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So I mentioned in my previous posts that I would be attending FinCon in Orlando, Florida this year. In the blink of an eye, the four-day conference is over. This post summarizes everything I can think of related to FinCon.
What is FinCon?
FinCon is a conference for finance influencers and brands. It’s a way
for like-minded individuals to connect and build their brands. There are a ton of guest speakers, workshops, networking sessions, and more!
Who is FinCon for?
FinCon is for just about anyone. I cannot think of a single person who did not get some sort of value out of this conference. In fact, I even met a guy who is a personal trainer and he seemed to have gotten a lot of the workshops and more!
I think this conference is especially beneficial to new bloggers. I’d say that a large majority of the attendees were first-time attendees. I’m super glad I attended FinCon because it allowed me to connect with bloggers face-to-face.
FinCon is also great for brands to connect with influencers to market their products and services.
Who is FinCon not for?
Again, as I mentioned above. I think FinCon is appropriate for everyone. But if you hate people and free swag, then this might not be for you!
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What did you think of the workshops?
There were workshops held for 3 days. I did not manage to attend a lot of them because usually there were about 3-6 workshops being held at the same time. It was tough choosing between workshops because they all had such great titles!
Some workshops I attended were less useful than others. Two that I thoroughly enjoyed were the “5 Unconventional Tactics to Reshape Your Email Marketing Strategy” held by Tom Tate of AWeber and “Streamlined Results: How to Skyrocket Your Income While Working Less Than 20 Hours a Week” by Rosemarie Groner.
The email marketing workshop taught me how to engage my email list more. The key takeaways I got were to write shorter emails and more frequently. I’m terrible at writing short emails because I love to ramble, so this will take some work!
Rosemarie’s workshop about streamlining results was genius. She explained how she set up a *gasp* 2-year sales funnel and how she hasn’t blogged in 9 months! That is just crazy to me. I really have to work on building an appropriate sales funnel.
What did you think of the speakers?
There were some awesome speakers this year including Rachel Cruze, Jean Chatzky, and Chris Hogan. I have to admit, I did not know who most of these people were until I heard their speeches. However, that didn’t make their speeches any less extraordinary.
The most memorable speakers for me were:
Mr. Money Moustache. Ok. I have to admit that I didn’t know who this guy was until FinCon. I don’t read a lot of finance blogs. Mr. Money Moustache just happens to be one of the most influential personal finance bloggers of all-time. I love that he is so suave and nonchalant. He is also super funny. I admire him for his philanthropy (as I’m also working on a side volunteer project). He’s basically an awesome man and my new blogger crush!
Chris Hogan. Words cannot describe the way his voice resonates. He gave an inspirational speech that was inspiring and funny. My key takeaway from him: “People you need in your life: coach, friend, mentor, cheerleader.” He also taught us to be grateful, not hateful.
How was FinCon Central?
FinCon Central is where companies and publishers set up booths full of free swag and solid information. It’s a great way for brands to connect with influencers, and vice versa.
I went around chatting with a handful of companies who I was interested in working with. Then I spent the rest of the time going around collecting free swag & getting my face made into a pancake. I also spent 2 hours in line waiting for a caricature (the first one turned out super ugly and I just HAD to get a second one from the better artist).
Here’s my pancake face and caricature:
Who did you meet?
Ok, so I’ve got a terrible memory but these are some of the people I met. I’m sorry if I forgot you 🙁
- Lily from The Frugal Gene – She’s the first person I met since we were staying at the same hotel. She is super cute and loves to eat. I am shocked by how much she eats. For instance, she literally ate 4 lunches one day. I’m super grateful for Lily for co-ordinating everything and offering me sushi on the day I arrived!
- Olivia from Birds of a FIRE – Olivia is super smart and hilarious. She told me I should start a YouTube channel. This is her summary of FinCon which basically makes me sound like I’m actually an interesting person and not just someone who stays at home and blogs!
- John from ESI Money – Olivia mentioned in her post that we were creeping on this young-looking guy, in his 30’s with a ESI Money shirt. We just couldn’t believe it when John told us that he was ESI. He looked 30 but he’s actually 54 in real life. John is super sweet and he offered to take us to Chicago pizza next year if we go to FinCon in Washington, D.C.
- Accidental FIRE – Really cool and laid back guy who knows how to design the most awesome graphic T-shirts! If I had better graphic design skills then I would totally get into this side hustle!
- DocG from DiverseFI – He blogs every single day and is super efficient with his time! I need to be more like him!
- J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy – Olivia and I met J. Money for a short 30 seconds. I was surprised that he actually had a mohawk in real life. He told me that there used to be a twenty cent coin when I told him the name of my blog.
- Adam from Minafi – He’s super smart and I wish I could get into investing like him. He took us to a really awesome Ethiopian restaurant since he’s an Orlando native. Adam plans to self-publish a book on investing this year and I’m definitely going to be following his journey.
- Zach from Four Pillar Freedom – Like DocG, Zach also blogs every single day. I started stalking his blog recently and his posts are seriously addicting to read (mostly because they’re short and full of sleek graphs). I told him that I didn’t like his blog because it didn’t have a sidebar. He was not amused. Along with Olivia, Zach also supports the idea of me starting a YouTube channel.
- Alexis from Fitnancials – I met Alexis for coffee. She is one of my blogging superheroes. I love her blog and she gave me so much solid advice! I’m looking forward to her blog plans in the coming months!
- Aaron from Personal Finance For Beginners – I like to call Aaron the Facebook ads expert. He’s super cool and I could talk to him about blogging forever. So much to learn from him!
- Jerry from Peerless Money Mentor – Jerry and I wrote a Money Match-Up a few weeks back and it was so nice to finally meet him in real life!
- Kevin from Financial Panther – Kevin is super energetic and talkative. He explained to me what a financial panther means, apparently it was from an episode of the Simpsons!
How much did it cost?
In total, I paid $299 to attend FinCon. Here’s the breakdown:
- Flight: $57
- Food: $68
- Hotel: $105
- Transportation: $69
I got the tickets for free because I won a scholarship sponsored by Rockstar Finance. They chose 20 winners out of a total of 120 submissions. Normally, the tickets start at around $200 during the early bird sale. The full price is $599 for the basic pass and $799 for the pro pass.
The flights I got for *almost* free because I signed up for a new credit card and received a welcome bonus that basically covered the entire trip. The $57 was the tax I had to pay on the flight rewards redemption.
I was able to keep the food expenses quite low because the hotel we stayed at included free breakfast. I binged on breakfast every morning because I REALLY missed American breakfast. It was like heaven for me because brunch/breakfast in Switzerland just really isn’t the same.
I also skipped dinner twice because I fell asleep (I was jet lagged).
I stayed at a hotel with Lily and Olivia. I’d highly recommend getting a roommate because it’s fun getting to know other bloggers, and you save money while doing it!
The transportation cost includes my train fare in Switzerland, and various Uber rides.
Was it worth the money?
Definitely! In total, I spent around $300 for 6 days – 2 days of travel & 4 days of conference. I don’t regret it for the world! Just making the connections alone was worth it!
And I’m sure that I’ll see an increase in blog income once I apply the blogging tips that I gathered from the workshops.
What did you leave FinCon with?
- 15 free t-shirts + a whole ton of swag
- 2 mosquito bites
- Blogging knowledge ranging across a variety of topics such as affiliate marketing, email marketing, podcasting, and more!
- Amazing blogging friends
- A new-found motivation and purpose for this blog!
Will you be attending FinCon next year?
FinCon 2019 will be held in Washington D.C. in early September. I’m debating whether I’ll attend this time. I have to admit, coming from Switzerland and suffering from jet lag is tough. On the first two nights, I had to sleep before 9pm because I was just downright exhausted.
Seeing that the conference is much earlier this time (early September vs late September), I might be able to combine the trip with a trip back to Canada to see my folks. We’ll see.
What are your goals?
I’m interested in getting into freelance work. I attended a workshop on freelancing and it doesn’t seem too difficult to get started. I also attended a freelancing networking session and got a bunch of contacts from web sites looking for freelancers. Over the next few days, I’m going to email everyone back and pitch them with my best work!
I would love to grow my blog income to $1,000/month. That is my next goal. I also set a goal to grow my traffic so that I can get into Mediavine (I talked to them at their booth and they were super nice and helpful). Having Lily and Olivia as my blogging besties keeps me motivated since they’re much further along than I am.
A bunch of us have decided to form a mastermind group and I’m really excited about helping each other grow our blogs and reach our blogging goals!
Not blogging related but it seemed that everyone I met was hardcore into the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early) and believe in the power of investing. To be honest, I don’t care about retiring early, I just want to find work that is meaningful and fulfilling (here are my thoughts on that). I don’t invest and my largest asset is my house in Canada. I want to start using my spare money and investing.
Do you have any tips for first-time FinCon attendees?
What I regret is not reading enough blogs and not reaching out to other bloggers about meeting up. Lily and Olivia are super active on social media and they chat with other bloggers online all the time! So when they met these bloggers face-to-face, they had already built a connection from before. Since I didn’t read any of these people’s blogs, I found it a lot more challenging to come up with things to talk about with them. That, or maybe I’m just an awkward wallflower. Anyway, I’d definitely recommend reading other blogs and messaging bloggers about meeting up beforehand! FinCon gets so many attendees and it’s hard to meet everyone!
If you’re here for the free swag: visit all the booths and snag all the free stuff as soon as FinCon Central opens. The nice stuff runs out fast. There is plenty of time to talk to all the booths after. Get free shit first, talk later. Also, don’t be afraid to visit booths multiple times to collect more free shit. They don’t care.
FinCon is about making connections. I noticed a lot of the pro bloggers weren’t attending any workshops since they could get the virtual pass and watch everything online afterwards. Definitely prioritise face time with other bloggers over attending a workshop!
Take notes! I brought a laptop and a pen and paper so I could jot down new ideas that I was getting from workshops and just regular bloggers who I was talking to. You can learn so much from other bloggers, even if they haven’t been blogging for as long as you have!
That’s all folks! FinCon 2018 was awesome. It was the first blogging conference I’ve attended and now I can finally see the true value of attending conferences rather than just chatting with bloggers online.
I really hope I can join you all next year in Washington!
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