My FinCon Story – Fun Times and Regrets

Last week the personal finance blogosphere was abuzz with everyone publishing their FinCon recaps. Since it’s the weekend, and the time to kick back and relax, I thought I would add mine to the pile.

What’s FinCon? For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a conference that’s been held for the past seven years to bring together those in the personal finance space (bloggers, podcasters, video producers, CFP’s). It’s put together by an awesome guy named PT.  Not only do we get to talk with one another to meet, get ideas, and collaborate, but we also get to connect with companies interested in doing business with us, and attend sessions to learn more about the various things we should be doing (or can be doing better than we are).

Today I’ll talk all about the fun times and regrets I have from going to FinCon last week.

The Pre-Meetup, And Other In-Person Meetings

The weekend before FinCon I had an awesome meetup in Boston with a few folks from the Rockstar Finance Forums. Physician on FIRE was in town for his  American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting, and we arranged a meetup on the forum and via Twitter. So I drove the two hours from Connecticut and got to meet up with not only POF, but also my friends  Actuary on FIRE, Laurie of the Three Year Experiment, and “EnRon“. We sat, ate, chatted, and talked blogging and money for two hours. This was my first in-person meetup from the site-but not the last. Not only did I have FinCon the next week, but also next weekend I’m going to New York City for a meetup (if you’re in NYC, I hope you’re planning to come!). And on Thursday I got to connect in person with one of my breadwinning, six figure mom interviewees.

The FinCon Fun Times

I’ll be honest – when I started this site a year ago, I never thought I would go to FinCon. I knew all about it from reading other personal finance blogs and listening to podcasts for years, but figured there was no way my site would be big enough to make it worth it to attend. That thinking was wrong, and I’m so glad I went.

I originally changed my mind about going after two things happened:

  1. I won a scholarship to attend for free
  2. My site was nominated for a PLUTUS award in Family Finance, something I never thought would happen – ever – but especially not after just one year of writing

But now, I can see that not feeling like I was “good enough to go” was silly, and probably an example of impostor syndrome at work. I often look at the traffic or reports of some other blogs and wonder if I’m doing something wrong here, or think that everyone must be doing something much better than I am. But there were people there who hadn’t even started sites yet! And there were folks there who look up to me, for some reason, and think that I’m doing amazing. So it’s all relative, and I’d encourage you to not let the feeling that somehow you’re not good enough/big enough to go to FinCon discourage you.

Meeting and talking with people that I’ve read or listened to for years, like Joe Saul-Sehy and Steve Stewart from Stacking Benjamins (I even got to record an intro to the show-listen for me opening it up sometime!) Scott Alan Turner from Financial Rockstar, Jim Dehle from White Coat Investor, Paula Pant from Afford Anything, Farnoosh Torabi from So Money, and J. Money from Budgets are Sexy, was an amazing opportunity that I never thought I would have. And many of them knew who I was! Several of them even hugged me! That was the coolest (and strangest) part. You’re so amazing and yet you’ve heard of me? Wow! And you want to hug me? Sure!

And then there were all the amazing folks I’ve gotten to know online over the past year – through the Rockstar Forums, Twitter, and their sites. I wore my favorite consignment shop deal – a pair of $300 red shoes I got for ten bucks – so it would be easy for people to recognize me from afar. That’s one tip I have for other

I’m a bit worried about listing everyone because I know I’m going to miss someone, but I’ll take a stab at it (and if I miss you, I’m sorry! I blame FinCon brain. Tag me on Twitter or hit me up in the comments and I’ll add you to the list!).

The Regrets

There are several regrets that I have from FinCon last week, and if I had a chance to go back in time I would do things a bit differently. Here’s my “lessons learned” so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

  1. Not going the entire time – I had work commitments that meant I couldn’t be there until very late Thursday night. So I was only at the conference Friday and Saturday. I can say authoritatively that was just not enough time. Not only did I miss the Thursday sessions and the opening party, but I had to spend all day Friday finding and meeting people in person. Most other folks were able to do that on Wednesday, so they had more time to form deeper relationships rather than networking. Next time I should be able to go the whole time.
  2. Not visiting the vendors – There were a ton of vendors there, and I fully intended to visit them all. But since I had to spend Friday finding people and talking with them, I had decided to visit all of them in depth on Saturday. But SURPRISE! Most of them weren’t there on Saturday. I was really sad Friday night to see them all packing up to leave. So I didn’t get to have discussions with them, and now that means I don’t have the vendor contacts I was hoping for. Pssst – if you went to FinCon, want to help a mom out, and you have some of the vendors business cards, can you tweet them at me/email a picture to me at liz@chiefmomofficer.org? Thanks!
  3. Not going to the sessions – I wanted to go to so many sessions. I even made lists of all the sessions I wanted to go to. But I only ended up making it to a few of them. The few I attended were great, but I wish I had gone to more. I’m looking forward to the replays so I can see the ones I missed.
  4. Not Getting To Have Longer Conversations – This is related directly to #1. There were so many people I would love to have talked with longer! I never really got a chance to sit down and have a dinner, or lunch, or snack with people. I was just so busy running around and trying to see and do everything. I wish I had more time. And then #5 would have helped too.
  5. Not having a clone – There were so many times I wish I could have been two places at once. I had two invitations for lunch and was so torn on which one to go to! And I was at lunch when the sessions were running, and I was talking with people as sessions were going on, and…and…and…. I decided next FinCon I just need a clone so I can do everything

Other Bloggers Recaps

My friend Physician on FIRE has pulled together an awesome list of other bloggers recaps of FinCon.  Plus it has a shout-out to our mini-meet-up in Boston. If you want to read more about it, check out his list below!

Were You There, Or Are You Going Next Year?

If you went, what were your fun times and regrets? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to follow my blog for more great posts via e-mail or WordPress, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and say hello! You can also check out what I’m buying or baking on Instagram,  what I’m pinning on Pinterest, or the latest books I’m reading (or want to read) over on Goodreads.

chiefmomofficer

IT professional, MBA, working mother of three, avid reader, geek and personal finance nerd

29 thoughts on “My FinCon Story – Fun Times and Regrets

  • November 4, 2017 at 12:19 pm
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    It was my first FinCon, too, and like you, I was putting off visiting with vendors until Saturday. Whoops!

    Glad to have met you (twice in one week!) and now you can plan well in advance to take full advantage of FinCon18. See you there!

    Best,
    -PoF

    Reply
    • November 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm
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      Yes the thing with the vendors was my biggest mistake. Oops.

      Be sure to let us know if you’re back on the east coast! Even if not, I’ll definitely see you in Orlando.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm
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    It was so wonderful to finally be able to put a face to the blog! I’ll definitely be in Orlando next year. 🙂 In fact, we’re going to sit down this weekend and try to figure out travel hacking.

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    • November 4, 2017 at 12:42 pm
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      Loved meeting you in person! Good luck with the travel hacking. I got my ticket but still need to figure out logistics, especially whether or not the family is coming. Orlando is great fun but it’s during the school year.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 12:58 pm
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    Yeah, it was overwhelming and exciting and motivating all at the same time! So glad I was able to come down and meet you the night you got in! It had so much going on that it was hard to get to see everyone! Glad you’re getting involved more in the meetups! I was able to go to a couple of them before going to FinCon and it just kept getting me more and more excited to keep going and meet more people!

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    • November 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm
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      It’s been a lot of fun meeting people in real life~I’m looking forward to next weekend in NYC!

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  • November 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm
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    I plan to go but it’s entirely dependent on how many personal days I can get approved (1 or 2…or none). So best-case scenario, we’ll be in late Wednesday night to hit the ground running Thursday. I also need to think about how much money I make indirectly (or directly?!) from the blog by then. This year, we used all points and miles for air and hotel to make it low-risk. Next year, I think we will spend actual money.

    It was so wonderful to meet you! Hope to see you next year!

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    • November 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm
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      Great to meet you too! I hope next year we get more time to talk. It was so crazy being there only two days!

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  • November 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm
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    It was good to see you and chat for a few minutes. It looks like you managed to pack in a lot of value into the time you did have! But I totally agree, getting there on Day 1 and getting some of the initial introductions and a lay of the land really helped make the pace of the rest of the days manageable.

    Meeting so many “big” names and seeing how easygoing and approachable they are, as well as just meeting a TON of people who are within spitting distance of where I’m at with my blog was a big help on the impostor syndrome front. It really felt like, “Hey, the water’s warm and there’s room for everyone, jump in!” Can’t wait for next year. See you there!

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    • November 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm
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      Yeah getting there Day 1 sure would have helped! Glad to know I’m not the only one suffering from a bit of imposter syndrome there, but I did feel a lot better about where I stand with the site after the conference.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm
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    It was great meeting you finally. It was too bad you couldn’t attend all the days. I was glad I was there for the entire conference to allow more time to connect with people and going to sessions.

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    • November 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm
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      Was great meeting you! Next year, more time is definitely the key

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm
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    Great recap on FinCon Liz, must have been exciting and overwhelming all the same time.
    I’m trying to go to next year’s conference but we have to figure out if I’m going by myself or bringing the family to Orlando since it is the land of Disney and other fun family adventures over there.

    Reply
    • November 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm
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      I’m still working on figuring that out too! We have family in Tampa, and it would be great for everyone to visit them, but it’s also during the school year.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 3:05 pm
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    Great to meet you, Liz! I was glad I could help you find a few people.

    I too missed most of the vendors so I’ll need to make it a priority next year.

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    • November 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm
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      I loved how you were looking out for me on Thursday night and had everyone yell my name so I could find you! 😀 looking forward to next year

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 4:53 pm
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    It was great to meet you there. As far as the clones, I agree that really helps. That’s why we brought our whole staff!

    I didn’t realize the FinCon hug was a thing. I’ll have to do more hugging next time!

    Reply
    • November 4, 2017 at 5:11 pm
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      Apparently it is! I know POF commented on it too. Having a staff of people to come must really help with the inability to be multiple places at once.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 5:03 pm
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    A lot of the recap posts I have read talk about all alcohol as part of the social scene. I am wondering are non-drinkers still able to get as much out of Fincon. Wanted your honest thoughts so I know if I would ever want to go.

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    • November 4, 2017 at 5:14 pm
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      I don’t drink much at all. In fact I just had one drink per day, and I didn’t spend too much time in the bar (just the first night, and I just had water). So I would say yes, I don’t think the lack of drinking hurt me at all. It’s just not my thing.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm
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    I just rediscovered our thread on RFF about the Boston meetup- bummed i missed it, but lets set a date for another one in early 2018!

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    • November 4, 2017 at 6:58 pm
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      Yes, great idea! Would love to get together again and hopefully catch folks who couldn’t make it last time

      Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 9:48 pm
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    Great review Liz! I’m sorry we only got in a quick hello! The days just flew by. I’d love to set up some times ahead of the conference next year to make sure I can connect with folks (like you!) without yelling over bar music. But overall, it was a great time – and wonderful making connections with the bloggers I’ve been following and those who support me.

    Reply
    • November 4, 2017 at 11:31 pm
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      Yes I agree, next year I’m making a list of folks to meet and making some arrangements ahead of time! Hopefully that will make it easier to connect with people

      Reply
  • November 7, 2017 at 2:52 pm
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    It was great meeting you finally! Sounds like you have a new plan in your head for FinCon18

    Like a lot of us, I didn’t plan the meetings with vendors well either. I don’t feel like I really wasted a second while there though because my time spent was with my new peeps. I’m just going to have to plan things a little differently for next year.

    See you in Orlando!!

    — Jim

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    • November 7, 2017 at 3:06 pm
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      Was great to meet you, and I’m looking forward to Orlando too! Im glad that I’m not the only one who didn’t plan meeting with the vendors very well. I’m hoping next year will be a more even mix of fun socializing and business!

      Reply
  • November 7, 2017 at 3:26 pm
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    Thanks for calling me out at our lunch at the Twisted Root 🙂 I’m trying to post more than links on Twitter these days 😉

    Reply
    • November 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm
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      That’s good! Social media is a great place to be social. Hope you have a lot of success with it!

      Reply

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