A First-Timer’s FinCon19 Recap

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Photo from getrichslowly.org

You guys know I love writing and talking about money with everyone in my life– it’s awesome to learn what my family & friends believe about money, what we all have in common, and what we all do differently. I often find everyone has something to teach me, and I absolutely love being able to teach others everything I know. However, I don’t always get enough of talking with other money nerds outside of the internet. This is what made me so excited for FinCon; I came for the money talks, and stayed for all the opportunities it offered. 

How I Ended Up at FinCon19 As a New Blogger

When I started blogging, I had no clue what FinCon was or that anything like it even existed. As I got more involved in the online community of personal finance nerds, I found out about the conference, decidedly noting that it wasn’t for me quite yet. After all, I was a new blogger who had little interest in monetization or networking. But as the media surrounding FinCon got louder, and I realized that many of my internet friends from the community attended, I gave it a second thought. Finally, I read a tweet from a fellow blogger who attached the link to sign up for a scholarship– she wrote that she was surprised to get one last year and that new bloggers should try and apply. I looked at the page and saw one of my absolute favorite money nerds, Ramit Sethi, was the keynote, which got me excited. I also realized it was happening in my own city, Washington, DC, this year, so I had to at least try. Expecting nothing, I applied, knowing I would probably not win a full or partial scholarship. 

I had just gotten off work when I saw the email that I had received a full scholarship– I was one of 35 people out of the 2,500+ that attended. I got pumped. And then, of course, the impostor syndrome started creeping in– despite this being a moment where it should have been stifled. My dear blogger friend Diana wrote very eloquently about this feeling in her own FinCon19 recap.

But the return on investment was clear. I had paid nothing for a ticket, and the venue was a 15-minute walk from my apartment, so no travel expenses would be accrued. The main investment was time away from my work, making sub plans, and feeling guilty for leaving my students with a substitute in the first week. There’s something to be said for all of this, but money-wise, I was golden. If you listen to the Money & Media podcast, you know there’s a lot of pressure around FinCon to hustle & grind & network & all that, which made my introverted self shake in her boots, but I realized that even if I went to the sessions and learned, I would get a lot out of the experience at virtually no cost to me. So that’s what I did.

With school beginning and Field Hockey taking off, I knew I would be highly stressed during the conference, so I decided to not to put the added stress of doing the conference the “right” way (hint: there is actually no “right” way), and instead I would learn and meet friends and make new ones. This ended up being the perfect strategy for me to get what I needed out of my first time.

What Did I Learn?

So, I’ve been mulling over the idea of dropping a podcast for a months. This is because while I love writing for my blog, I realized that most of the content I consume is via podcasts and YouTube videos. Even as a blogger, I don’t really read that much content online– so why have I been using all my time on a platform that I don’t even use very much as a consumer? (Don’t worry, I will always keep up with writing. I just want to move to another project as well).

So I went to almost every podcasting session, and a few YouTube ones as well. I learned everything I needed to record, launch, and keep up with a podcast– and got some ideas for YouTube as well (but I’m focusing on one thing at a time). More than that, I got the confidence and inspiration to fight impostor syndrome and know that I can do the things I want to. That’s the most valuable thing I got from FinCon.

I was telling all of this to Brian, my partner, when I came back home one day, and he said “I think I’m going to give you your birthday present early…”

We walked down to the hiding place (his car) and he pulled out my gift: a podcasting microphone. 

I realized in that moment how much others continually show up for me and believe in me: my partner, my friends, my family, and even the FinCon scholarship committee. Why, then, should I have such trouble believing in myself?

I feel like I’ll always struggle with this– but it’s getting harder and harder to believe the lies in my head when the amazing people in my life are getting louder and louder. 

Plus, with the mic, I now had exactly every single thing I needed to create a podcast.

I will keep you all updated with news about when it will launch (probably a few months from now)– so stay tuned.

What was FinCon like?

Madness. It was fun, loud, and crazy at times. As an introvert, I has to take time each day to go home or rest in a quiet space and do a braindump. I have pages and pages of notes about Instagram, YouTube, and podcasting. 

I got to learn from experts. It was amazing hearing awesome speakers like Ramit Sethi and Tanja Hester, but I also got to have one-on-one time with my fantastic mentor, Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation, who answered all of my questions about email lists, podcasts, niches, digital products, and, like, everything under the sun.

I also got connected with local DC attendees and with other creators who are interested in the same things as me, which was amazing. I love knowing money nerds in my city and having a small (but growing) network of creators like myself. 

Am I Going Next Year?

To be determined 🙂

If you’re interested in going to FinCon, let me know in the comments below and I’d love to answer any questions you have!

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