It’s Monday and I have a mile-long to-do list from my first FinCon notes. If you’ve considered going to FinCon or are just curious about what it’s all about, read on!
What is FinCon?
FinCon is an annual conference for content creators in the personal finance space to come together for networking, learning and connecting with brands for partnerships. This year’s conference was in Orlando. Next year, New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Why I Decided to Go to FinCon
Personal finance has been a passion of mine for a long time, even though it’s not been the primary focus of my blog. The first site I created way back in 2003 was about ways for moms to make money from home.
Now that I’m divorced, I want to bring my blog and internet marketing efforts back to the kind of income I was making in 2008. At that time, I was supporting myself and 4 kids with my online business. I was also debt free as a single mom.
My goal with attending was to learn from other content creators who are also obsessed with personal finance. And to network. It’s been a long time since I’ve rubbed shoulders with other bloggers and it’s fun to talk shop.
What I Enjoyed Most
It’s not easy to impress teenagers. But when you meet a lawyer/tech startup guru/millenial finance creator/TikTok sensation like Erika Kullberg, you ask for a selfie. My 17 year old said, “Mom! I follow her on TikTok!”
One of my favorite things about the conference was the session on Financial Trauma: Navigating Shame and Privilege. I love that financial shame and trauma is getting coverage in the mental health conversation.
Because when we talk about money, we’re never talking about just dollars and cents. We’re talking about emotions. We’re talking about values. I know that for me, some of my good money habits have fallen by the wayside because of all the upheaval I’ve experienced this past year. This can look like being “undisciplined”, but that term is coming from a place of privilege.
There’s a new Netflix documentary called Get Smart With Money. It features my long-time internet crush, Mr Money Mustache, as well as three other experts in matters of personal finance. The movie shows four finance coaches guiding four families through transforming their finances. This quote jumped off the screen at me.
Shame doesn’t say “you made a mistake”. Shame says ”you ARE a mistake”.Tiffany Aliche aka The Budgetnista
One of the sessions I attended was about teaching kids personal finance. When the ladies in the group found out I’d been blogging for 18+ years, they asked me what’s needed in this space. My response?
“Nobody is telling women who stay at home with their kids that they need to protect their finances and retirement. They’re arguing about whether to stay at home or not (the so-called “mommy wars”). If a woman chooses to stay home she needs to be making her personal retirement account a line item in the monthly budget. Otherwise she’s making the feminine mistake.”
If I were to hold up a sign large enough for the whole world to read, that’s what it would say. That’s the message I want to speak with the world I do online. So, my blog will have more content around the topics of moms earning money at home, and protecting their personal wealth and earning potential even if they stay at home with kids. I hope you stay here for it!
The folks at FinCon were pretty awesome. A lot of people struck up conversations with me randomly, which I was grateful for, since as an introvert I was often overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd. I didn’t encounter one divalicious person (sadly, this is common at the conferences I’ve attended in recent years). Everyone was humble, approachable, and so eager to answer questions in their area of expertise, or to refer me to someone who could help me.
When you’re at a conference filled with personal finance gurus, nobody thinks it’s weird that you brought your own matcha. Starbucks will happily give you a cup of hot water to mix it in!
A Few Tips for Getting the Most Out of FinCon
If you decide to go to FinCon, here are a few suggestions for getting the most from the experience.
Be sure to attend the first timer’s session. It was very helpful! I was able to share a bit of my story, and a lot of people recognized me after that and approached me to talk, which was lovely.
Download and use the app. It was so helpful for connecting with new people, sharing an Uber to save money, to learn about speakers (even the ones whose sessions I didn’t attend), and keeping track of where to go, when!
Take plenty of snacks! There were no free snacks available and hotel food is outrageously priced. I had instant oatmeal cups for each morning, matcha powder (mixed with collagen powder and stevia) in a zipper bag, beef jerky and protein bars. A lot of people brought groceries and made meals in their rooms! What else would you expect from the frugal bloggers? 😉
Set a goal or two for your experience. Is it to learn the most you can from the sessions? To network (and with whom)? To find great affiliate products to promote or to find brands for sponsorship opportunities? Setting a goal will help you spend your time well. For example, I regret that I didn’t spend more time browsing through the central lounge where the brands set up. I missed getting info on a few companies with programs that align with my blog’s topic.
Take care of your needs. Conferences are exhausting and for introverts or those with social anxiety, especially overwhelming. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself! I took a daily nap in my room, went to bed early, got up early to walk outside before the day began, and ate light (mostly vegetarian and lots of fiber). If you’re uncomfortable you won’t enjoy the conference or benefit from it nearly as much. And it’s totally ok to skip the parties if loud music and partying makes you want to die. You’re not weird!
Take brief notes, but stay in the moment. I’m so grateful that most of the speakers uploaded their slides into the FinCon app! This way I could stay in the moment and not worry about taking notes.
Make a plan for your notes. It’s so tempting to never look at your notes again after an exhausting conference. Or to look at them and immediately get overwhelmed and not take action. I made a plan (and met a friend so I wasn’t tempted to sleep in and beg off!) to head to a coffee shop Monday morning to go over my notes and make a plan based on my current priorities. I also signed up for the email lists of several speakers so I could continue to hear from them. I organized my notes into short term and long term to-dos and goals. All of this went into my Bullet Journal which I have my hands on multiple times a day so I don’t forget to revisit it.
By the way, if you purchase my Making Money Blogging course, you get access to my FinCon notes as a bonus!