As a “millennial” I often find myself sitting in my cubicle, staring out the window daydreaming about all the possibilities that exist outside of this office… outside of corporate America. I find myself dilly dallying by the coffee pot, trying to milk some extra time away from my desk by scrolling through Instagram. My feed is littered with people working for themselves that are traveling the world with flawlessly toned and airbrushed bodies. I click my phone off and head back to my cell until 5PM when I am released. I finally can breath as I race home. When I get home, I pop open my laptop and phone and work ceaselessly on my own business until around 2AM. By the time I crawl into bed I only have a few precious hours of rest before my alarm clock screams like a warden for me to get back to the office. I am just one of many who identify as a full time employee as well as an entrepreneur. The ultimate goal for many of us who fall under this category is to break free, to take their income into their own hands, be able to work from anywhere they’d like, and most importantly to find a way for their side hustle to become their full time adventure. As a freelancer or entrepreneur it can be difficult to find your way. There is no road map, no blueprint, no trail of breadcrumbs to follow.
This is where the Rising Tide Society shines like a beacon in the dark, answering many of our calls for help. The Rising Tide Society is a world-wide group of entrepreneurs that believe in community over competition. What began as a dream between a few friends, for a supportive community in the entrepreneur world, quickly caught fire and became a reality. It started as just one a small meet up over coffee in Annapolis, but as creatives across the country began to catch wind of this movement, they wanted in. From its small roots, the Rising Tide Society quickly began to grow, adding chapters all across the country within the first couple months of existence.
I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to interview one of the founders of the Rising Tide Society and Head of Community at Honeybook, Natalie Franke. In this interview Natalie generously offered her wisdom by sharing some advice and insight into the life of a successful entrepreneur. Although I may seem calm and collected sharing about it now, I have to admit, before starting the interview, I was so nervous I thought I might actually swallow my tongue. My mind was racing with so many thoughts - What if Natalie thinks my questions are stupid?… What if I stumble on my words?... But all of these doubts quickly dissipated after Natalie’s warm greeting. I was amazed by the kindness and genuine warmth that exuded from her notably inspirational presence. After speaking with her for just a few minutes, it was easy to see how her charismatic personality could lead a community of hundreds of thousands of creatives across the globe.
The words of wisdom that Natalie shared with me that morning are something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
“Never make choices out of fear, make choices out of the potential that exists.” Natalie said. "Society tells us how and what to be as women and I love to challenge that... to say you know, this is what I want for my life and I’m going to build it.”
I could start to feel a fire lighting in my heart. With butterflies in my stomach, thinking of my own future, I asked Natalie, “What do you think are the most influential contributors to your success?”
Natalie was able to break it down to three core values:
1.) Faith because her faith has always been able to guide her.
2.) Empathy because if you can identify with the pain points of your audience, you will not only connect but you will be able to create products that solve these problems for your audience!
3.) Gratitude because being grateful for what you have is important to survival, even when life can seem impossibly hard, there’s always a reason to keep going and a reason to be thankful.
To anyone who feels like they’re in a rut, to anyone who is thinking of taking the leap, in Natalie’s words, “refuse to give up. There are going to be a lot of people that tell you, you can’t - don’t listen to them. There’s a lot of things I wouldn’t have done, had I listened to them… There are so many beautiful ideas that never see the light of day because they listen to the people that say you can’t. Do it for the benefit of you and the women that come after you.
“You’re stronger than you think you are, and you’re allowed to break the rules. I had this idea in my head of who I was supposed to be, of what I was supposed to be… I felt like becoming a creative was somehow breaking the rules, that it was somehow something I wasn’t ‘supposed’ to do.”
It takes courage to step away from what you think you’re “supposed” to do, and pursue what you’re actually meant to do.
The last jewel that Natalie left me with was to really think about the impact you want to make. “You have to think about the greater purpose for your work… that is the ultimate legacy you leave behind.”
Entrepreneurship can be hard, intimidating, and lonely, but with the support of a community and a little bit of bravery, anything you set your mind to is possible. Starting a business means long nights, phases of burnout, growing up before you feel ready, and a constant state of being unsure what will come next.
But what I can tell you is that it’s worth every all-nighter. It’s worth the weekends spent at home working. It’s worth the sacrifices... because at the other end of the shore is the unlimited possibility of your future, the possibility to have an impact and make a difference in this world.
"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."