JT: You’re listening to Victory by Association. I’m your host, Jeff Tippett. Welcome to episode number 8, with Ranger Kidwell-Ross.
Well hello everyone, I’m Jeff Tippett. I’m grateful that you’ve joined me today for another episode of Victory by Association. Today’s show is brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download and thirty day free trial at audibletrial.com/vba. Over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player. Check our show notes for the link.
Today I am so excited to welcome our guest, Ranger Kidwell-Ross. Ranger, welcome.
RKW: Great to be here Jeff.
JT: I’m so glad you’ve dropped in for a few minutes to tell us about your story and your success. Tell me, to start, a little bit about your association background and general work you’ve done.
RK: You bet. I’ve been involved in the power sweeping industry and we are the World Sweeping Association, for 31 years, and have done a variety of activities around media and writing. Another aspect we have is the largest website on the planet for power sweeping, worldsweeper.com, but about 7 years ago there was another association that made a misstep, I had been asked for many years why I didn’t start an association, so I started one and I haven’t looked back.
IT’s a small industry but it’s one that really can use a lot of information. We run from mom and pop, who might have a sweeper in the driveway at home, to companies. I look back on one of our members who reached $100,000 in billing, and then $1,000,000 and then $10,000,000. So there’s really a wide range.
JT: Wow, that’s fantastic. Tell us something interesting or unique about you that we wouldn’t know. Something that we wouldn’t see on your LinkedIn or website.
RK: Well, I think I do have a candidate for that. For the last eleven years I have an art car called Toynota. You’ll see some of these images that portray me in an entirely different way. It’s a vehicle that I began in 2008, when the recession hit. I knew so many people that were losing their vehicles, their businesses, their jobs, it was really depressing. I’m also a musician, and I met a Buddhist monk who said that we can talk about how the world can be better, but ultimately it’s just the people we run into that we’ll be able to make an impact on, and I thought about how I could do that.
So I hung about 500 toys and instruments on the outside of an old pickup I have and it’s now become one of the most recognizable vehicles in the Pacific Northwest.
JT: I love it man, you are such an interesting guy. And the music as well – I’m a classically trained pianist, something a lot of people don’t know about me, so we have that musical bond there as well.
Well tell us a little bit about your association victory or success that you think our audience might find interesting.
RK: When I do my own podcast, which I do quite regularly, is not just to give us the background of how the business got started, but to get them to give me ideas that other contractors can use that will be useful to them. So that’s what I’ll try to do here, and we look to learn from others all the time. One of the things with power sweeping, at one point we’re inundated with information and on the other hand, the kind of information that we might need is not readily available to us necessarily because it’s out in this sea of info. So I try to find information that can be helpful to my members and I put out a newsletter every two weeks. To me, information is very powerful if you can have it targeted in interesting and useable ways. So on the 1st and 15th they have a newsletter with 5 or 6 paragraphs, and not only am I able to share information that I glean from around the country and around the world to provide them with links, but it also allows the members to talk to each other. And I think that’s critical as well. A way for members of your association to communicate with each other what they’ve learned. I think that’s one the unique parts of our association that others might find interesting.
JT: That’s fantastic, I made a few notes here while you were talking. Something that’s really important to me in the work I’m doing is this sharing of ideas, and sometimes we have this mindset that life and our work and our association work is kind of like a pie, in that there’s a number of limited slices, and that we better keep what we can for ourselves. My mentality is that life is more like a buffet, and we can take and share with other people and more things keep appearing so we all have what we need. So I love this concept of sharing ideas and not being afraid, or closed off.
RK: I couldn’t agree more, Jeff. One of the pushbacks that I’ve received before is that, gee, if I give away my information if there happens to be another members that’s in my market area. And what I’ve found is that it’s so difficult to get people to actualize. If they’re interested in something they read and take on, but how do you get them to do that? IT’s really not ever been a problem in the 7 years of this association. You’re right; by sharing and being collaborative there’s really no downside from what I see. People are either going to take the hints and tips to make their business better, or they’re not.
JT: I think there is a mindset of abundance where we know there’s enough for those around us. I face this a lot as a professional speaker, where sometimes people can feel like we’re competing with one another. But there’s this great feeling when we’re able to share with one another to see others succeed. In your case, you see your whole industry begin to rise when we collaborate with one another. You gave us three words here about information: targeted, interesting and useable. There is this abundance today of content, whether videos, blogs or videos, and there is so much information out there that we feel like we have to have it all. But it’s really about being highly targeted in the people that we’re reaching.
RK: That’s really right. I take my background, which includes a graduate degree in economics, and a lot of time in the power sweeping industry. For many years I worked for a family that made sweepers, and one of the keys that they wanted was information. They felt there were too many people getting into the business, and mind you there are a lot of people probably listening to this and saying what is this power sweeping this guy is talking about. When we go to bed at night and take our cars with us, a virtual fleet of three to five thousand contractors come out of the woodworks to clean the spaces we have inhabited by the day. Some people throw stuff out on the ground and other things accumulate. My initial interest was because that family was concerned because people were joining the industry because they thought they could just go at night and not have to interact with people, but there’s the business side that you have to cover. And also that you have to go out and get your business in the day, and repair your vehicles and so forth. They didn’t want to take people’s money because they didn’t know what they were getting into. So they wanted me to provide them information that would make them become better at what they did, with tips and ideas. So I’m able to take that 30 years plus of experience and really target it at our members to give them a leg up in their operations. That’s really valuable, in any association, to find people with the experience to bring to you what you need, especially as a contractor or someone in that business for their first ten years, that can be extremely valuable.
JT: We’ve had a fantastic conversation. Just to wrap up, we’ve really talked a lot about sharing ideas, and I think it’s a fantastic way to talk about how we share our successes, just like we do on this podcast, how we seek to help other people win and celebrate those moments with them, and making sure our messaging is targeted, make sure it’s interesting because there’s so much content out there, and making sure it’s useable. If we’re giving people content they can use and implement, they’ll buy into that. Ranger, let me ask you this as we wrap up: all associations have volunteers that help out to keep things moving, and I think there’s great value in celebrating them. Is there a particular association superhero or volunteer that you’ve worked with over the years that’s given above and beyond what was expected of them?
RK: Well I would be glad to do that, and I might even expand upon that and say that there are several. I have a group of advisory board members, but a couple of them come to mind. One of them is Michael Mowa, and he continues to be a resource for any of our members to call upon, and his years of experience are extremely valuable to members. And then there’s another member, Gale Holsman, and he has American Sweeping in Kansas City, Missouri. What Gale did is not only available to us for the same reasons as Michael, but he hosted a sweeper roundup at his location and it was fabulous to be able to get our members together and talk one-on-one. It’s great to have an education session, and manufacturers bring their sweepers out, but as you probably know, where the real meat of it is where you can sit down one-on-one and really get talking into the night. That’s where the real sharing happens.
JT: I’m with you. Thanks for both of those. Ranger, how can people find you?
RK: They can go to worldsweepingpros.org, World Sweeping Association. We offer about 300 articles about power sweeping that are all targeted to the needs that you have, and over 100 podcasts that I’ve done with contractors around the country and in some cases around the world. I’ve been fortunate to travel to about 15 countries myself to bring back information, so it’s really interesting what you can learn going around the world on these topics as well.
JT: Fantastic. Well thank you all for listening. My gift for you today is a chapter from my new book, Unleashing Your Superpower, I have a chapter on Crafting a Simple Message. You can get your copy today by texting Persuade to 66866. And I’ll see you next week when we explore another Victory by Association.