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The Powerful Mindset Shift That Helped Nicky Gathrite Overcome Difficulties and Build An Influencer Economy Leader At Elevate Agency

Nicky Gathrite’s journey has been one of resilience and reinvention. What began humbly in Riverside, California, took him to the University of Texas El Paso on a football scholarship before an injury derailed his athletic dreams. But he pivoted, leveraging social media skills honed in financial advising to break into the burgeoning influencer marketing space.

At just 28 years old, the enterprising entrepreneur co-founded Unruly Agency in Los Angeles with Tara Electra. Launching just weeks before COVID-19 shutdowns, they swiftly secured 10 clients through their combined networking prowess. Nicky founded Elevate Agency, which stands at the forefront of sports and entertainment management and marketing, providing unparalleled expertise, influence, and insights across the diverse digital spectrum.

Nicky advocates an authentic, community-driven approach focused on leveraging niche influencers and brand partnerships—not artificial vanity metrics. His overarching mission is to empower creators to build sustainable personal brands and multimedia businesses.

The Powerful Mindset Shift That Helped Nicky Gathrite Overcome Difficulties and Build An Influencer Economy Leader At Elevate Agency

Journey From Football Field to Marketing Mogul

After a full-ride football scholarship to the University of Texas at El Paso, Nicky’s dream of going pro was thwarted by an ACL tear. “I received a full-ride scholarship to play D1 football at the University of Texas at El Paso,” he says. “Shortly after graduating, my childhood dream of playing professionally was cut short after tearing my ACL while preparing for my professional debut.”

Nicky pivoted to a career as a top financial advisor, acquiring clients through his network and social media presence. “I acquired clients by using my networks and social media. Eventually, people started asking for social media tips, and that opened the door to influencer marketing,” he explains. Spotting an opportunity, Nicky relocated to L.A. at age 28 and co-founded the influential Unruly Agency with Tara Electra.

The Powerful Mindset Shift That Helped Nicky Gathrite Overcome Difficulties and Build An Influencer Economy Leader At Elevate Agency

Tara Electra, Nicky Gathrite

“I worked in wealth management and used my social media platform to share my strategy and advice,” Nicky recalls. “Eventually, my clients started coming to me for social media strategy as well. I decided to quit my wealth management job and moved to L.A. and started building a Rolodex of clients that included lots of up-and-coming companies.” Within two years, Unruly had ascended to work with major brands like Lion Credit Card, Triller, and Tropical Oasis.

Early Career and Founding Journey

Nicky’s entrepreneurial journey began with a serendipitous lunch at the W hotel, leading to the founding of Unruly Agency with Tara Electra. According to him, a pivotal moment contributing to the firm’s growth was “ultimately going with our gut and reaching thousands of clients solely through social media to grow and build out the firms together.”

Elevate Agency and Unruly Agency have been described as cutting-edge firms in sports and entertainment management. “Elevate Agency spotlights the sports and entertainment management arena,” Nicky explains, while “Unruly Agency remains committed to representing models, fostering diversity, and equipping influencers with the necessary tools to flourish in the ever-evolving digital landscape. 

He says both agencies strive for excellence and serve as “catalysts for positive change in their respective industries.”

Sustainability is a pressing concern in the creator economy. To address this, Nicky has taken a strategic approach to wealth management, focusing on influencer marketing to ensure long-term success for his clients. “I would weed through the fluff and fake followers to find the right influencers that will complement the brand’s image and drive sales,” he explains.

Insight into Influencer Marketing

When asked about upcoming trends, Nicky predicts, “A lot of trends that will dominate the space will be short-term videos, TikToks, Instagram reels, YouTube shorts, etc. I can see creators being at the forefront of the media instead of actors, musicians, etc. Content that is authentic, relatable, and more raw will be what users gravitate towards.”

Working with high-profile clients like Tana Mongeau, Charly Jordan, and Chase Demoor requires balancing creative visions with brand objectives. “Understanding the alignment and authenticity between the client and the brand is important in balancing their creative visions,” Nicky explains. “Always maintaining flexibility and open communication with the client as well as the brand together.”

Nicky defines success in this digital space as “the ability to elevate my clients to have a positive impact and influence on the community and the millions of people that follow them.” His insights highlight the nuances of effective influencer marketing that transcends trends and platforms.

The Powerful Mindset Shift That Helped Nicky Gathrite Overcome Difficulties and Build An Influencer Economy Leader At Elevate Agency

Personal Growth and Industry Impact

Reflecting on his transition from college football to influencer marketing veteran, Nicky shares, “The most rewarding aspect of becoming a key player in influencer marketing and talent management is getting to influence other people’s success. Everything happens for a reason, and since I was unable to pursue my own dreams of being an athlete, I was able to use my networking contacts to create an agency that assists creators in building their own brands and get to watch them grow.”

In the fast-paced influencer sphere, Nicky stays ahead by “staying updated, fostering relationships with influencer marketing experts, and actively pursuing opportunities for growth and learning.” His commitment to continuous learning allows him to navigate this constantly evolving landscape.

Looking Forward

According to Nicky, “The greatest opportunities for growth and innovation in the industry lie in leveraging brand partnerships and focusing on niche markets. By specializing in specific niches, influencers can enhance their brand identity and maximize exposure, ultimately driving significant growth. The ability to build a personal brand with a strong community behind it will be what helps set the best above the rest.”

As for his desired legacy, Nicky hopes those following him are “empowered” by his journey and always utilize their network and marketing skills. “[I want] creators to stay true to themselves and not let a bump in the road deter them from pursuing their passion,” he states. “Remember, every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow.”

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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