People have many different definitions for their vision of POWER. I, personally think, that there is nothing more powerful than a strong and amazing woman. Rachel Manning, the owner and founder of Clever Tiger, is just that. Read below to meet the woman behind the machine- and to find out just how she came to be the Clever Tiger we all know and love.
When you were growing up, is this what you pictured doing?
I was an entrepreneur from the beginning. I always had some kind of “business” going. Even playing Legos involved transactions with my little brothers. I’ve got a passion for creating things that are useful to others and help me organize the world better. So while I didn’t specifically see myself running a creative marketing agency, I am certainly not surprised. I worked for other people for a while, but nothing matched the feeling of fulfillment I got from doing my own projects. Working for myself and creating my own company was probably inevitable.
How did you come up with the idea for Clever Tiger? Name/plan/ect?
My fiancé played a huge role in the name. Before we even started dating, he called me Tigerlady thanks to a bad (or great?) fashion choice I made one night when I decided to wear a tiger onesie to a party. The name stuck in our group of friends, and I became known as the Tiger. My burgeoning freelancing career called for a business name, and it happened so naturally. I’m clever, I’m a tiger, I’m Clever Tiger.
Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
There’s been countless inspiring people in my life, but I’ll try to be specific. My dad inspired me to work hard at what you love, so that it becomes the only thing you really have to do. And I did have a favorite teacher, Mrs. Padgett, who helped push me in the direction of creative design and print layout by trusting me as layout manager of the high school newspaper. Without these folks, and many others, I wouldn’t be living my dream right now.
Are tigers your favorite animal?
I truly can’t claim a favorite animal. They’re all wonderful in their own way. But I do identify with tigers the most.
What’s your best advice for small business owners looking to be as cool as you?
As soon as I stopped trying to “fit in” with the business world as I knew it, I watched my career take off. People recognize authenticity when they see it, and will always go with the genuine versus the fake or forced. So the old adage rings true – be yourself and the rest will follow.
Picture your life ten years from now… how do you think CT will have grown?
I’d love to still have the client relationships we have now. Partnering up with determined small businesses and passionate individuals to help them grow their revenue is something I get excited about. So, if these relationships were still going strong in a decade, nothing would make me happier.
Work snacks that keep you fueled up?
Coffee, obviously. I also like having “kid food” at my desk – gummy snacks, cheerios, etc.
When planning for the day ahead, do you have a mantra or any special routine that keeps you feeling focused?
I meditate in the morning to help me make room for all the stuff I have to think about later in the day. I focus on the passion I have for what I do, and stoke the fire a bit. It’s important to give yourself that “mental shampoo” – just take it from Souljah Boy.
What’s your go to karaoke song?
It’s either old Eminem or Amy Winehouse, no in between.
Where did you go to school and what for?
I went to Kennesaw State University, originally for a BFA in Art with a concentration in Graphic Communications. After realizing that it wasn’t exactly what I needed (too many studio classes, not enough technology), I switched over to the Coles College of Business to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. Best decision ever, because now I’m a double-edged sword. A designer with marketing knowledge is a rare breed.
If you could have any superpower for a day, what would you choose and why?
I think I’d like to be a shape-shifter like Mystique. If I could take on any form, I’d be able to gain access to some pretty cool places and people.
What’s your favorite meme?
Are you able to watch TV/listen to music while working?
Depends what I’m working on. If it’s administrative stuff, I definitely like having a story to listen to. It can be the news, a podcast, or a movie I’ve seen a million times. But it’s hard for me to form cohesive sentences while listening to someone else talk or sing. So if it’s creative or requires writing, I prefer mainly instrumental music.
After a long day, whats your favorite way to relax?
I love critters of all shapes and sizes, so if I don’t need any alone time, I’ll gather all my squishy loves together and have couch snacks and snuggle.
What was your dream job compared to where you are now?
No comparison needed. This is my dream job.
Who is your biggest motivator?
My family, without question. They have allowed me to live my dream, and supported me every step of the way. I keep my head up even when it’s tough because I know they believe in me and want me to succeed. Everything I do is to give us the best possible life.
You grew up in the 90’s at the start of the internet. What was your favorite website when you were a kid?
I was a huge fan of https://homestarrunner.com/, which has sadly fallen with the death of Flash. They’re gonna revive it though, just wait.
Did you start out on this CT journey alone or have you had some employees the whole time?
I’m never really alone! I always have an excellent support team, whether they’re officially employed or not. But when Clever Tiger started, it was just me and my fiance on backup. Slowly but surely, we started bringing on others to pitch in as the workload grew.
What is your favorite quote?
I usually hate these questions – they’re so trite. But there’s a quote from Henry Ford that pops into my head sometimes, and always resonates. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
What’s your catchphrase?
Weird is good.
Finally, what does your ideal workday look like?
I get up at 7 and spend an hour preening before catching a ride into the office. When I get to downtown Woodstock, someone hands me a breakfast sandwich and a coffee. I jump into Asana and knock out some tasks, then grab lunch somewhere I can walk to. I get back to my desk, chat with some of my favorite clients, and finish the rest of the day’s to-do list. After 6, I start working on my “dessert” projects, the fun ones I’ve saved as a reward for a productive day. I wrap it up about 7 or 8, and fly home to my critters. Repeat.
Clever Tiger is a name you trust and love, and now you know the power and beauty behind the woman who created it all. Don’t be afraid to become powerful yourself, and live your dreams. They are never unattainable, and Rachel Manning is proof that you can be the queen or king you’ve always wanted to be.
“The mere fact of being able to call your job your passion is success in my eyes.” — Alicia Vikander