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Female Founder Friday: Natalie Franke

I look forward to Female Founder Fridays, because I cannot wait to introduce another woman entrepreneur and spotlight her startup story in an honest way. My goal is to create a place where women of every age, color, background, and education can come for the inspiration to take their ideas and build them into companies.

I am SO excited to have Natalie Franke share her journey as a the female founder of  the Rising Tide Society! She is another example of a woman seeing and need and doing something about it. The Rising Tide Society strives to help creatives and entrepreneurs create community instead of competition. Ladies it is a huge, powerful, and positive movement/community! I’ve absolutely wondered if I’m creative enough to join!

So, if you’re a woman who has noticed a need or a gap and have an idea that would fill it, don’t miss Natalie’s story and advice below.

What inspired you to create your community?

In 2015, over a glass of wine and an honest dinner conversation, we started to ask whether there was a better way to run a business. After months of struggling to survive in a cutthroat business environment, we placed our insecurities on the table and the Rising Tide Society was born.
We launched twelve coffee-style meetings that quickly grew to one hundred, to two hundred, to over three hundred meetings that now span the world. Our vision was to break down barriers by getting people in person to build meaningful relationships… our hope was to ensure that no entrepreneur ever had to build a business alone.

What was your biggest obstacle and failure in going from idea to business?

When we launched the Rising Tide Society, we had no idea that it would spread so quickly. Growth became our greatest obstacle. I was a full time wedding photographer at the time with 39 events that year and my co-founders ran a successful design business.
We weren’t sure what to do in order to create a sustainable community because, as a team, we all refused to monetize the movement. We didn’t want to create barriers to entry for the free content we were providing or the TuesdaysTogether gatherings (fees, memberships, etc.) that were spanning the globe.
So we started by seeking out sponsors at different companies that serve the creative industry and I compare it to how my friends describe dating on Tinder. You have a ton of options, you’re never sure what you’re truly going to get, and there is no guarantee that a certain relationship will be the right fit. When we met the team at HoneyBook, it was clear from the very beginning that we wanted to build a lasting partnership. We found a company that wholeheartedly believed in our mission and wanted to cultivate community within the creative industry.

What’s Next?

There are big things on the horizon—We’re planning a Summit this spring that will serve as the catalyst for a massive amount of free content for the community. We have launched a Creative Council to champion camaraderie in a divisive world and strive to create avenues for RTS to raise the tide. We’re also building technology to revolutionize the creative industry… but more on that in the months to come! 😉

Please share your best piece of advice for aspiring female founders.

Have the courage to be vulnerable. The Rising Tide Society didn’t grow rapidly because of a catchy hashtag or strategic marketing—it grew because when people come together vulnerably, barriers are broken. Over the past year, we’ve seen that the same issues that divide women online offer a unique opportunity to also unite them.

If you’re leading a company, a brand, a business—start walking in the direction of vulnerability and you may be surprised by by just how many others will want to be a part of it.

If you had a theme song what would it be?

These days, I’m really digging Maggie Rogers song “Alaska” because it’s the perfect blend of: uplifting, emotional, and water-related. If you haven’t heard it… you must give it a listen!

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