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FMI Alumni of the Month – Robyn Baldwin

Robyn Baldwin is a self branded Alpha Female™. She is a Sr. Integrated Marketing Manager for Kobo. In addition to a full time career she is a former CFL cheerleader and fitness competitor. Robyn is also a published fitness model and freelance magazine writer, an eBook author, a future best selling author, a FitFluential brand ambassador and a sponsored athlete with Magnum Nutraceuticals. Having a passion for fitness, Robyn loves running, she coached beginner runners at a specialty run store in Toronto. She also holds a spin instructor & personal trainer certifications. She’s a practicing yogi for over 10 years and is now in a competitive obstacle course racer tackling the world of OCRs.

She completed her Honours in Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing in 2005 and found a passion in Advertising.  She found the psychology of consumer behaviour fascinating and pursued a career in Media (the strategic, analytical side of Advertising) for 9 years. In 2013, she made the move “client side” to an amazing company and is now the Sr. Integrated Marketing Manager at Kobo.

Robyn craves being busy and began her fitness journey over 5 years ago when she started the process of training for fitness competitions in February of 2009. She is a fan of women in the gym who embrace lifting weights, attacking obstacle course races in every spare minute and fascinated with the nutritional side of health. She researched and trained for a slew of fitness competitions in the Fall of 2009 learning as she went. She successfully competed in 5 competitions on the same year and got hooked. Competed in 2 competitions in 2010, 2 in 2011 and 1 in 2013. She slowly started embracing running after trying a 5K in 2007 and then a 10K in 2011 before entering more races in 2013 and onward. As a runner she has run in (2) 5K races, (4) 10Ks, (1) 15K, a snowshoe race and tackled her first half marathon, SeaWheeze in 2013. As an obstacle course racer she has run many races including; Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Mud Hero, Spartan Race, X Man Race, Dead End Race, Polar Hero & Polar Rush.

1. Do you describe yourself as an Alpha Female, runner, yogi, and an athlete? Have you always been as active as you are now? What and/who inspired your decision to live a healthy and fit lifestyle?

I was active from a young age as a ballerina and a swimmer. In high school I stayed busy teaching swimming, life guarding and dancing in school musicals. In University I was active in the dance club and danced in musicals. In my last year of school I became a CFL cheerleader with the Hamilton Ti-Cats. After graduating and moving to Toronto I was also an Argo cheerleader which kept me fit and active. When I started working full-time and focusing on my career my health and fitness declined. I started noticing that I was becoming skinny fat from poor food choices, late nights in the office and a lot of work stress. My decision in 2009 to become healthy came when I realized I was burnt out. I had no energy, I wasn’t happy with how I looked and I was receiving comments from people that I was gaining weight. My decision to become “fit” was purely vain and aesthetic based. I started a boot-camp workout and wanted to train and compete in fitness competitions. However my “fit” journey quickly became a health journey vs solely fitness as I started learning about the science behind nutrition. I learned how to clean eat, lift weights in the gym and adopt healthy habits such as water consumption and sleeping 8 hours. As I trained for fitness competitions, I learned about vitamins and supplements and started optimizing my health. A byproduct of training was having to learn how to schedule my workouts before or after work. From there I learned how to handle many projects again as I had in my younger years. When I started taking on more extra curricular activities like blogging, fitness modeling and freelance writing, a coworker called me an Alpha Female. I self branded myself as such and have been building my personal brand on the title ever since. Since 2013, I’ve discovered I love running, I have a yoga practice and now I’ve hung up my stripper heels & bling bikinis from my days as a competitor to train and compete in obstacle course racing. So really I have to thank a photographer and a former boyfriend for making comments on my weight which propelled me on this amazing journey. One moment in time and two comments changed my course. I love the journey I’m on and wouldn’t have it any other way.

2. What did you dream your fitness career would be 5 years ago vs. what it has become today?

My dream fitness career 5 years ago was to be ripped all the time, making money gracing the cover of fitness magazines and having my very own fitness DVD. After just a few years it’s evolved to be more complimentary to my passions. When I first attended FMI I was working in the advertising industry and as much as I loved it I wasn’t passionate about my work. I was trying to figure out how to leave the advertising world that had caused so many unhealthy habits early in my career. As I created a life that I loved through work life balance I grew my Alpha Female brand to show how I was able to adapt healthy habits despite a full time work schedule. I was gaining energy as my health became a priority. I was able to be productive at the office and started climbing the media agency ladder. After a fitness retreat in March 2013 that inspired me to go after a dream marketing job I landed it a month later. I became the Integrated Marketing Manager at Kobo the eReading company in Canada. As an Alpha Female I evolved personally to find passion in a corporate career while embracing balance, adventure, health and love in all aspects of my life. Today I’m established as a fitness blogger, freelance writer, fitness model and brand ambassador. All things I can do in my “spare” time outside of the office. I truly have 2 careers as a marketer and fitness personality and it’s a great fit for me. Today my career quest is about taking my love of writing as a blogger and freelance writer to become a best selling author. I want to share some of my learned life wisdom and tips for leading an amazing and happy life. I would like to reach more people than my current blog & social media can.

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3. As a fitness blogger and brand ambassador you have worked with companies like Magnum Nutraceuticals, Mizuno Running Canada, Cedar Juices, 23 Degree Roastery, Leon's, and Sport Chek. How do you get these big companies to hire you to do product reviews and how do you become a paid fitness blogger?

When I was first building my personal brand I created a media kit and ambassador pitch. I figured out what my point of difference would be as a blogger. I am an Alpha Female who has two careers and I write about my personal journey in health & fitness. I share Sunday meal prep ideas that keep me organized during the week. I feature book reviews that keep me entertained or educated. I share adventures that I do like crossing outdoor activities off my bucket lists and race recaps from road, trail or obstacle course races. I have been asked over the years to do fitness studio reviews or product reviews so the content has slowly grown on my site and are easily found by other companies. My content always covers how I’m leading a full life with experiences or products/services that enrich my life. I was also diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on Dec 2, 2014 so as I write this within less than a year my personal brand has also evolved to show how I am managing my auto-immune disease from a holistic health perspective alongside everything else. In the beginning I would email companies I would like to work with and pitch them on product reviews. Now I’m fielding emails and requests from companies. Everything that I accept is something that I already love or fits into my life. Mizuno Canada & Magnum Nutraceuticals were the first companies I emailed offering my services as an ambassador with a written agreement on what I would offer in exchange for product. With Cedar Juices I have tried their juice cleanse, love it so can genuinely recommend it as an affiliate marketer. With Leon’s Furniture they were hosting a yoga event that inspired people to find their zen with yoga and with design. It was a great event that I would’ve attended without being paid to so it was easy to accept an agreement to promote the event. With Sport Chek I’ve worked with their PR company several times to bring awareness to certain advertising campaigns that are in market. With 23 Degree Roastery I’ve become an ambassador for a coffee company that I was already purchasing myself. Becoming a brand ambassador should be seamless and always a fit with your personal brand. When you have a well defined personal brand it’s easy for companies to know how to reach out. Becoming a paid fitness blogger is as simple as devising your media kit rates up front so that companies can be made aware of your rates from the start. These can range from accepting annual contracts to monetary reimbursement for blog or social media posts.

4. You’re working on a full-length novel called “Love Lost, Life Found” can you tell us more about it? How did the idea of writing a self-help book come about?

I was engaged to be married in August 2012. I was in a very toxic relationships where I was supporting someone dealing with serious mental illness and depression. I was going through the motions to get married while losing myself in the relationship. After calling off my wedding one month before the big day I learned to love myself again, I learned to live again and through therapy and what I call my happiness journey I found a life I love. Over the past three years I’ve read a lot of self development books, gone to therapy, found what activities have brought me happiness, how I am in control of my feelings and how I grew over a simple few years to love my life. My goal by writing a full length book is to help at least one woman leave a toxic relationship or heal after leaving one and find a happy life. The book is part therapy for me to get my story out but also just made sense to write when I've been able to put so many little things into practice and lead such a fulfilled life after a few short years.

5. What sort of advice can you advice to those who want to start to focus on their dreams and build their own personal brand?

It depends on your personality but sometimes it’s best just to jump. I jumped into blogging and adapted as I went. You don’t have to know everything to get started. You are allowed to educate yourself and evolve as you go but you do have to start somewhere. Always be true to how you want to feel in your pursuit of dreams and if it doesn’t feel good then re-evaluate and move on. As you build your personal brand please always be genuine and authentic and your tribe will grow organically from there.

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6. If you were to explain FMI to someone who could benefit from it, how would you describe FMI and what it did for you?

FMI is a forum for inspiration, practical tools and installs a fire in you to execute your dreams. Because I have a business schooling background it was easy for me to grasp certain concepts and skills being taught. The way that FMI has evolved from a fitness model summit to an “MBA” for fitness professionals is amazing. The sessions give you practical how to steps to implement things for your personal brand and business. The attendees and speakers are like minded and will provide need inspiration for kicking your butt into gear and getting things done. FMI taught me to dream more. FMI taught me there is a community that I can learn from and seek advice and support from. FMI let me give back last year by sharing my personal branding knowledge with the attendees and is evolving my brand as a speaker. You don’t get just one thing out of FMI. For me FMI is a trampoline that allows you to get higher in your quest as a fitness professional.

7. Can you give us your top 5 tips for getting maximum reach for your brand?

Be Genuine & Authentic. Focus on the social media platforms you enjoy using. You don’t need to be on every single one. Prioritize and cut if necessary. For example, I’m not a video person so I have stopped using YouTube.

Focus on reciprocity – Comment and like other like minded individual's posts so you can become discoverable by a larger audience.

Cross promote other fitness individuals to tap into other tribes.
While social media and a website are the core parts to a brand growing an engaged email newsletter list is important for monetizing products & services.

Use hashtags (but not too many) On Twitter & Instagram to become discoverable. Participate in Twitter chats to grow your audience and join Ambassador networks such as FitFluential to expand your audience & ability to work with companies.

8. For future reference, how can future clients contact you through internet for more information about you and your book?

You can pop over to RobynBaldwin.com and use the Contact Us Form to reach me.

9. Any shout outs?

Thank you to my sponsors Magnum NutraceuticalsMizuno Canada and 23 Degrees Roastery for ongoing support and love.

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