In exactly one month, I’ll be sitting in a cool hotel in Denverlistening to the most amazing people in the Personal Finance Blogosphere. Starting September 6th is the Financial Blogger Conference 2012. We attended last year, the first FinCon11 held in Chicago and we had a blast (you can read about my experience here and get my 2,000+ word personal notes from the conference if you sign-up for my newsletter).
Last year, the FinCon11 was a turning point in our business. Since then, we had made some major changes to our business model and we now see the difference. I guess this is what I like so much about blogging; if you make changes in your business model, it only takes about six months to see the impact. We have changed our monetization model last year and are now getting the fruits of our labor. There are tons of reasons to attend but I’ll skip the marketing speech and tell you why I’m going.
The most amazing thing about the internet is the ability we have to connect with people around the world. Everybody seems so close when you simply turn on your computer and Skype with them. However, there is nothing that can replace a handshake and a good laugh while enjoying a beer! This is definitely why I want to go there; to talk one-on-one with people I’ve been chatting with for the past 2, 3, 4, 5 years! Funny enough, you have all kind of personalities at this conference. People are coming from different jobs, different backgrounds and have a specific angles from which to see personal finance. This makes conversations even more interesting!
Last year, I met my VA, Martin, for the first time! We had been working together for more than a year at that time and it was the very first time we could hang out together. You get to talk to so many people in so little time; the energy is unbelievable. I’m looking forward to meeting everybody that I met last year while making some new connections with other bloggers I didn’t have the chance to meet yet!
There is an unlimited power of creation unleashed during these four days. You have the opportunity to bounce ideas, share your tricks and learn from others. The only downside of this situation is that you seriously lack of sleep as you are always talking with someone! On the way back home, my partner and I spent the whole flight talking about ideas we gained from the conference. I’d say that you get as much from the official speakers than from all the other bloggers you run into and start conversations with. As I’m a big fan of creativity, this is my version of Disney World.
I remember how I felt when leaving the conference last year; I was almost ready to quit my job! I was tired of driving over an hour each morning and evening to go to work. After the conference, I was so motivated that I was seriously thinking about an exit strategy. Since then my motivation hasn’t gone down a bit, but I just got the most amazing job offer only 5 minutes away from my house. This year, I really want to bring my sideline to a complete business level. I’m hoping that this year’s conference will contribute to building my confidence in this project and bring my business to a whole new level.
Considering the overall price of the conference (not the FinCon12 ticket but the airplane, food and hotel expenses), there must be more than simply meeting people and having a chat with a beer in hand. I mean, this is a lot of fun but it doesn’t justify a $2,000 expense on our company’s financial statement. This is why I must ensure that I will benefit from both the social and economic stand points.
During the panels, I was taking notes like I was a 1st year university student! Throughout the day, I carried my #1 note keeper everywhere; my BlackBerry! Each time I had an idea in mind, I picked up my smartphone and sent myself an email. When I got back, I can tell you that I needed a full day to compile my notes and make something coherent out of it! However, those notes were the origin of a lot of changes and improvements in our company.
OMG! That was my #1 mistake last year; I didn’t have a business card to share! And honestly, I’m still late on this one as I haven’t had my business cards made yet! At least, I was able to gather tons of business cards from others and build a nice “PF blogger card holder” at home. The business cards are pretty cool as you sometimes forget about a blogger but when you look back at the cards, you remember some good times and it’s a chance to reconnect after the conference.
If you just attend the different panels, you will definitely get some info, but you won’t go deeper than the presentation. The best way to benefit from the conference is to participate:
- Ask the speakers questions during their presentations.
- Go and meet with them before or after their presentations.
- Select specific one-on-one conversations you want to have with people and make sure you meet with those bloggers!
- Skip conferences to talk to other bloggers in the hallway.
- Skip on sleep and continue your conversations through2am. You only have a limited number of hours to use in 4 days!
- Go see the sales reps (yeah… that’s boring sometimes) and ask them how they can help you (some of them will tell you about their BS but others will be very helpful). At least, they will be paying for the shooters hehehe!
You will be confronted with a lot of information during the conference. My trick is to get the most 3 relevant points from each talk, each presentation, each connection. This way, it’s easier to get your head around all the info and process the data correctly. Each top 3 will lead to several ideas but it’s important to identify what really matters prior to jumping on your computer and start typing like a maniac! Last year, I also identify the top 3 conferences I didn’t want to miss (Ramit Sethi, Adam Baker and Pat Flynn). You can’t see all the conferences so this is why you want to know which ones you really need to see. The others can be skipped for other benefits (such as hanging around in the hallways!).
Taking notes and talking with people is amazing but it isn’t worth much if you don’t follow-up in the months to come. It’s one thing of being all pumped when you get back from the conference but this feeling will eventually fade away. At best, it will last for a month. Did you really pay $1,000 for a single month of motivation? Add follow-up moments to your calendar in order to:
- Review your notes
- Email people you met
- Start a group project
- Work on an idea you had during the conference
- Go back to the FinCon site and watch the videos
These actions will bring you back into the passion of the moment you had experienced. You will be able to live the motivation longer and work harder on your site. Speaking of which, I just realized that I haven’t read my notes for the past 9 months… maybe I should take a look at them!
I’m looking to meet more people that I haven’t had the chance to meet yet. Wanna chat about the conference? Please comment below or send me an email. I’m looking forward to meeting you!
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