his course.

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Transcripts

Ken Rusk:

:

What's wrong with running a small plumbing company where you can make $200,000 a year? Where's the stigma in that? Right. And that's the thing that drives me nuts. There's a lot of ways that people can be successful. The key is knowing what you want your life to look like and then finding one of the many paths to get there.

Ethan Young:

:

Welcome to the Construction Destruction podcast, where we uncover the future of building and remodeling. I'm Ethan Young, a content writer at Isaiah Industries, a manufacturer of specialty metal roofing and other building materials. Today, my co-host is Todd Miller, who's usually our main host. We're trying something a little different this episode. I've sat in on the whole 60-plus episodes so far, but I've never been the main host.

Todd Miller:

:

I'm looking forward to you being in this role, Ethan. I know you'll do great.

Ethan Young:

:

Thanks. Yeah, I have to say, I have some some newfound respect for all the work you put into writing the questions and stuff and doing the research. After doing it myself now, you know, I have some newfound respect for it.

Todd Miller:

:

Start to see what this all entails. It's not rocket science, as they say.

Ethan Young:

:

So before we introduce our guest here, I do want to mention that we're doing something we do on quite a few episodes, a challenge word. So each of us has given one of the other a word that's kind of unique or interesting to try to work in the conversation at some point. So you, as the listener, see if you keep an eye out for those, see if you hear anything kind of off, kind of out there. So we'll work on that throughout that episode. But today our guest is Ken Rusk, who in his own words, is president of Rusk Industries, Professional ditch digger, entrepreneur, author of Blue Collar Cash and proud advocate of following your dreams. So, Ken, thanks for joining us today.

Ken Rusk:

:

Hey, thanks for having me, guys. I really appreciate it.

Ethan Young:

:

Before I start with any of the rest of my questions, before I dig in there, I do want to talk about your bio, especially a couple of those titles in there. Professional ditch digger and proud advocate of following your dreams. Why did you pick those two?

Ken Rusk:

:

Actually, when I first got to the publisher stage when we were working on titles, one of the things that we all came together around the table was we wanted to make sure that people understood that I'm giving advice based on my own life. I don't have any letters after my name. I don't have any initials after my name, I never went to college, I don't have any advanced degrees. I'm not a psychologist in any way. So we thought it would be kind of a strange dichotomy for someone to say, well, why should I listen to this ditch digger guy? So they kind of put that out there and and they thought it was great. So, yeah, that's kind of where that came from.

Ethan Young:

:

I gotcha, yeah, that makes a ton of sense, you know? It gives you a lot of credibility in the industry that you're trying to hit. So I like it. I guess for my next one, we talk about the rest of the biography, the rest of the bio there. So can you share with us a little bit about Rusk Industries and your entrepreneurial efforts?

Ken Rusk:

:

Yeah. So when I was 15, my high school shared a fence with an industrial park and we would cut through that fence on our way to the carry out after school. And we would hang out at the school, at the carry out, you know, just try to work on life a little bit as young kids. And I'll never forget that as I would walk through this industrial park, I would notice that there was, you know, just a lot of milling about in some of these construction companies. I knew somebody that had worked there, and the one in particular I really got attracted to. So I asked them what they did and they said, Well, we basically dig ditches here. And I said, Well, I'm qualified to do that, right? So, you know, I needed gas for my car or, you know, buy pizza for my girlfriend, whatever, or go bowling with my buddies. So I did that in the summer times. And then in the winter times I'd work in the office. And the best part about that was I kind of learned the front and the back of the house, as they say. And when I was 19, they said to me, We want you to to help us open branches around the state of Ohio and Midwest. So I was, I got to open businesses from scratch from zero and start them up on other people's money and other people's risk, which was pretty cool at the time. So I learned how to do that. And then after a while I got tired of living out of a suitcase. So I moved to Toledo, Ohio. We opened this place here, we started with six people. We now have nearly 200, so it's been a heck of a ride.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, and I wanted to talk about that. When I was looking you up, I saw that you still serve as the owner of, I think it's Ever-Dry Toledo. How does that connection kind of play into your, you know, you still being part of the industry, especially influencing your book and your message and all that? How does that work?

Ken Rusk:

:

When you have a lot of people, you hire a lot of people. I mean, that's just how it goes. And you guys know that in the businesses that you're in. And I feel like in the last ten or fifteen or twenty years, the people coming in were kind of a little less and less and less prepared for life. There's reasons for that, we can talk about it. But, you know, I was having to help out with like first credit cards and first apartments and cleaning up driver's licenses and helping people with their first cars and whatever, checking accounts and 401k and all that. So I almost became kind of an involuntary life coach, you know. And as I said, I have no training in that. But I love doing it because, you know, if I can get somebody to understand that they are actually in control of their life and control their future, the more of that entrepreneurial employee I can build around me, the more that company is going to get driven forward. And so, yeah, I still do it to this day. I love doing it and it just kind of reinforces the messages I'm trying to put out there.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, and as those messages, I mean, this seems to translate, you know, perfectly into you kind of creating a book and making this part of your journey as, you know, spreading this message. So can you tell us a little bit about how did this kind of, how did that go from where you were there to kind of jump to making a book and, you know, making a kind of switch to that part of your career?

Ken Rusk:

:

I was thinking about it because what happened over the last 30 years to change this? And I came up with, you know, there's kind of a menagerie of different things that would have influenced this. Okay, you have kids that were in shop class when I was younger where they accidentally discovered, you know, carpentry, plumbing, electrician, you know, estheticians, hairdressers, all those kinds of great skills. They were now shut out from discovering those things. So the high schools all of a sudden became college prep schools instead of high schools. So, you know, you had that influence and then you had kids. And nowadays they don't build tree forts in the backyard like we did when we were younger. They build cities on Minecraft on their cell phone. And, you know, you guys know that's just not the same experience. So call that influence number two. Number three is simple. The colleges are really awesome at shaming parents and teachers into saying if you don't produce college educated kids, they're going to be nowhere and they're not going to gain anything. And I think that's a tragedy because, you know, I'm not an anti college guy. If you're going to operate on my shoulder so I can get back on the golf course, I want you to know everything there is about a knife before you pick it up, I get that. But, you know, teacher, engineer, architect, those are specific. Again, I understand that. But just to send all these kids to school when some of them could have been really good working with their hands. Now, I think that's a challenge that we all need to think about.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah. And I have to say, it's interesting hearing you say that, because from my perspective, I feel like I kind of got in on the tail end of like, you know, still kind of playing around outside when I was a kid. And now it's very much all technology and that's mostly what I do. You know, it's not it's not like that. And then I have two teachers in my family, so I, I very much see that kind of heavy focus on college prep. It's all about standardized test results. It's all about, you know, how can you tailor the curriculum around that? So it's really interesting to hear that and see that see that change, I guess, in action. As somebody who's kind of been on a little bit of both sides of it, but kind of to add on to that with what you're saying. Was there like a catalyst? Was there like a single moment that kind of made you think, oh, I should write a book about this? Or was this something that just built up over time? And then it just became obvious?

Ken Rusk:

:

Well, you know, it's funny because I've got people that have been here since day one with me, you know, 35, 36 years. And I have a lot of people that have been here 10, 15, 20 years. And I looked at what makes people hang around and what what made them hang around is the fact that we are really involved in what their goals are for themselves. I mean, how many times, you know, I've said this so many times to the group that we have. I can't get what I want for myself, nor can my company get what it wants or needs until all of you get what you want first. And I absolutely 100% mean that. And you can tell because there's a lot of longevity here. And the people that have been here a while, they're on the path to making that that goal board happen for themselves. So they're saying to themselves, you know what? I can get what I want for myself with and through this company that Ken has here. So I'm going to hang around and do that. And what happened was, you know, I had a lot of people say to me, you know, that works so well. You need to tell that story beyond the four walls of your company. And my wife actually pushed me to it, Nancy. She said, you need to write a book about this because it works. And I did. And I got really lucky. I mean, I didn't think the book would go ten feet, much less than ten miles, that it's gone. And I'm I'm very blessed and grateful for that. Yeah, it was a message that a lot of people really wanted to hear, a lot of people resonated with, and one that I think we can still use today.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah. No, I think that kind of long term perspective you were talking about with your employees, I think that's a really commendable thing. And I think as well our next question will be about kind of the labor shortage and kind of, you know, getting employees to stick around and retention. And I think that's something that a lot of people are looking for. A lot of them know employees are looking for that kind of long term perspective from employers that kind of like fostering growth. And so I guess to get into the question directly. Besides that, are there any other strategies or any other things you see with labor shortage and employee retention? You know, either you've done or you think people should do that would kind of help solve that or kind of help mitigate that a little bit?

Ken Rusk:

:

First off, I think you have to look at the different ways that people are these days. I mean, I used to be able to put an ad in the paper and the next day there'd be ten people sitting in my foyer waiting to be interviewed. Now there's three, and two of them are looking at me saying, Hey, man, what's in it for me to work here? Okay. So you have to kind of embrace their choices because they have a lot of choices right now. I mean, there's 10 million jobs out there that are available and they have a lot of choices. So, you know, I don't mind if somebody asks me that question because I need to change the way I interview and say, well, you tell me what you want for yourself. I mean, why are you here? Beyond Friday, beyond the paycheck, beyond your bills, beyond next month, why are you here? What are you trying to build for yourself? And I think that's a question that when you say it, they look at you like, wow, man, no one's ever asked me that about myself before. It's all been about their boss and their ego and me bossing you. Why are you here? So it's a change and it's a welcome change. And I think we do a lot of things with personal development, personal goals, personal investments, a lot of celebrations and music and color and energy. And I've even got a van that one of our guys drives around and cooks cheeseburgers in the front yard of our customer's houses in January. I mean, it's it's really cool, but it's the kind of thing that it's kind of interesting because I hear people say, Man, now all of a sudden I have to work on culture in my company to attract people. And I'm thinking, Well, we're in the ditch digging in business. I've had to do that for 30 years because of the very nature of the job, right? So I'm lucky in that way because I got a head start on him. But I feel bad because some people are just now saying, Why can't I keep anybody? I always say it's not them. You got to look back internally at your culture and see what would attract those kinds of people to hang around.

Ethan Young:

:

That's a powerful message. I totally agree with that. And I think, you know, kind of that restoring vitality to making it a place of, you know, life and energy and creativity and all that, and just really making it a great place for people to work. I think that's great advice. As for the book Blue Collar Cash, can you tell us, we've talked about the message a little bit already, but can you give us a few high points for anybody who hasn't read the book yet or maybe something they should look forward to if they do read it?

Ken Rusk:

:

Well, I think there's a couple of things. I think we tend to live if-then lives. Okay. If I go to high school and if I get good grades and a good S.A.T. score, and then if I get a scholarship and if I go to college and if I get a degree and if I can use this degree, and then if I get a job that pays well, then I can start living my life. I think it's the absolute backwards. It's the opposite of that. I think we need to be thinking about what we want our life to look like first and then pick one of the many paths that you can take to get there. I mean, if you think about it, there's 167 million people in the United States today considered full employment. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which I calculated, there's about 77 million people that still work with their hands. So by the time your feet hit the floor from your bed to the time you get to your church, your school, your office, whatever, you've probably crossed thousands of blue collar jobs that are still viable today. And the thing is, it's all about supply and demand. I mean, if supply is low and demand is high, that's where the money goes. So the more that kids are willing to snub the blue collar industry, the more opportunity for that contrarian thinker out there to go, Wow, if everybody's going this way, I'm going to go that way because there's opportunity, there's money, there's a way to create a life for myself. Sometimes I think the way to make a living in this world anymore in a great way, is to do what other people aren't willing to do and make a great life surrounding that. So I just say let market forces be your friend. And oh, by the way, half the book talks about vision. Half the book talks about things that don't matter if you're a blue collar or white collar or a new collar person, you can still use this advice. It just happens to have a little blue collar spin to it because of the crisis that we're in currently. But yeah, it's something I think just about anybody can use that to think about what what might be ahead for them in their future.

Ethan Young:

:

Also, I guess kind of behind the book a little bit. But I think you talked about it a little before I joined the call, but you were talking about being very busy. Has that, have you transitioned much from kind of an owner of a construction business in the field a lot to focusing more on the author side of things and on the speaker side of things? Or how are you managing that kind of relationship?

Ken Rusk:

:

Oh, that that's a great question. So for a long time now, I've always believed that for me to grow the people within the company, I need to constantly be growing myself. So one of the things I've done is I've gone to my staff and I've said, Listen, our current level of business is X, we want to get to Y or Z or even beyond that. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to have you all become entrepreneurial employees. You're going to be part of your own departments, you're going to run your own departments. You're going to control the budgets and everything else. And when we get to those numbers, I'm going to share a portion of that growth with you, okay? And they look back at me and they're like, cool, man. Get out of our way. Let's do it. And I got to tell you, for anybody out there that's listening, you know, you may not like this advice, but drop the boss, drop the ego, drop your desire to want to fix everything, tell everything. Learn, I mean, you know, go home and say, look at what I did today. Drop all that, work towards becoming less relevant to your company. Get your people way more relevant than they currently are. And then watch what happens. Your company could go up 20, 30, 50, or 100% in its effectiveness in its revenue stream just by you know, I hate to say the word empowering, but just by lighting up the people around you and then sharing a piece of that additional pie. It's so easy to share money that you don't have yet. So go ahead and do that. And again, step back and watch what happens. You'll be amazed.

Ethan Young:

:

I think that's really fascinating advice. I don't think I've ever heard anything quite like that. But I can definitely see from what you laid out, how that would really kind of flip things around, flip the dynamic around and kind of give that opportunity to the employees to make a difference. I do want to bring up more of the book here. I think one of the most rewarding parts of creating anything, I'm a writer, so I'm constantly creating small things. But one of the most rewarding parts of creating anything is watching people enjoy your work, watching them interact with it. So I'm sure you've heard some powerful stories already from people that have read your book and how it's changed your life. Can you share any specific ones with us? Anything like that?

Ken Rusk:

:

You know, I've got two of them. I've got one from a young girl who I think she was 29 or 30, and she has a family and she always wanted to be an entrepreneur. And she was kind of stuck in this rut. And she read the book and she took the course and she was like, This has been life-changing for me. I now have my dream job and I'm doing what I always wanted to do and it has to do, she's out in the country and it has to do with some type of farming construction thing. It's just so cool to watch, you know, she's there with her baseball hat on and she's just a force to be reckoned with, you know, And she kind of worked up from where she was to where she is. That's on the starting outside. Another gentleman, he wrote to me and he said, you know, I read your book a while ago and he goes, I'm sitting in the 15th floor in this cubicle selling medical supplies. I had a college degree paying off the debt and I just, I hate it, he said. So I was a plumber's assistant when I was going through college. I loved the fact that we were in control of everything our day, our time, our effort, our money. And he said, I left my job and went back to being a plumber. And I cannot believe how happy I am. I'm very happy in my whole life. So from someone young figuring out where they're going, to someone who was there figuring out how to go back. It's those are two really great stories amongst many that I've heard that I just love, love to tell.

Todd Miller:

:

Ken, I'm kind of curious. You know, you built a significant-sized business. I think you said around 100 team members. Is that.right?

Ken Rusk:

:

And we're almost 200 now. Yeah.

Todd Miller:

:

200. So I'm kind of curious for our listeners out there, how roughly does that break down as far as number of people who are actually in operations, number of people in marketing, sales, business, administration, purchasing, whatever? Just round numbers. I'm curious how that all breaks out.

Ken Rusk:

:

Well, I would say a third of them are involved in construction installation, maybe 40%, and another third of them are involved in marketing and sales. And then another less than a third of them are involved in the administrative, you know, stuff that you do with all with all the, you know, all the moving parts of a business like that.

Todd Miller:

:

Very interesting. How long has the business been in existence?

Ken Rusk:

:

We started in 1986.

Todd Miller:

:

Okay. So you say you've had some great growth and then you wrote Blue Collar Cash how long ago?

Ken Rusk:

:

A year and a half, actually. It hit the bestseller list last fall. So it's been about almost two years now.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome. You got quite the story. There's absolutely no doubt about it. Very, very fascinating. And I have not had a chance to check out your book yet, but I very much want to because this sounds very much what our culture and country need right now. More folks looking at doing things that actually are productive and build things, make things, and all that type of stuff. Good stuff.

Ken Rusk:

:

You know, it's funny because there's so many simple things in the book that I just can't believe aren't taught. I'll just give you one quick one if you want. So we have what we call the 401k Millionaires Club here. And I don't think this is taught in high schools and I can't believe it's not and I don't know why, but I picked up on something from a Ramsey financial thing. If you're 21 years of age and you put your first 60 bucks a week away, the first 60, you never had it, can't spend it. You won't miss it because you never had your first 60. You put that away. You can do that for ten years, save about $33,000, quit saving. And when you're at retirement age, you're going to have over $1,000,000 in your 401k account. If you try to do it when you're 35, which is when most of us go, Oh my gosh, I got to think about retirement. Now I'm 35, now I'm getting on age. I get to start doing this. It takes you 30 years to only make 600,000 when you retire. The power of young money is so ridiculous. The way it doubles and the way it multiplies in, the way it compounds. Why don't we teach that in high school so that, you know, we could have a whole nation of 21 year olds who are like, Hey, man, my retirement's handled, I'm good. I don't need to think about it. I don't need to fret over it. It's just something else. You know, someone says to your interview, I'm going to pay you $50,000 a year. You look right back at me, and you say, Hey, thanks for paying me $47,000 a year because that first $3000 is gone. I mean, think about it, right? Put it there. And oh, by the way, you save a buck and you get a buck. I'm match a quarter now. You got a buck and a quarter. So, you know, compare that to the guy who was trying to save after tax dollars and he's getting $0.75, he or she. So there's just these things that I don't get that why don't we teach these things. So I tried to fill the book with a lot of really simple stuff that people go, Holy cow, how come I never knew that? And that's a lot of the feedback that I get from. So yeah, kind of neat.

Ethan Young:

:

I think that's great.

Todd Miller:

:

I love the fact your book is really just kind of this confluence of all the things you've learned and just bring those together and bring them out and sharing them. So that's good stuff.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, I think that's you know, that's a really that would transform a lot of lives. Stuff like that can really, you know, change things for people, especially if it's packaged in a very, you know, single, single design like that where they can get it and kind of grasp it all and apply it. So I guess kind of, to kind of to go back to where we were talking about college and stuff, we had the opportunity to interview someone who works with a local trade school a couple, more than a couple of episodes ago. But it was really interesting to kind of hear his perspective on education and kind of where he works with his students and how that path works for them and kind of see how they get placed at different like companies around the community and stuff. So do you what kind of, how do you think trade schools play into all of this? How do you think they affect the future of this kind of movement towards blue collar again?

Ken Rusk:

:

Well, I think what happened is all high schools used to be, you know, tech or trade schools at one time, they all had that little piece part inside of them. Now we have these tech or trade schools that are, you know, on their own. I went to one in Archibald, Ohio that it's so great because, you know, it's like shop class on steroids. You walk down the hallway and you see people working on robotics and then you walk in, there's an entire hair salon and then there's a whole carpentry thing, and then there's a whole welding shop and, you know, all these machines and whatnot. And kids get to go in there and play with them and see them, and yet they get to go to high school at the same time there, whereas it used to be in high school, mostly education, a little bit of shop class. These are lots of shop class and still the education. So I do think it's a great idea to do it. I would send my own kids to one of those because at least they get the chance to discover and if they choose, they still want to be that architect or they choose they want to be a doctor or whatever, fine. But at least they had the opportunity to see it all and to make some of those decisions because you're not really prepping for med school in high school anyway. I mean, you know, you're doing that in your first couple of years in college. So I just think that we really need to get back to that because you're waiting, what, six months for a stonemason to come to your house to to build that outdoor kitchen for you. And he's charging you have a fortune to do it and you're happy to have them because there's nobody else. And yet this guy I did this in my own yard, this guy, beautiful business has nobody to leave it to. Making a fortune has no one to give it to. No one wants to take it over. And I just think, man, there's a missed opportunity there big time.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, we just recorded an episode earlier today, kind of talking to someone who was able to kind of receive a lot of that knowledge that was passed down there with the trades and stuff and just how that's really helped him. He's a real estate developer, so that's really helped him kind of have a good perspective on the the properties that he works with. And it's really, really done some good work for him. So I guess this wouldn't necessarily apply to our listeners the best. But maybe if our listeners have kids that are thinking about this, do you have any advice you would give to somebody who's at that crossroads of maybe high school or college starting to think about what they want to do with their career? Any specific advice?

Ken Rusk:

:

Yeah, the word specific is actually what I would say. If your child is interested in a specific skill that wants to, they need to acquire from a specific set of classes at a specific school, then go for it because there's a specific job waiting for them at the other end. Okay. But if they're just going to go because there's a sign on their school that says, you know, college prep high school, if they're just doing that because they're just following the herd. And you have to really it's never been true that you can only be a college degree person to be successful. That's never been true. And yet we're trying to sell that right now. So I would say look at their growing up. Was there something that they did that was exceptional? Were they good at fixing things or repairing things or imagining things or drawing things? Were they good at doing some things that might lead you to think they might be more tactile in the way that they learn and operate?

Ethan Young:

:

I think that's great advice. And I think as someone who graduated college a couple of years ago and really college seemed like it was always where I was going to go. There was never going to be any other choice for that, and I don't know, a couple of years then I kind of got in this spot, was kind of moody, couldn't figure out what I wanted to do, and, you know, I was able to switch my degree from something I thought I really wanted to do and then find something that was a much better fit for me. But even then, you know, some advice like that, I think would really help to kind of nail things down and, you know, kind of show me that there are a lot of possibilities out there that, you know, I don't have to just go with what I think is right the first time and kind of go from there, so.

Ken Rusk:

:

Well, you know, some some of the statistics are kind of, they're kind of scary. Because 40% of kids today go to college not knowing why they're going, scary. 25% of them change their degree after they pick one. And then 38% of those kids never use the degree that they got in college in their lifetime. I mean, if you're going nonspecific, that's a pretty inefficient way to go, especially with all the opportunity that's available out there. If you're going specific, have at it. I mean, do it like I said, surgeon fine, but you just got to be careful that you're not setting up your child to come home with 100 grand in debt and a degree in Eastern European language translation that they're never going to use and can't monetize. So, you know, I've sat in front of kids who said, I think I got hoodwinked, man, I got all this debt now and I could use that money to buy a house. And now I don't get to start my life for five or ten years while I pay all this off. It's a sad thing, and if I could prevent that from happening one time, I'd be happy to do it.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, and I think we're still continuing to feel those repercussions from those kind of decisions. People are definitely, and I think that seems like that's the strongest message from the book, is just giving them that freedom, kind of liberating them from that typical idea that, you know, showing them that there are other possibilities are there are, you know, other ways that they can choose to live their lives, so. Well, thanks so much for the interview so far. And before we start wrapping up, is there anything that we haven't touched on that you'd like to share with the audience?

Ken Rusk:

:

Just that, you know, you're much more in control of your future than you think you are. You just have to give yourself the confidence and the courage to recognize that. I mean, you control your day, you control your input, your output, you control the quality of the output. You control, you know, the type of work that you do. You control the financial gain that you can get. And that's why I say, to me, you know, there's nothing against white collar jobs. There's not. But if you're one of those people who really feels that you want to be in charge of who you are and where you're going and how you do that, then yeah, you should consider one of these jobs. And the other thing is, when I wrote this book, I did it to help people. And I know you hear that all the time, but my life was really good before this, okay? I didn't do it to earn money. And so a lot of times, you know, you read books and you see these people with all these books and they're up on the shelf and they become like trophies and they don't remember anything that's in it, but they read it right. So I created this course along with the book for people so that you could take the book and then have it actually change your life. It's eight one-hour sessions. You can do them as fast as you want. I've seen courses for $1500, $2000. No, this is 129 bucks. You get a free $25 book with it. And when you buy this course, I will donate one to anyone you know. Okay. Friends, family, neighbor, nephew, grandson, whoever. So know that if you get involved in helping yourself, you're going to automatically help somebody else in the process. And I tend to donate a lot of my money to charity up from this book anyway. So it's just another way that I wanted to give back and again, help your self, help somebody else out.

Ethan Young:

:

I think that's fantastic. I think that's a great way to do it. So before we start closing out the podcast here, we do have a tradition here on Construction Disruption. So we like to finish out with our rapid-fire question round. So this is seven questions, some of them are serious, some are a little bit silly, but all we need from you is a short answer for each one. So what do you think? Do you think you're up for rapid-fire?

Ken Rusk:

:

Absolutely. Let's rock and roll.

Ethan Young:

:

Awesome. Awesome. Alright, Todd, if you want to go first, that's fine.

Todd Miller:

:

Sure. If you could master one additional skill beyond what you've already mastered, you could just instantly master it, what would that skill be?

Ken Rusk:

:

Breaking 80 on the golf course.

Ethan Young:

:

Ahh, there you go.

Ken Rusk:

:

Actually breaking 75 because I do break 80, but I'd like to break 75 more often.

Todd Miller:

:

Good deal.

Ethan Young:

:

Question two, what's your go-to karaoke song?

Ken Rusk:

:

Oh, it's for sure it's Better Man by Pearl Jam. Great question.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. Question three, what is your least favorite food and why?

Ken Rusk:

:

Brussel sprouts. Oh, and I'll tell you why. Anyone who likes brussel sprouts, when you dig deeper, you figure out that the only way they like them is to cover them with sugar or chocolate or maple syrup or breading or something else. Which means it isn't the brussels sprouts they like, it's everything else.

Todd Miller:

:

Nothing truer was ever said.

Ethan Young:

:

I was just going to argue with you because my mom makes some great brussels sprouts, but no, they're covered in bacon. So it's really from the bacon.

Ken Rusk:

:

Yeah.

Ethan Young:

:

Alright. Question four, if you could pick another or pick a language to be fluent in, what would it be?

Ken Rusk:

:

I think Spanish. I think you can use that in a lot of places. I'm actually, I'm not fluent, but I can kind of, I can order a beer. Okay. But yeah, I'd like to learn that a lot better.

Todd Miller:

:

Very good. Question five, oh, this is a good one. We love this question. Do you prefer the top or bottom half of a bagel?

Ken Rusk:

:

Bottom for sure.

Ethan Young:

:

Interesting.

Todd Miller:

:

Interesting.

Ken Rusk:

:

That's where the cream cheese goes, I mean.

Todd Miller:

:

That makes sense. Good answer.

Ethan Young:

:

Alright. Here's a little bit of an interesting one, but what would you say was the best and then the worst part of writing a book?

Ken Rusk:

:

Best part was writing it. That was fun. I mean, writing it, that kind of thing. I think the worst part was when I released it, I released it during the pandemic and all of the PR that I had lined up. I had some amazing opportunities to go talk to some amazing people. And all of that got shut down because of the pandemic. So we relaunched it and we're going back at that again, which is fun. But I was just sad for so many people that had to go through those types of challenges. Many more challenges than mine, believe me. But it was tough because we did this whole project for all this time. And right when we went to release that, boom that happened. So that was tough.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, that is, that is difficult. Well, final rapid-fire question. If you were in the Olympics, what sport would you play?

Ken Rusk:

:

Downhill ski racer.

Ethan Young:

:

Oh, okay.

Ken Rusk:

:

Yeah. I love going fast and I think that would be awesome to go down a slope at, you know, 80 miles an hour. I think that'd be cool.

Todd Miller:

:

It just sounds scary to me, but more power to you.

Ethan Young:

:

I think the one time I went skiing, I put on too many clothes, so I got really hot and I threw up and I had to stop. But other than that, it was fine.

Ethan Young:

:

Alright, well before we end up here, I do want to mention to the audience. So we did. I think all three of us did work in our challenge words. So if we want to go around, I'll start with you, Todd. What was your challenge word?

Todd Miller:

:

I had the word confluence and I was panicked. I didn't think I was going to get this one worked in, but I got it in there and I think I used it halfway correct.

Ethan Young:

:

And then, Ken, what was, what was yours?

Ken Rusk:

:

Mine was a menagerie, which is like a collection or a group of things. So that's kind of how I worked mine in.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, mine was moody, which I kind of waited a long time to get it in there, but I found an alright spot, so I think it worked out.

Ken Rusk:

:

That's really cool that you guys do that. That's a lot of fun.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, we like to think it's a good way to kind of add some of the fun to it, so. Ken, thanks for the great interview so far. What's the best way for listeners if they want to get in contact with you or maybe they want to check out the book or the course? What's the best way for them to do that?

Ken Rusk:

:

Well, again, I'd like them to go to kenrusk.com. You can see what we're up to there. You can buy the book and the course there. It's, you know, it's Christmas season. Maybe that's kind of a unique and different gift you could buy somebody. So give that a shot and know that you'll get two for one. And you can get it at Amazon or you can get it at Barnes & Noble's or you can get it at your independent bookstores and all around. So I just really appreciate it. I mean, again, I'm very grateful and blessed that it made it to bestseller status last fall and it's continuing to do well. So, you know, thanks to people like you who you guys who helped me spread the good word, which is a word I think is needed.

Ken Rusk:

:

Ethan Young: So, yeah, well, congrats on making it there and we're happy to spread that great message. So thanks and thanks to the audience for tuning in to this episode of Construction Disruption with Ken Rusk of Rusk Industries and author of Blue Collar Cash. Please keep an eye out for future episodes. We have some great guests, just like this one, coming up in the future. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or YouTube. Until next time, stay curious to open innovation. Keep on with new ideas. Keep on creating new ideas and disrupting construction. This is Isaiah Industries signing off until the next episode of Construction Disruption.

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