Selling motivation

To meet 50-year-old Ken Krisby, a compact, lean man with enough energy and charisma to charm the spots off a cow, is to experience a motivated, passionate person who wants you to “elevate to the next level.”

It’s hard not to smile in his presence because his enthusiasm is so contagious, and Krisby is the first to admit: “I’ve had people tell me I’m too high energy.

This abundance of energy may be th reason he’s been able to turn motivation into a profitable one-man business called Success Solutions. With clients including Ashland Inc., Altmeyer Pre-Arrangement Center and Vector Security, Krisby conducts seminars focused on mind, body and spirit to teach determination, dedication, desire and attitude. His clients swear by the results and Krisby prides himself on being a different kind of motivational speaker.

Unlike other speakers, Krisby leads by example.

He is a competitive weight-lifter, and during his Wellness-Energy-Success seminars, he bench-presses 300 pounds three times in a row after leading his group through aerobics and free-weight training. As an ACE-certified instructor, Krisby started working out at age 14 and competing in the YMCA Weightlifting Championships at 17.

Krisby served in the Air Force, spending time in Southeast Asia, and upon his return to Ohio, got his first job, selling mortgages, and became manager after nine months. From 1980 to 1989, he was Executone Communication’s general sales manager, gaining experience developing sales training and motivational techniques, which he would later use in his own business.

Three years ago, Krisby faced his biggest personal challenge when his wife, Kathy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of crumbling under the pressure and succumbing to emotion, he turned his energy and enthusiasm to the challenge and created a small pocket guide entitled “Success is as Simple” to sell at his seminars.

One dollar from each book sold is donated to an account in Kathy Krisby’s name at the Susan G. Koman Foundation. Today, her cancer is in remission.

Good listening skills and the ability to deal with people are two keys to his success. Here, he shares his thoughts on success.

SBN: What motivates you?

Krisby: I came out of the womb motivated. Really, [it’s] teaching people and creating ideas. I love to see people go outside the box. People get stuck in an everyday routine, keep their unhappiness to themselves, don’t want to talk about it and do everything to hide it under the rug.

Just seeing how many people need direction — a lot of people are so pessimistic. It’s great to see people in my seminars understand that their problems aren’t really that glaring. And my wife keeps me motivated, too.

What are the basic principles behind your Success Solutions seminars?

Educating, elevating and motivating people. I’ve attended thousands of seminars, and in 1989, I was a sales managing trainer with Digital and Analog Design in Columbus. In December 1999, I decided to move my family to Pittsburgh so my wife could be closer to her parents. I was financially in a position to open my own business and it’s been a blast.

I have six solid clients in town and had seven speaking engagements in October alone.

Why use weight-lifting in your seminars?

It gives people lifestyle changes and more directional focus on changing habits. You know it takes 21 days to change a habit? Weight-lifting helps their focus and motivation. At the end of each seminar, I bench 300 pounds three times because people ask me to.

What are your biggest pet peeves?

‘Excusitis’ kills me — that and ‘blameitis.’ People say they can’t do something because it will upset their significant other, children or their lifestyle. You should always consult with your significant other before making a major lifestyle change, but don’t blame others and use excuses to prevent action.

What has been your biggest business obstacle?

Establishing an identity in the Pittsburgh market. The way I did it was using my methodology by building networks. As soon as we moved here, I met all my neighbors and tried to build community togetherness. I found out many of my neighbors are golfers, so I created a community golf tournament at Diamond Run.

These networks helped me find clients. I only work in the tri-state area and don’t spread myself too thin. It’s imperative for every businessperson to understand how to build a powerful network.

What is your primary goal?

I want to touch as many people as possible with the Pocket Guide to generate $1 million for breast cancer research over the next 10 years. For more information on upcoming Success Solutions seminars, the Pocket Guide and other Krisby events, visit or call (800) 493-3557.

Amanda Lynch is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer.