As most of you might already know, I attended my first ever FinCon last week and it was amazing. FinCon is a financial blogger’s conference but there are also many other professionals in financial media who attend like podcasters, financial companies and professional speakers.
If you blog about personal finance or run a financial website, this conference is a must! It’s the best time and place to meet up with others in your field and network and collaborate.
I met a ton of amazing people during the conference and attended some pretty inspiring sessions.
Some of my favorite sessions during the conference include:
- What Successful Staff Writers Don’t Want You to Know About Landing Writing Jobs – with Catherine Alford
- How to Become an Expert (Without Official Expertise) – with Stephanie O’Connell
- What you Need to Know About Getting (And Keeping) High Paying Gigs – with Miranda Marquit
There were too many other awesome sessions packed with information to mention here, but I’m looking forward to watching the ones I missed when the virtual pass becomes available. Since this was my first ever FinCon, I thought it would be helpful to share my experience in a way that helped and encouraged others who might be on the fence about attending a conference like this. I promised some of you I would follow up on my overall experience and the things I learned so here are my top 10 tips for surviving and thriving at your first FinCon.
1. Stay at the Conference Hotel and Get a Roommate
If you’re planning on going to FinCon, I highly recommend staying in the conference hotel and getting a roommate to split the costs of the room. Point blank. Period. A lower group rate is usually offered for rooms instead of having to pay the standard hotel rate so it’s best to reserve your room early before they sell out and try to connect with someone to share a room.
I’m so happy I found my roommate Kristi. She was so kind and caring and we both got along very well and motivated each other to make the best out of the experience since we were both first time FinConers.
The hustle and bustle of the conference can take up a lot of energy so I loved being able to run upstairs to my room to drop things off and rest for a moment without feeling like I had to travel back and forth to get from my room to the conference.
2. Start Saving Up NOW
If you missed the flash sale for FinCon 2016 which offered passes at an extremely low rate, start saving up now so you can purchase your FinCon pass during the next flash sale in the spring. I mentioned before how I saved a ton on my FinCon pass by purchasing it early, so definitely budget and start preparing now.
3. Pack Light
This is something I didn’t do and I learned my lesson big time. I didn’t want to pay the airline $25 for a checked bag so I squoze all my outfits, shoes and other items into a carry on suitcase. Getting to the conference was fine, but when I arrived, we got gifted with so much free swag that I ran out of room to transport it all back home quickly.
Most of the keynote speakers were all authors and they gave away free signed copies of their books after their presentation. Plus, I received a FinCon welcome bag with tons of goodies and a free yoga mat from Fidelity Investments along with tons of other freebies.
It took a lot of maneuvering and creativity to get all my stuff home, but I made it back in one piece and I’m loving the yoga mat I struggled to bring home. Next year I will definitely pack light and bring a suitcase with more storage.
4. Bring Lots of Business Cards
I brought about 500 cards (I think). I didn’t use them all, but it’s best to be prepared and business cards shouldn’t take up too much space in your luggage. At FinCon you meet so many people from all over and it’s important to have business cards handy so you can exchange information and build a connection and possible working relationship after the conference.
5. Utilize the FinCon Facebook Group
FinCon has an amazing Facebook group filled with tons of helpful people who are either in a similar boat as you or have been in your shoes and have tons of insight to offer. At first, I was intimidated by how open everyone is with sharing resources and information but it’s the perfect place to ask questions, get advice or feedback and stay connected with other FinCon attendees. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the group, they don’t bite.
6. Wear Practical Shoes
A LOT of walking is involved. Whether it’s going to events, touring the city or grabbing meals, you will do lots of walking at FinCon. I brought tennis shoes so I could work out and a durable pair of casual flats to wear with most of my outfits and I’m so happy I did. My calves were super sore the first few days from all the walking. Or maybe it was partially from doing a high intensity working out with Tonya on the first day of the conference 🙂
7. Come with Questions
I know this sounds like an obvious one, but if you plan on attending a lot of the sessions, try to schedule out what you are interested in learning about and prepare a few questions for the speaker. All the sessions I attended allowed for questions from attendees at the end.
Unfortunately, I drew a complete blank after most sessions and couldn’t think of much to ask. The speakers were also extremely thorough and did an amazing job so that could be part of it. Luckily, other audience members had some very good questions that actually helped me clarify some things I had been wondering about.
So many successful, innovative and inspiring people are at FinCon. It’s rare to have that level of talent and expertise all in one location at the same time. It’s best to take advantage of that by preparing a list of questions you’ve always wanted answered to help improve your blog or website and career.
8. Schedule in Some Down Time
There were so many events and sessions going on at FinCon. When the jam packed schedule was combined with the fact I was meeting so many awesome people all at once, I started to notice my energy getting a bit drained.
On the third day of the conference, I scheduled in a two-hour nap during some down time I had in my schedule and it was glorious. I was super refreshed and recharged to have some fun at the Plutus Awards and after party afterward.
If you’re way to excited to squeeze in some, rest, try just taking a few minutes to yourself to think and reflect or chat in a quiet corner is a new friend. I did all of the above and it definitely helped me from crashing and burning by the end of the experience.
9. Hustle Hard
FinCon was not just one big party, meetup or reunion for me. It was an experience to learn and hustle to establish relationships with new potential clients. As an introvert, I made it my mission to put myself outside of my comfort zone when it came to meeting new people and networking.
I enjoyed the freelancer’s marketplace event, because I got to approach several tables and speak with individuals who were hiring writers to pitch them on my services. So far, I landed two new clients and a ton of connections for future possible opportunities.
10. Have Fun
While you’re hustling, planning and scheduling in down time, don’ forget to just have fun and relax. Everyone was so welcoming and kind, it really made me feel like I fit in right away. FinConers know how to have fun and it felt awesome to just let go and hang out with some likeminded people.
What did you like most from this year’s FinCon if you attended? Are you planning on going to FinCon next year in San Diego?
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