Making Friends at FinCon: Why You Should Go Next Year
Happy Friday friends! If you’ve been reading much this week in the PF space, you’ll know that FinCon 13 – the Financial Blogger Conference was this past week in St. Louis. If you’re not a personal finance blogger you might be tempted to think that it sounds a bit like a gathering of nerds, and well…you’d be right!
FinCon is an annual personal finance blogging conference that celebrated its third year this year. I was encouraged to learn that the attendance has doubled every year with this year’s attendance weighing in at around 500 personal finance bloggers as well as representatives from various affiliates, financial companies and the like.
Being the PF blogger that I am, Mrs. Frugal Rules and I made the drive to St. Louis as it’s only about a six hour drive from our abode here in Omaha. Thanks to our trusty Altima, we were able to make it there and back for less than what it would’ve cost us to fly just one of us there – not bad in my opinion.
Some of the highlights for me, were meeting many of those I’d gotten to know virtually over the past 15 months (more on that later), being interviewed by Jean Chatzky, and a variety of social events put on either by the conference itself or other various companies. This is also not to mention the fact of the things I learned while there in addition to the boost it was for the vision of my site. I would also like to thank the team at PT Money for their hard work in organizing and managing a conference of this level. I have been responsible for managing smaller conferences in the past, and know that it takes a lot of hard work and time, and they pulled it off flawlessly.
Making Connections at FinCon
If you’ve ever been to a professional conference, then you’ll know that it’s generally the connections you make in between the sessions that you take home with you. That was definitely the case for me at FinCon this year as I got to make a number of new friends, connect with those I’d been conversing with online, and meet some potential new clients. It was also fun to put a face to a name and see if their personality matched what I thought it would. In the case of Joe at Stacking Benjamins, my thoughts were spot on – that man is hysterical! While I did not get to meet, or speak as long as I would’ve liked with many, here is a list of a few stellar bloggers whom I had the pleasure of meeting:
- Kim from Eyes on the Dollar
- Jon from Money Smart Guides
- Heather and Bryan from Fat Wallet
- Jeremy from Modest Money
- Sean from One Smart Dollar
- Mrs. Pop from Planting Our Pennies
- Joe from Stacking Benjamins
- Maria from The Money Principle
- Travis from Enemy of Debt
- Robert from The College Investor
- Tonya from Budget and the Beach
- Jacob from I Heart Budgets
- Jim from Microblogger
- Pat from Smart Passive Income
- Deacon from Well Kept Wallet
- Joel from Save Outside the Box
- J$ from Budgets Are Sexy
- Kathleen from Frugal Portland
- Roger from The Chicago Financial Advisor
- Mario from Debt Blag
I know that I am missing some bloggers as well as those I did not speak to as much as I wanted to. As you can tell, there were plenty of opportunities to meet other bloggers and make connections; this alone would be worth it for me to attend FinCon again next year. Of course, making friends isn’t the only benefit of going to FinCon. Here are some others:
We had four keynote speakers at FinCon this year and the two that resonated most with me were Pat Flynn and Jean Chatzky. Both shared how their journeys shaped them and made them who they are today. This was incredibly insightful and motivating. The desire they both have to help others and make a difference is quite contagious and one that resonated quite a bit with me. The availability of keynote speakers is something that I’ve taken a bit of interest in recently, especially after visiting this conference. Chatzky, for example, is someone who I was excited to hear speak and was booked through the Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau. This firm actually provides access to some of the world’s most well-known speakers for all different types of event. I had never really thought about how events like FinCon land such big-name speakers, but now I know that these speakers use this agency to get these gigs for themselves. It’s a pretty cool concept, if you ask me.
These were the smaller sessions and there were many to choose from in terms of “level” and topic covered. The nice thing about these sessions is they offer quite a bit no matter what your experience level might be. If you’re newer to blogging then there was a lot to learn from and if you’re on the other end it’s a great way to get a refresher on some topics you may either be overlooking or need some encouragement to work on.
There were plenty of other things to experience at FinCon, but I will lump them together for the sake of brevity. There were various social events planned, such as the Beer Tour we went on Thursday that was a blast and really conducive to making some good connections. There was also an Expo two of the days with various companies giving out loads of free stuff and representatives to speak with about what programs they might offer. Oh, did I also mention some free meals were offered too? That wasn’t too bad either.
If you can’t tell already, we had a blast at FinCon. With it being my first year attending, I think I can safely say that I’ll be attending next year. If cost is a concern, remember that if you’re making an income off your blogging, then you can likely write off a lot of the expenses from your taxes which can help mitigate the cost some. In addition to that, we were able to cover the hotel costs thanks to rewards points from my World Mastercard. That said, there are many benefits to attending, most importantly with the potential connections you can make that can help you, others and your blog – not to mention the motivation, which can be contagious. Just ask Mrs. Frugal Rules – I talked her ear off on the six hour drive home and have a long list of things I want to do now.
Did you go to FinCon? What was your biggest takeaway? Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?
Photo courtesy of: Samdogs
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