Why You Should Build Entrepreneurial Employees – Ken Rusk

Listen On Your Favorite App

Does Your Business have You Stressed, Tired or Overwhelmed?

Let me help!

Let's Talk

Show Notes:

Healthy and strong company culture goes a long way, especially in today’s business environment. Our guest today is all about putting people first.

Meet Ken Rusk. Ken is President of Rusk Industries, a company involved in various forms of construction. Ken is a successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses and revenue streams who built his own company from scratch at a very young age. Ken is also a best-selling author.

His book Blue Collar Cash is a practical guide to finding success and happiness without a college degree. He’s a big blue-collar advocate showing that there’s no degree required for comfort, peace, and freedom. Ken specializes in mentoring and has coached hundreds of people in goal setting, life visualization, career paths, and much more.

He is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams and find their paths to success regardless of their educational background.

In this episode of the Think Business With Tyler podcast, we talk about the power of putting your employees first, the concept of entrepreneurial employees, how to make your goals clear and executable, and how to live your life like a vacation.

If you want to learn more about building a positive work environment, make sure you tune into this episode to hear what Ken has to say.


💡 Name: Ken Rusk

💡 What he does: He’s the President of Rusk Industries.

💡 Noteworthy: Ken is also the author of Best Selling book Blue Collar Cash.

💡 Key Quote: “If you’re 15 to 19, and you’re trying to figure out what your path is going to be, I always talk about let’s talk about what you want your life to look like first, and then we’ll pick the path on how to get there because there’s a lots of different ways to get that.”

💡 Where to find Ken: LinkedIn

Key Insights


Put your employees first. Putting people first is one of the most effective philosophies nowadays, which focuses on prioritizing the employees’ wellbeings. When you put your people first, you empower them. You make them want to give their best and improve their performance. So, if you want to build healthy workplace culture, focus on your employees.

Ken explains, “I always say I can’t get what I want, nor can my company get what it wants or needs, until all of you get what you want first, and I absolutely mean that. So we build a culture where we want you to be a little selfish. We want you to start with you first and then worry about how good the company does because if you’re getting what you want for yourself with and through my company, I’m going to win every time.”

Build entrepreneurial employees. The best thing you can do for your company is to build entrepreneurial employees. So how do you do that? First, you need to build trust and give them the freedom to do what they do best. Then, it’s all about allowing them to be independent. Ken is a big believer in the entrepreneurial mindset.

He explains, “You don’t necessarily have to own your own company to feel like you do. And I’ll tell you there’s a good, Tom Golisano who came up with this, he’s the founder of Paychex, he came up with this term called entrepreneurial employees.

What we do here is we allow the people that run the departments to act like they own them. They run the money, they run the budgets, they run the decisions, they run all those things, and then they either win or lose based on those decisions.”

Make your goals clear and executable. When setting goals for your business, you need to be very specific about them. Whether that means writing them down or drawing them on a piece of paper, make sure you make them clear and executable.

Ken explains, “I’m a big believer in visualization and like even drawing things out. So if I gave somebody a piece of paper and a cran, and said, ‘Draw a goal,’ the only thing they could possibly do is maybe draw the goal in a soccer field or something, with the bars in the net, or whatever, or in a hockey rink or something that would be the only thing they get.

The word goal is such a vague term, and it’s so overused. So for me, it’s not a goal until it’s absolutely crystal clear. And it’s executable, and you know what I mean? You can execute on it.”

Live life like a vacation. If you want to achieve your goals, you need to plan them out. Just like you would plan out a trip, try to plan out everything in your life. Your next car, your new hobby, your charity event… Ken explains,  “I don’t think you’ve ever done anything worthwhile without planning it in the first place. You know how you know when you plan a vacation, and then you anticipate that vacation? The sun, the sandals, the breeze, the ocean there, the drink, the umbrella, the suntan lotion, you smell it, you feel it? You touch it, right? I think you should live life like a vacation.”

Top Quotes

“You’ve got colleges who are really really good at almost shaming or brainwashing school counselors, high school teachers, and parents into saying, it’s our way or else if you don’t go to college, you’re working fast food the rest of your life. And that is absolutely ridiculous. It’s never been true. It’s not true now.”

“If you think about it, where supply is low, and demand is high, that’s where the money always goes. And that’s what you’re seeing now in the trades you’re seeing, man, you’re seeing carpenters making $150,000 a year, you’re seeing plumbers making $150,000, $200,000. You’re seeing welders knocking down $50, $60 an hour, it’s insane what’s happening out there, but for the person who wants to work with their hands, it’s a golden opportunity.”

“I think it’s all about finding people who actually believe that you believe in them and where they’re going. And then I’ll tell you when you do that, get out of the way because your company’s gonna go a lot further than you could ever drive it yourself.”

“I think that’s why I push either find a place where you can become an entrepreneurial employee and let someone else take all the risk, or learn from them, go open your own thing and enjoy the control on both sides of that page. And either way, I just think that’s the best way live.”

“If you don’t know how you affect the output of the company, you got no chance of being really really good at it unless you’re just doing it accidentally. So yeah, for us, we have a lot of meetings, we have a lot of celebrations. We have a lot of energy, a lot of color, a lot of music, a lot of accolades, a lot of milestones, a lot of goal setting, and our doors are never closed.”

“Do they know how much money I make per year? Probably not. I mean, they might be able to guess, but as long as they each are in control of their own entrepreneurial employee departments, they know that we’re going to win in the end.”

“Here’s the thing. I’ve never given a nickel in charity because I expected something to come back to me. And that’s true. You have to give selflessly and sometimes even maybe anonymously. You just have to do it. But for some reason, and I can’t put my finger on it how, the more you give, the more you just seem to be blessed. I’m not saying that’s why you should do it, but it just kind of happens that way. But it gives you the opportunity to share more again.”


Get Ken’s book and course at Ken Rusk

Blue-Collar Cash by Ken Rusk


Latest Podcast Episodes: