Rising Tide Was Born Out of Loneliness

This is a two part series on the history of Rising Tide Society. Read part two →.

The Rising Tide Society (RTS) began in 2015 when two Maryland couples – Natalie and Hugh Hayes and Krista and Davey Jones – gathered a small group of local photographers together in Annapolis, Maryland so that for just one day they could lean away from seeing each other as competitors and instead focus on a collaborative connection.

“Rising Tide was born out of loneliness.” Co-Founder Natalie Franke

For just an hour or two, the small business owners in the room were able to connect in the shared identity that is entrepreneurship – the isolation of working on side hustles and dreams and trying to keep up with the obligations of things like contracts, taxes, and less-creative and sometimes-overwhelming areas. For just an hour or two, they were together in a room with people who “get it.”

Riding the wave

Over the next several years, RTS grew rapidly into a community with hundreds of local, regional in-person chapters across the world as well as a virtual home with more than 75,000 small business owners.

Graphic overview of key events in Rising Tide history from 2015's first meeting with founders, to growing to a community of over 75K, popular hashtags, and the ultimate pause in 2020 due to the pandemic

Local and virtual meetings happened with a vast array of educational topics related to business ownership. Monthly “TuesdaysTogether” gatherings hosted by volunteer chapter leaders took place in the form of speaker-led meetups, coworking opportunities, content creation days, and other types of events.

Hashtags like “#CommunityOverCompetition” and “#MakeWavesMonday” took over social media as the community’s brand recognition and momentum grew.

A pandemic pause

Like all other areas of life, RTS in-person gatherings came to a halt between 2020 and 2022, although the community continued to nurture thousands of small business owners with creative educational resources and new virtual connections.

These years also brought to the foreground the importance of creating and maintaining a strong hybrid and accessible space long term so that all members could always be a part of Rising Tide wherever and however they could join.

This was just the beginning. 

Read part two: An Exciting Restart for Rising Tide →

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