November 14, 2019
Today we’re welcoming the one and only Natalie Franke to the podcast. This episode is going to blow your mind, fire you up, and probably make you cry (in the best way possible).
Natalie Franke is an entrepreneur, mobilization marketer, community builder, and neuroscience nerd.
As one of the founders of the Rising Tide Society and the Head of Community at HoneyBook, she leads tens of thousands of creatives and small business owners while fostering a spirit of community over competition around the world. In today’s interview we chat with Natalie about her story of pivoting from a wildly successful wedding photography business into founding an entire movement, The Rising Tide Society, and how that led her to join forces with the company HoneyBook – which we talk ALL about because we love so much. Natalie goes in depth on how she dealt with running a successful business while dealing with health issues. She shares her story with such vulnerability and grace that she had me us TEARS. Her story is SO powerful and we know it’s going to touch your hearts so much. Natalie talks all about how to find the intersection between your qualifications and passions and people’s needs – and she gives tangible practical takeaways on how to do that. Seriously we cannot wait for you to listen to this episode. Natalie is going to bless your ears, make you not feel so alone, and ignite you to rise up and own who you were made to be. You ready for ALL that? Then Heart and Hustle fam… meet Natalie Franke.
Natalie was a full time photographer for eight years photographing weddings on the East Coast, West Coast, and beyond. Towards the seven to eight year mark in her business, Natalie recognized that she was living in a pattern of loneliness and feeling really isolated in her space as an entrepreneur. She went on a mission to create a community in her hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. To make a long story short, Natlie cultivated a small community alongside other extraordinary creatives and The Rising Tide Society was born. It started in Annapolis and quickly spread to become a community of over 77,000 creative entrepreneurs hosting meetups in over 400 cities around the world. This journey let her on so many adventures and also connected her with HoneyBook, an extraordinary company she eventually became a part of. Now, she leads Community for HoneyBook alongside supporting Rising Tide.
There was one night in particular that sticks out to Natalie. She was working late (as many of you can relate to) and as the sun set outside she realized she had worked all day in a dark room where the only light was coming from her laptop. As she stared at the glow from her laptop, a thought came barreling through her mind: I am tired of feeling so alone.
The reality was, Natalie never set out to create something massive and never intended to leave wedding photography. At the time, she loved where she was at and had no interest of pivoting. But, she felt the incredible pain point and knew she needed to solve it. She knew if she didn’t build community and couldn’t connect with people, it was going to kill her and her business. She was tired of competing in a space where she needed community.
We shouldn’t be tearing each other down, we really should be raising each other up. The Rising Tide Society was born from that idea. Natalie felt a pain and went out to solve it. It was that simple and it was built on the leadership of the community who were stepping up to make waves.
Sometimes as entrepreneurs we build businesses based on what we want to provide to the world, not necessarily based on the paint points and the needs that exist. Rapid explosion in a creative’s business happens when they find the middle ground between the thing they were uniquely created and qualified to do and the need that exists in the world. It is at that cross section point of their talents and passion and the pain point or problem and the solution they only can provide: that is where we see magic in business. Too many people are not looking for the pain point or problem. Rather, they are just following their passion. If you want to add the word “business” to your “creative” title, it has to be something that solves a problem.
Dig in and really deeply understand what you genius is, what your unique thing that sets you apart is. Before you go searching for the need and pain point you have to have clarity around your superpower.
Dig in to what you enjoy and talk to someone who knows you better than anyone else. Ask them what you are uniquely good at. Sometimes the things we do everyday, the qualities we have, our personality traits, and occasionally the things we take for granted or don’t even like about ourselves are genius to other people. All it takes is one person unlocking this and giving us perspective to allow us to see it.
There are so many pain points, so many needs, and so many struggles. All you have to do is listen.
If you already have an audience, customers, or a platform then you need to be serving them. Get quantitative data on their pain points. Go to the places your ideal audience is going to and figure out what questions they are asking and what complaints they have. If you can go to a place where people are asking questions and communicating about what they are going through, there is a gold mine of problems and needs just waiting for you to solve.
HoneyBook is a proactive platform that helps business owners streamline and automate their workflows. It takes everything about your process from inquiry, booking, and delivery and finds a way to place it into the system. It takes your unique process and optimizes it and takes it all off your plate. This platform is designed to help elevate business owners so that they can spend more time doing what they love and less time on the tasks in their business that exhaust them.
When Natalie was building The Rising Tide Society, HoneyBook heard about all the meetings and wanted to connect. Natalie flew out to San Francisco to host a Tuesdays Together meetup and had a chance to sit with the HoneyBook Team and co founders. Both Natalie and HoneyBook saw a future where people could build a life of passion and purpose and where people were empowering one another to rise together. They wanted to build that world. The Rising Tide Society was doing that through community, educational resources, and cultivating a space where people could find one another. Honeybook was building this reality by providing technology and creating a platform that empowered people to shift the time dynamic and allowed technology to take care of tasks and allow business owners to take care of the aspects that are uniquely human.
HoneyBook and The Rising Tide Society decided to join forces and work to solve that problem together. For the past four years Natalie has been a part of the HoneyBook team helping and supporting from the community side.
The goal is to create an ecosystem where the business owner has the opportunity to thrive and doesn’t have to do it alone.
The first time Natalie picked up a camera, it changed everything for her. The minute she held the camera in her she felt like she could communicate with the outside world for the first time.
She built her business from her senior year of highschool through college and paid her way through Penn by shooting weddings every weekend. After graduation she decided to continue building her photography business and really hit her stride.
People either seek out a pivot in their career or sometimes life gives us a set of circumstances that we didn’t foresee coming and cause a pivot. For Natalie, it was a combination of the two.
In Natalie’s early twenties she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Her brain tumor was located behind where the two optic nerves cross and incredibly close to touching the optic chiasm. This meant if her tumor was to grow and progress there was a chance of partial blindness. Natalie built her entire career on being able to see the world through a lens. There was such a fear of losing everything she had built if she shared this openly with the world.
When she was diagnosed she kept the details very private but when the opportunity to step into a full time role with The Rising Tide Society presented itself, Natalie leaped. She knew that her sight could be taken from her, and should that happen, she wanted to be in a place where she flexed her creative muscles and could do more than just one thing.
Five years after her diagnosis, Natalie had moved to California and was working full time for Rising Tide and HoneyBook. The news came from her neurosurgeon that he felt like it was time to operate. Natalie had the surgery spent the next several months recovering.
Looking back, Natalie can see that her pivot was intentional. The route she took led her to California, an incredible company who had her back throughout her brain surgery, and a community who empowered, encouraged, supported, and taught her that being vulnerable enables other people to do the same.
The pivot in many ways was unforeseen but also meant to be a part of Natalie’s journey all along. Her journey led her to the most extraordinary people that changed her life forever.
Always be open and willing to follow suit to the push you may feel in your heart.
Natalie’s mom always used to say, “You can’t always control what is going to happen to you in life, but you can control how you react to it.” Natalie’s first reaction to her benign tumor was to hide it and not let anyone find out about it. Admitting to brokenness is hard and fear can keep us from speaking our truth and opening up.
The shift came for Natalie as she was about to go through brain surgery. Facing that reality immediately in front of her, she realized she didn’t want the last thing she said to her community to be a lie. She wanted to be able to tell people you can be at the height of your career, be incredibly successful, and also be struggling.
When there are opportunities for honesty and you need the support, community, and ability to connect with other human beings, know that people will surprise you. All of us wear our masks every day because we are so afraid to be honest with the world. We try to hide the true parts of ourselves. We create those masks, build those walls, and we have our facade where everything looks great on the outside. We try to become the people we think other people want us to be. In reality, what people really want is honesty. They want us to just show up as us.
By sharing our stories, when we feel peace and are ready, we have the power to influence, encourage, and inspire others who are going through the same thing. The same thing goes for our businesses. When you live out your purpose in your business you are inspiring others to do the same.
Natalie and her family left California and moved back to Annapolis, had baby Huey, and bought a house but started to feel a different calling. They recently they sold their house, moved in with her in laws, and are now preparing to spend next year on the road driving all over the country.
Natalie continues to love working with HoneyBook and Rising Tide and is in the process of writing a book she feels the world needs. It’s all about how to fight back against a world that is constantly pinning us up against each other.
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The Rising Tide Society: https://www.honeybook.com/risingtide/
WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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