Natalie Allport is a former national team snowboarder, athlete, and lifelong entrepreneur. She runs a digital marketing agency, 93 Agency, has over a decade of experience in social media marketing and personal branding, and is passionate about helping athletes and entrepreneurs build their brands and businesses in the same way she did. Natalie has been featured by several notable media outlets, including the Globe and Mail, on her athletic, educational, and entrepreneurial pursuits.

But enough with the formal bio… here’s my story.

Growing up I was THAT girl on the play ground, competing with the boys, skateboarding to school, and playing every sport I could. You know the one. I was an extreme kid, full of energy and motivation, and as my parents like to say “had all the natural abilities, but just needs a bit of direction.”

I was barely 3 when I told my parents I wanted to go to the Olympics. Years later, when they tried to introduce to me the concept of having a back-up plan, I said I’d start a successful business, DUH! Luckily, my parents are no strangers to risks. My dad is a fellow entrepreneur, and my mom, a sales & marketing professional who left her home country of Venezuela to attend University in Canada without knowing any English. Talk about role models.

Whilst most sports came naturally, especially hockey, I found snowboarding at age 12. For some reason, this sport just didn’t click as fast as the rest. Looking back, I understand how confused everyone was that I went all in on this new sport. Nevertheless, I fell in love with the challenge and finally found that one thing to direct all my energy towards.

My parents, not a fan of sending their kids to camp, did send me to one when I was 6. Entrepreneurship camp. We were tasked to create a new product, and inspiration struck when one day I was at the park and noticed a disabled child. My product was a simple strap that allowed a kid like him to swing safely. Looking back, this was probably the start of my desire to make an impact on people, and the world, through entrepreneurship.

From lemonade stands, cutting grass, and selling gum at school (it took my parents years to realize how they went through gum so quickly… hey, no cost of goods sold), I did all the school-kid hustles. Eventually my dad guided my brother and I through our first real business. We learnt the hard way about legit cost of goods sold and that if we didn’t market the product we wouldn’t get any sales calls. We ended up making and selling thousands of dollars of homemade fitness products as pre-teens! Finally, something to replace the fact that our allowances started at 25 cents a month…

From then on I spent most of my days filling notebooks with business ideas, pitching my parents using powerpoint and a projector, and mostly, learning how to handle rejection from my “Shark Tank” imitating parents. They’re tough investors!

At 13 I entered my first local snowboard contest, and won. In 2010, I began competing at events beyond the local level. That Summer I took online courses while working full-time so that I could graduate high-school a semester early. I didn’t spend that semester travelling, like most would. Instead, I worked. 5am-12pm at a gas station making breakfast sandwiches and serving coffee, so I could afford to go to snowboard camp.

Remember when I said my allowance was like 25 cents? I didn’t come from money. If I wanted something, I had to earn it. I think that may have been why I chose snowboarding in the first place. While I could excel on natural talent alone in school and most sports, snowboarding was a challenge, in fact, it took me 2 years to even learn how to turn.

In 2011, I was named to the Canadian Junior National Slopestyle Snowboard team. I had no coach, no connections, and no idea of how incredible the next 4 years would be. There were amazing highs, competing on the World Cup circuit, travelling with the National team, but also, deep lows, such as failing to qualify for the 2014 Olympics, breaking my tailbone, ribs, ankle, wrist, heel…

In 2015 I reached out to my coaches and told them I hadn’t been feeling quite myself that past season. I was making excuses, small injuries that I’d typically ride through kept me on the sidelines, but inside, I felt scared and out of place. I had seen several friends have life threatening injuries, and I had begun to wonder how it would effect my future, family, and other passions if something like that were to happen to me. In snowboarding it’s not a matter of if, but rather, when. That’s the thing with action sports. If you let the fear in, it’s time to retire.

That year I fell into a deep depression. I’d always struggled with anxiety, but this was totally different. I started having more severe panic attacks and struggled with losing my identity as an athlete. Who am I now? That Summer opened my eyes to how dark things could get, even for a seemingly always motivated and optimistic young woman. 

I had 2 saving graces to getting me back to myself (aside from seeking professional help), one, an introspective solo trip to Bali, and two, CrossFit. I had started CrossFit a year prior as a way to train for snowboarding, and took to it quite quickly. Diving into CrossFit gave me an outlet and helped me through the transition. Eventually it became more than that, and I’ve now competed around the World at Sanctional events, competing against the fittest athletes on the planet. 

Being an entrepreneur is in my blood. 

Remember when I said I didn’t come from money? I had to HUSTLE and get scrappy to pursue my athletic dreams. Apart from working odd jobs (I’ve done it all, from baseball umpire, to janitor at a car dealership), it was through sponsorships that I was able to get to events, get free gear, and pay for expenses. Through this, I realized I had a unique skill, marketing myself. I reached out to brands on social media, and I worked really hard to build strong relationships with them. My marketing mindset made it a win win, as I understood what they were looking for, how I could uniquely provide value, and how to communicate my story to both build my audience, and convince them to take a chance on working with me.

In 2014, late into my snowboard career and midway through my education (did I mention I was in business school throughout my snowboard career), a local business whom I had reached out to years prior for sponsorship, took notice of how I was able to market myself, and asked me if I could do the same for their business. As more businesses took notice of my work, and after I had retired from snowboarding, I officially launched 93 Agency, a digital marketing agency focusing on helping growing businesses and brands increase their impact through social media marketing.

What do you get when you combine a decade of personal branding, social media marketing, and real-world experience across dozens of industries?! Me, coming full circle.

I’m passionate about making an impact and have made it my mission to help more motivated individuals achieve their dreams in the same way I have as both an athlete and entrepreneur. I’m increasing my impact, by increasing yours. 

It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you play.

I‘ve believed this whole heartedly my entire life. Playing big got me, the determined girl with a dream and few resources, global brand sponsors. Playing big got me, the former snowboard athlete, a thriving business full of dream clients. Playing big got me, here, telling my story, and having people like you, read it. If my story can help 1 person, then it’s worth telling.

No matter who you are, where you came from, or what you’re pursuing, in sport or business, there’s a story behind why you do what you do, and that story is your competitive advantage. YOU are your competitive advantage. YOU have the power to make an impact on others, and this World. And in this day and age, all it takes to start is opening up your laptop.

If you don’t believe it, I’m living proof.

You have what it takes, you know it, I know it.

Now, it’s time to play big.

It’s time to go ALL IN.

Let’s grow on this journey together.

I can’t wait,

-Nat

PS. Knowing how to market yourself effectively is KEY, and I can teach you how. Click here to learn more about how we can work together.