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Kyle Skinner | Ottawa, Ontario | 100% Invested

Founder | Writer

I was born and raised in Ottawa, ON and knew from a fairly early age that I took sports a little more seriously than most of peers. While I'd love to say I was blessed with the fast twitch muscle fibers of an Olympian or stood 6'8" tall, my journey through sport would be a much different one.

At the age of 14 I was hired to assist with scorekeeping and hockey tournaments at a local arena. Having a propensity to always try to find the simplest way to do something, my teenage brain was always looking for shortcuts. "What's the easiest way I can get this accomplished?" seemed to be my default setting whenever I was assigned a task. This usually resulted in me finishing assignments far quicker than my coworkers. But before you think "show off" I'd argue it was actually the exact opposite. I just wanted to finish the stuff I didn't like doing quickly, so I could spend more time doing the things I actually enjoyed, like talking to the hockey players, or eavesdropping on scouts' conversations in the stands.

This ability resulted in several quick promotions, and suddenly a 15 year old was running entire hockey tournaments for the organization. It was there that I realized that while sports may profess to be on the cutting edge of technology and progressive thinking, the reality is that most aspects of the sports industry lag well behind. As I grew older I started seeing patterns of things that annoyed me, or I thought could be done more efficiently to provide a better experience for the customer and organization. There's perhaps no sector that's more of an old boys club that leans on the mantra of "that's how it's always been done" than sports. Tired of constantly doing mundane duties that I knew could be executed 10x faster and 10x better, I eventually began my own business, Dynes Sports Management, to test my ideas.

Fast forward a few years and suddenly the business had a thriving sports league and coaching division, has a digital media arm with a podcast network, video and sports photography branch, and more. The journey wasn't always linear (more on that below), but it was definitely worth it.

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

Like most start ups, the initial hurdles for Dynes Sports were cashflow related. How do you acquire clients, how do you scale, how do you run programs when you don't have unlimited reserves of cash to keep you afloat through the lean months?

Fortunately I was able to work several jobs simultaneously in the beginning to pay the bills and put food on the table. By positioning Dynes as a side hustle in the early days, I was able to keep the lights turned on, and whatever was leftover at the end of the day I could pour back into the company. Finally in late 2019 we hit a point where the amount of work piling up for Dynes was sufficient enough that I could dive into it full time. Which is why I gave my two weeks notice, fully confident I had made the right choice. My last official day was March 6th 2020.

You already know what happened next...The world shutdown.

The hospitality, food service, and sports industries absolutely took it on the chin during the pandemic. Up in Canada, we went through numerous full scale lockdowns, and sports as we knew it came to a full stop. The funny thing about running a Sports Management company is that you actually need to be able to get athletes in buildings or on fields in order for it to work. Which is why we knew we had to pivot and fast.

We made a full switch to digital and put our chips in the middle of the table. We were either going to survive the pandemic by creating virtual content, or we'd be shutting down the business altogether. Our team did a phenomenal job in rebranding and creating new revenue streams (mostly out of necessity) and before we knew it we had multiple consulting contracts, podcasts, websites and more launched. Projects we had always put on the back burner were suddenly thrust into the spotlight.

The results have been overwhelming and we're thankfully now at a point where we're not just surviving, but actually scaling up operations on the digital side of things (though we're VERY much looking forward to the day where COVID is a thing of the past and can resume normal sports operations).

What books are you currently reading

I usually have 2-3 books on the go at any given time. If I could be paid to lounge around all day and read I would do that in a heartbeat. Most books I choose in an effort to find inspiration or answer a nagging question that's been bouncing around my head for some time. Currently I'm reading "Bowling Alone" by Robert D. Putnam which chronicles how social circles have essentially crumbled and how face to face interactions need to be rebuilt (frighteningly this was written prior to the invention of social media). The book was actually the inspiration to launch the Dynes Social Club which we'll be debuting in 2022. I'm also reading "Atomic Habits" by James Clear, and "The Sports Gene" by David Epstein.

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

Get used to hearing the word "No" early and often, especially if you've got ambitions to launch your own company someday. Whether it's from a bank turning down your funding request, a potential client, a supplier, whomever, you're going to get a lot more rejections than approvals in the early stages.

Most businesses fail not because the person running them is inept (though there are certainly some that would fall into this category), but because the owner has finally hit a wall mentally and physically. It's exhausting hearing No all the time, and it can take a toll on you. So, whatever you do, be sure that you're 100% invested in the outcome. If you're only half-in then I can all but guarantee you that somewhere between the 50th and 500th "No" you hear, you'll pack it in. But if you're truly passionate about something, it gives you the fuel to weather the onslaught of rejections until you start making some progress. And once you do, buckle up because you need to be ready to seize your opportunity when it's finally presented.

Social Media:

Instagram: @dynessports

Twitter: @JKyleSkinner

Podcast: The Dynes Sports Podcast -


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