Goal Digger Episode 004: Starting a Movement and Fostering Community with Natalie Franke

Jenna Kutcher 

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November 21, 2016



Tune in as Natalie Franke, co-founder of the Rising Tide Society shares how she started the community over competition movement and grew the attention of tens of thousands in a few short months. Natalie redefines what real community looks like, shares the shortcomings of navigating new territory, and shares the #1 biggest thing that her movement has done in the life of one of its members. Community over competition isn’t just a hashtag, it’s a movement with a heart that embraces real community. Don’t miss out on her free “5 Ways to Grow Your Tribe Online” guide that leads to genuine community offline as well.


Show Notes

Natalie Franke Hayes is a photographer, educator, speaker, and Founder of the Rising Tide Society. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Visual Studies and a concentration in Visual Neuroscience and the Psychology of Seeing. Natalie lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her high school sweetheart and serves as the Head of Community for HoneyBook.

Natalie first fell in love with entrepreneurship when she was younger working in a hair salon, loving the ability to make people feel loved and relaxed. She had the opportunity to see women running their own schedules, with their own clients, and enjoying working with each other (0:56).

The “spark” she got from this experience led her to photography, as she started doing weddings to pay for school. By the time she had graduated, her business had grown to a full-time venture (2:30).

Natalie shares that the entrepreneurial journey had also become very isolating, with hours at a time spent alone at the computer (2:57).

“Before I knew it, I was completely burnt out; I felt alone” (3:11)

She was spending her days comparing herself to other people on Instagram, instead of being grateful for what she was doing in her business. As a result, she felt like her business started to mean nothing (3:18).

“The only people that would really understand what you’re going through as a creative, are those who have also walked that path” (4:45)

She formed The Rising Tide Society to enable people to be more fulfilled, and in part, so others could feel what she had felt when with a true community of like-minded people (5:00).

Natalie adds that The Rise Tide Society members not only have shared similarities, but also differences that can contribute to the group (7:25).

“We empowered others to step up and lead and I think that was sort of the beauty of it” (7:54)

Today, people are filled with a lot of self-doubt and are they are struggling with the feeling of not being “enough” (9:10). Natalie admits that she also has struggled with comparing herself to others and feeling this way (11:10).

She believes that the key is to reveal the honest bits of yourself online and have the courage to share your real heart (12:20).

Natalie believes that a big mistake a lot of us make is pouring everything we have into others or our business, and not setting aside time for our own self-care (13:37).

“It’s the idea of putting your own oxygen mask on first on the airplane if it’s going down. If you don’t give yourself oxygen, you can’t help anyone else” (14:28)

She notes that it’s not about the amount of time you allot for your self-care, but it’s the intention behind it (16:21).

Technology today has added to our insecurities and something we rely on daily (17:52).

“Real relationships are hard; they involve struggle (and) they involve depth” (18:17)

Her community is now nearing 40,000 members after forming only a little over a year ago, and Natalie looks at it as her family. Like a real family, everyone doesn’t always agree with each other, but she says this is way makes it real (20:14).

“Love people is a choice and it’s an action; it’s not so much as just posting a hashtag” (21:57)

One of her mottos for the group is “community over competition”, which she says is against how most people tell you to build a business (27:24).

Natalie’s advice for someone that isn’t feeling connected is to get uncomfortable! By sharing personal bits of her own life that make her uncomfortable with others, more connections occur happen (24:40).

“Building relationships in this wild, crazy world that we live in, you have to be able to put your heart on the line” (25:35)

She also says that you should find your “tribe”; a group of people that you feel at home with (25:45). By having those tough conversations, it will open the door to real relationship and real friendships (26:13).

Natalie shares that it’s important to reach out to others, and that it’s ok if you don’t always get a reply as she’s been turned down often (27:17). If you have the courage to send that email and be vulnerable, she says that people will often surprise you in a positive way (27:47).

She thinks you should always reach out from a perspective of serving others (30:40).

“Community isn’t so much as what you get out of it, it’s what you put into it”

The biggest challenge she faces in her community is the “people stuff”; the insecurities and fears that people bring to the table. With the Internet, people will say things online that they often wouldn’t say in person, which is why she values the in-person events so much (33:00).

She is most proud of the moments when she realizes the real impact that she’s had on individuals (35:00).

“For all of us, the greatest reward is recognizing that our giving freely of our hearts makes an impact on someone else’s life” (37:05)

Natalie notes that life isn’t about how much money you make, but more about genuinely living into a calling that serves other people (37:45).







Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

“Connected, but alone?”  (Sherry Turkle TED Talk)


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  1. Lilly Cristy says:

    Literally crying at work. So sweet to see more of the heart behind RTS. THANK YOU Natalie and thank you Jenna!!

    It is so sweet to see more women with such a kind, empathetic spirit! SO inspiring!!

  2. Brittany says:

    Love how you both communicate — it’s like listening to two girlfriends chatting over coffee who are girl bosses & inspiring. Can’t wait for more podcasts.



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A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

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