Today on RAW with the Landlocked Mermaid I’m talking with none other than author, community builder, neuroscience nerd, and mama bear for small businesses, Natalie Franke. As one of the founders of the Rising Tide community, the Chief Evangelist at HoneyBook, and author of Built to Belong, she leads tens of thousands of independent business owners while fostering a spirit of community over competition around the world which means she has a LOT to offer in the way of words of wisdom.
Community wasn’t always something that Natalie had, so she created it. She shares her feelings of isolation and frustration with the status quo as an entrepreneur that ultimately led to the founding of Rising Tide. We also dive deep into her personal journey, from her childhood feelings of needing to be perfect to fertility struggles and motherhood, imposter syndrome, and the fear of external perception that made her keep a brain tumor diagnosis a secret for 5 years.
These experiences and the healing work she’s done have led Natalie to be gutsy, not perfect. This episode will inspire you to come forward more boldly, honestly, and transparently and make sure that you are not the one standing in the way of your dreams.
Community Over Competition
One thing that most of us didn’t expect about entrepreneurship is how lonely it can feel at times. My experience of this as a photographer led me to found Evolve Workshops to connect with others in my industry. Natalie had a similar experience. Even though her business was succeeding, she didn’t feel like a success. She didn’t have anyone to be vulnerable with about the realities of business ownership.
Unfortunately, being isolated and lonely has become the status quo for solopreneurs and business owners. As has feelings of “not enough” and the need to cut down our competitors in order to succeed.
For Natalie, “the way it’s always been” wasn’t good enough, and ultimately she co-founded Rising Tide to counteract this culture. Rising Tide sparked the #communityovercompetition movement and has now cultivated communities worldwide with the idea that a rising tide can lift all boats.
Fear of External Perception
I love hearing the backstories of my fellow entrepreneurs, and I found myself relating on many levels with Natalie’s upbringing. She describes herself as a very inquisitive child, a trait her family helped her see as a superpower. Like me, she was raised by a single mom, and she used to think a lot about what others thought of her.
We talk about how, as business owners, our inner traits tend to manifest in our business. Natalie shared how the increasing pressures of business exacerbated her fear of external perception.
Ultimately, this caused her to keep her diagnosis of a brain tumor a secret for 5 years. She would even bring second and third shooters to weddings in case she could not shoot, but she never openly shared the reason for this.
Natalie’s brain surgery was an ending, a new beginning, and a major turning point in her life. It started the process of becoming vulnerable and dropping the facade of perfection.
“It created the opportunity to come forward more boldly, more honestly, and more transparently. It was a transformation of my heart.”
We talk about how everyone’s trauma varies, but we all care about how we are perceived in one way or another. Navigating the fear of what other people think is one of the key learning journeys she has personally gone through – and is still going through.
“I’d rather show up as myself every single day than spend a life more afraid of their opinions. The opinion that matters most is how YOU feel about YOU.”
Motherhood & Fertility
Natalie is blessed with two miracle babies, and we talk a little bit about her motherhood and fertility journey. When she went through fertility treatment for her second child and the methods that worked the first time weren’t working anymore, they reached the point where IVF was the only option left.
Natalie knew she needed support during this time of her life and started going to therapy. What was surprising is that instead of talking about fertility, her sessions ended up being all about unpacking her childhood.
One of the many lessons of motherhood is that it illuminates what we need to work on ourselves. When she eventually got pregnant, that’s when she decided that she needed to keep doing the work on herself.
It’s so easy to be afraid of going through the process of healing. But alongside this fear, we must acknowledge the result of NOT doing the healing. Then ask yourself – am I fearing the wrong thing?
Imposter Syndrome Is a Lie
Natalie is a firm believer that Imposter Syndrome is a lie. It perpetuates competitiveness in an unhealthy way and holds us back from our own growth and success and connection.
She shares how it took until her 30s to realize that she could suck at something. There were things she hadn’t even allowed herself to try because she knew she might not be good at them.
Her advice? Start something new… it’s ok to be terrible at it.
“Be willing to love yourself enough, to heal from the painful parts of your past that made you feel like if you’re not good enough you can’t try. The feeling that if you’re not going to do it perfectly you shouldn’t do it at all. That healing has changed everything.”
We talk about how this manifests in hiring, with women in particular not applying for jobs unless they meet every single qualification. Men don’t have this problem. We have to push past that feeling of imposter syndrome and acknowledge instead that our experience is valuable and move forward anyway.
I’ll leave you with this last piece of advice Natalie wanted to share with our listeners.
Pay attention to how you speak to yourself. Pay attention to the opportunities you haven’t gone after. Make sure you are not the one standing in your own way. Finally, surround yourself with other people that want to see you win.
Connect with Natalie Franke
Natalie has many exciting things on the horizon! Stay tuned for the Independent Business Podcast launching in April. Her book Gutsy: Learning to Live with Bold, Brave, and Boundless Courage comes out in August and you can preorder it now. You can also find her on Tiktok at @smallbiznatalie and Instagram at @nataliefranke.
Did we mention Natalie is also the Chief Evangelist at Honeybook? Try Honeybook and use our special for you code to get 50% off your first year!