This weekend was absolutely amazing. I’m going to tell you all right now, there are no words to properly describe the experience I had at this FinCon. I think that’s an accurate representation of how much things have changed for me since last year.
Why? Last year I had no idea what I was in for. I had quit my job to relocate to Charlotte only a few months beforehand. I was finding my footing as a freelancer, and felt insecure in this space. Sure, I had been blogging for over a year, but that was nothing compared to what most people had accomplished.
I also wasn’t sure what my purpose was at the conference. I knew I had to network and find opportunities, but being an introvert, I found it difficult to approach people and strike up a conversation.
Not this year. I took full advantage of the fact the conference was four days instead of three, and tried to meet all the people I wanted to. Being an exhibitor was also a huge change of pace, and it helped ease me into things as I kind of had to talk to people coming up to the booth.
I’ve been at a good place with the clients and work I have, so I wasn’t necessarily there to seek opportunities. I wanted to strengthen existing relationships and form new ones with people I admire and care about, and I think I was able to do that. I left last year with a few regrets, and I think it’s safe to say I don’t have any this year.
Doing FinCon as an Exhibitor
Working a booth is different from being a regular attendee, but it was really cool to be able to talk with so many different people about what they do and how we could possibly work together. Those that stopped by were mostly representatives of other companies – not bloggers – and the dynamic was completely different.
That said, everyone that stopped by was really nice, and I’m happy most people were interested in the concept of being able to save money while shopping online (the cash back goes directly into your savings account). We’ll be looking for a group of people to test everything out once we’re closer to launching in a few months, so we’re focusing on outreach right now.
Wherewithal didn’t win the FinTech Startup Competition, but I think all the companies that competed had a unique offering that met the needs of consumers. I love seeing people working toward making personal finance easier or more accessible!
I Didn’t Go to Any Sessions
Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t attend any of the sessions, unless you count Shannon’s live broadcast of Martinis and Your Money (which was awesome, of course) and a few keynotes. Between Thursday and Friday, I was in the Expo Hall at the booth, and Saturday and Sunday were just too crazy with meetups and events.
I wasn’t planning on going to many anyway, and you get a Virtual Pass which gives you access to all the panels that happened. I’m not trying to downplay the importance of learning – I just didn’t find the sessions fit the purpose of the conference for me. There are always amazing people sharing their knowledge and you should take advantage of that if you need it, but I find networking to be more worthwhile.
Talking Business and Money
There are two huge topics of discussion at FinCon – money and business. I got to talk strategy with so many people and I loved every second of it. I actually met up with a few people over lunch and we talked about saving, emergency funds, and how we spend our money. It was awesome.
I never felt like an outsider. Everyone “got” each other immediately. I think that was well-represented in Grant’s keynote at the end, as it spoke to a lot of us. There’s a certain energy around FinCon that can’t be replicated outside of it.
I looked forward to seeing “my people” every day and getting to bond over the most seemingly random things. There’s nothing quite like it, and I hate that we all have to wait until next year to experience it again.
I can’t begin to name everyone I met this year. It was a huge improvement over last year. I got to meet all my clients, even if some meetings were a bit shorter than I would have liked. Each and every person I met was kind and welcoming, and I miss you all so much already!
Here are a few highlights I should mention:
I spent most of my downtime with my fellow “Cat classmates” – we all went through Cat’s freelance writing program and had planned on meeting up. Kayla (Shoeaholic No More), Kristi (Moderate Muse), Jessica (Settle Your Finances), Jenna, and Choncé (My Debt Epiphany) were a blast to be around and I can’t wait to see where these ladies will be next year. They’ve already had such success in a short amount of time and are hustling like crazy to make it work.
Also by chance, we ended up running into Steven (Even Steven Money) on Friday. For some reason, he came back to talk to us crazies on Saturday while we were getting our drink on. I have a feeling he and Will (First Quarter Finance) were just sticking around because of how entertaining and awesome we were. Just saying.
Saturday night was the Plutus Awards, and I was beyond excited to see so many of my friends take home well-deserved awards. Tonya, Shannon, Melanie, Natalie, Michelle, Carrie, Holly – all fantastic women I look up to who are kicking a lot of ass. Girl power. That’s all I have to say.
Things wound down on Sunday, but I was able to hang with my girls for breakfast, go to the keynote, and then meet with some great people for pizza. I spent the rest of my day hanging with Michelle (Shop My Closet Project), who is just amazing. Seriously. Pretty sure she also convinced me I need to visit Denver.
Overall, I left feeling really inspired because of everyone I got to meet. It’s safe to say most people in attendance were working toward a greater purpose or had huge ideas. As a collective, us money nerds don’t settle for less. We’re dreamers and planners who reach for greater heights and keep going. We don’t limit ourselves, and I love that.
I’m still trying to gather my thoughts in-between catching up on work, but I’ll be making a Being Grateful – FinCon Edition post this weekend. In the meantime, if I met you at FinCon, please feel free to shoot me an email or message on Twitter. (Or I’ll hunt you down.) There’s no reason to let the connections we made fade over the year as we wait for FinCon16 (which is in San Diego – and yes, I have my ticket already). I’m looking forward to a bunch of Skype/Google Hangout dates!
Love you all, and thank you for such a memorable weekend. ♥