JT Barnett: Athlete to Agent

AJ Winter
5 min readMay 9, 2022

From professional hockey to now running multiple businesses, JT Barnett has quite the range of experience at 29 years old. Unofficially the first Tik Tok Advisor, JT works directly with brands to develop their strategy and put them in front of their target consumers. After successful endeavors in health and wellness content, and some trial and error in the business world, JT stepped into his unique ability for content creation and brand building. I was humbled by the chance to learn more about a dude who breeds such creativity.

Desert heat is all he knows being born in Los Angeles and spending a chunk of his childhood in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was able to fight the heat by spending his time in ice rinks. Hockey is an integral part of his youth, being on skates as early as 5. His father being a former hockey player turned agent, JT’s sights were set on a similar path. At 15 years old he moved to Canada to compete in semi-professional hockey, which proved to be a much different experience than the average high schooler.

Hockey wasn’t the only thing on JT’s mind. He recalled being heavily into the arts in his early years. This ranged from things like music and instruments, clothing and photography, and being a 90’s baby drew him to the early days of the internet. His sport took much of his focus, but he tried not to neglect his other interests.

At 20 years old, JT went pro and participated in the minor leagues. I asked him what the title of this chapter in his life would be. His answer struck a chord: “Be multi-faceted.” Hockey was his passion. He trained as often as he humanly could and enjoyed the relationships he built along the way. The idea of professionalism and dedicating yourself to a craft was a valuable lesson he learned from a sport in which nothing was promised. But something was missing.

“There’s nothing glamorous about minor league hockey.”

He was making around $500 a week while putting in maximum hours. On his off days, JT experimented with clothing, making music, and other video content for fun. I sense that’s what gave him the energy needed to stay dialed in during long seasons. But he felt that the sport didn’t have much space for individuality, and it became no longer worth continuing. He moved back to California at 25 with the decision to create full time.

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AJ Winter

Creative writer. Telling you a story to guide your personal growth. Ohio State Alum