Today’s post is for all the personal finance bloggers out there that read GRQ. If you’re not a blogger, then this post probably won’t be very interesting to you (you can check back this Thursday for a non-blogging blog post). However, if you are a blogger, or are interested in starting your own blog, then read on – this post is for you!
Happy FinCon Solstice! Today we’re equidistant from FinCon 2016 and FinCon 2017, which is being held October 25-28 in Dallas, Texas.
Table of Contents
What is FinCon?
FinCon is a four day conference and expo specifically created for members of the financial media community. Once per year bloggers, podcasters, TV and radio hosts, financial coaches and advisors, freelancers, FinTech developers, and others gather to talk about the latest trends in money, learn how to create great content, and how to best promote that which has been created.
That was pretty close to the “official” FinCon definition. In reality, FinCon is where money nerds get together to learn, grown, create new friendships and party harder than you’d expect. In the end, everyone comes away with ideas for improving their blog/podcast/business and looking forward to next year’s conference.
Last year at this time I was contemplating whether or not I should go to FinCon. I’d never been bef0re but had heard a lot of good things about the conference and expo. However, I was a brand new blogger with a site that was only 3 months old and didn’t know if attending would be worth the time, money, or effort it would take to get there.
Although I wanted to go, I kept asking myself if I was really willing to use up several days of PTO, buy a plane ticket, book a hotel, and spend four days by myself with people that I didn’t know? Besides, I had a hunch that FinCon was better suited for more ‘established’ bloggers.
As things turned out, I ended up attending the conference and paid a whopping $365 for the entire trip. Today’s post is all about why I’m going again, what I’ll do differently to make the trip even better, and why I think you should as well – even (especially?) if you’re a new blogger.
Why I’m Attending FinCon
This year there’s zero question about whether or not I’ll be attending the conference. I had such an amazing time at FinCon 2016 that I bought my ticket (and one for my wife!) for this year’s conference as soon as they were made available. Here’s why I’m excited to go back:
If you’re a personal finance blogger that is serious about growing your blog, then the four days of classes and conversations with your peers and experts in the field is invaluable and can’t be duplicated anywhere else. Although the schedule for 2017 hasn’t been locked yet, you can bet that it will be like a gourmet buffet at a Vegas casino: more than you can (or should) consume in one sitting!
There are multiple classes per hour, each day of the conference. Just pick the one you want to attend in person and rest easy knowing that the other classes are being filmed and you’ll be able to watch them later on if you’d like. That way you don’t have to miss a thing.
There are classes for everyone from new bloggers, to old veterans that have been at this for years. Each day of FinCon has a different theme: Create, Promote, Profit. The classes each day will focus on that theme and might include:
- How to build your email list
- Developing engaging content
- Breaking down writers block
- Monetizing your site
- Making the most of social media
If there is a topic that you want to learn more about, I’d be shocked if FinCon didn’t offer a class on it. Additionally, there are mentoring and coaching opportunities if you’d like to have some 1:1 coaching.
Blogging is hard. It can be equal parts time consuming, frustrating, maddening and completely awesome as well – and that’s just from writing one post! If you want to increase your odds of creating a successful blog, then you’ll need to create a solid network.
Obviously you’ll meet other bloggers at FinCon and those networking opportunities are great for guest posting, but FinCon is swarming with other people that are heavily involved in the personal finance and blogging worlds. If you attend, you’ll make personal connections that will help you with things like:
- Freelance writing opportunities
- Getting or becoming a virtual assistant
- Managing social media accounts
- Creating affiliate opportunities
- Getting sponsored posts
- Direct advertising on your site
- Technical help with maintaining your blog (and email lists, and plugins, and SEO)
- Podcasting help
Many former FinCon attendees will tell you the real magic of FinCon happens after-hours. When the classes are over and the expo hall has emptied out, all that’s left are your fellow bloggers that are roaming around the hotel lobby and restaurants. The networking that happens after hours is where you’ll find a ton of real value. These connections can’t be made over Twitter, they need to be done in person and FinCon makes that possible.
Like I said earlier, blogging is a roller coaster of emotions. We’ve all seen great bloggers come and go, but not many stick around for very long. I’ve made a commitment to make this blog work. “Make this blog work” is a very ambiguous term, I know. But I know what I’m after and I suspect you know exactly what you hope your blog will become as well.
I feel like I’m making solid progress towards reaching my goals, but had I not gone to FinCon last year, I seriously doubt I’d be typing this post right now.
For one thing, I’d feel guilty about having spent money on attending a conference, only to quit. So that guilt factor kept me going, but so did other things. What I learned in the classes helped make writing easier for me (it’s still hard). What I learned in my one-on-one coaching session with Mrs. Frugalwoods helped me focus on what I really wanted. Meeting so many other bloggers helped me create friendships that kept me engaged in the blogging community.
Why I Recommend Attending
The reasons I’m going back this year are the same reasons I recommend that you attend if at all possible. Is it expensive? It can be, but I attended for $365 last year so it can be done on the cheap. Instead of talking yourself out of going, why not talk yourself into it? Decide to go, then figure out a way to make it happen. If your goal is to create and grow a successful blog, then you really shouldn’t miss this opportunity.
How to Attend
If you’re going to attend, you can buy your conference tickets here. There is still time to buy at the ‘early bird’ price of $299, but that jumps up to $469 on 5/16. If you’re going to buy, buy now and save yourself $170 per ticket!
The conference and expo are being held at the Dallas Sheraton. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you stay on-site at the Sheraton. Yes, that hotel is pricier than a Best Western and I know that we personal finance bloggers are a frugal lot, but as I mentioned above, the magic of FinCon happens after hours. If you’re not staying at the hotel, you’ll miss out on so many great opportunities to meet new people, network with professionals that can help you, and also make some new friends!
I didn’t stay on site at FinCon last year and it’s my biggest regret. I won’t make that same mistake again.
Still want more info? Check out the FinCon Details page, or leave a comment with your question! And if you do attend, be sure to find me – I’d love to meet you in person!
Have you attended FinCon before? What did you think and are you attending this year? If you’re considering going this year, what’s holding you back?
Can’t wait for FinCon this October? Check out FinCon Masters. This is a new even from FinCon and is an evening of advanced learning. The small, intimate sizes mean the networking opportunities will be amazing! The first three Masters events are planned for New York, San Francisco, and London.