Financial Blogger Conference Experience Comments72 Comments


So this past weekend marked this year’s edition of the FinCon blogger conference. If you’re a fellow finance blogger, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re not a blogger, let me fill you in a bit…

Basically it’s an annual conference that brings together a large number of financial bloggers as well as other industry professionals. It’s a chance to connect with bloggers that you communicate with all year long and also build connections with other bloggers that you might not have known as well. It’s a chance to gain valuable insight from established bloggers and share your knowledge with newer bloggers. It’s a chance to meet with some key advertisers in the finance niche and get plenty of branded swag.

Ok so maybe for some of you that sounds like a notch or two above a Star Trek convention. Now I don’t have any direct experience to compare the two, but I suspect this one was a little cooler. There was at least probably more open bars and social events. Think a 4 day wedding without the relatives and with a bunch of learning thrown in.

This year’s FinCon was held in St. Louis, which I admit is somewhere that I would probably never visit otherwise. Since we weren’t there specifically for sightseeing, I guess we’ll settle for a massive arch that is oddly reminiscent of McDonalds. One bright side of the location was that there happened to be a big baseball game there while we were in town. Even though baseball is one of my least favorite sports, it did make for a lively atmosphere. We got to watch that game at a sweet rooftop bar with a view directly into the baseball stadium. Almost made me a baseball far for the night :)

My FinCon Experience

I guess you probably get the gist of what the conference was about. It’s really a unique experience for everyone though. Each attendee has their own agenda, their own info sessions they want to see, their own group of contacts they gravitate towards and their own personalities.

The personalities part is where it was a bit challenging for me. I don’t think anyone has ever accused me of being an extrovert. A one on one conversation is usually manageable, but for some reason any kind of group chat gets the old social anxiety going. Randomly starting conversations with people I don’t know isn’t exact a forte either. So yeah, I knew I’d be out of my element at this thing. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one dealing with that, but most seemed to be more on the chatty side.

I won’t deny that I was envious of the people who could just work a room and really get the most of the networking side of things. Those people would definitely get a lot more benefits from a conference like this. That’s not to say that I didn’t talk to a lot of people, but there were more people that I would’ve liked to meet. Some I just never managed to run into and some I might’ve missed them by not awkwardly staring at their stomach/crotch area to read their nametags. Yeah that was actually my own fault for holding back on the socializing.

The people I did meet and chat with were all really great people though. So here’s a shout out to a number of fellow bloggers I enjoyed meeting:

I probably missed some bloggers in that list and some I didn’t get to chat with as much as I would’ve liked.

Beyond connecting with fellow bloggers, there were a lot of other solid benefits to attending.

Info Sessions: The wide variety of topics covered was quite impressive. You do have to pick and choose which sessions you watch live, but I know I’ll be buying the virtual pass to catch up on all of the presentations I missed. Someone new to blogging would learn so much. Bloggers at other levels of experience could still pick up a lot of pointers. For me a lot of it was reinforcing things that I knew something about but either put it off or didn’t previously grasp the importance of it.

Motivation: Some of the presentations were more focused on a particular blogger’s success story and the basics of how they achieved that. These were especially inspiring because you got to hear what an average person could achieve by taking the right approach. Reading about those strategies without a story and a face to go with it simply wouldn’t drive it home the same way.

Advertiser Connections: With all the different advertisers attending, it was a pretty good opportunity to get to know what they’re all about and discuss potential strategy to make money. I felt that this area probably would’ve been a bit more beneficial to me if I had been further along with building up affiliate income. It makes sense that an advertiser is going to put a bit more effort into building connections with a well established blogger. As a result I didn’t get as many invites to company sponsored events as I could have. Totally understandable though and that gives me some extra motivation to build that all up a lot more before next year’s FinCon. I did get to finally meet my credit card affiliate rep from BankRate who has been helping me for years.

Free Stuff: It was a bit pricey for me to fly down to St. Louis and get a hotel room for 3 nights, despite finding a roommate. Luckily it was balanced out by a lot of free stuff provided by the conference organizers and individual finance companies that were taking part. I already touched on the open bars and free branded swag, but that was just scratching the surface. There were few meals we had to pay for on our own. I could see an established blogger not needing to buy a single meal the whole time. When there weren’t open bars, there were usually free drink tickets handed out or generous bloggers buying drinks.

Overall Impression

I think Philip from PT Money and everyone else involved did an awesome job with the conference. If you’re a financial blogger, I’d definitely recommend checking out at least one FinCon conference. There’s just too many benefits to not attend, even if you’re an introvert like me. Thank you to everyone who helped put this event on.

I did face one other challenge. This was one of the longer stretches that me and my fiance have been away from each other. So we both ended up missing each other a lot. I’m lucky to have such an amazing woman in my life. Next year I’ll have to work harder at convincing her to attend FinCon too. Then the trip would’ve been truly complete.

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This entry was posted in Blogging, Business, and tagged , Comments72 Comments
By : Jeremy Biberdorf | 22 Oct 2013
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72 thoughts on “Financial Blogger Conference Experience

  1. Martin

    Sadly I found out about FinCon a little too late but I bet the speech and that from Pat Flynn was very motivational and helpful. I think it is something that would be VERY empowering.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I will be sure to attend next year.

  2. Bryan@FatWallet

    This was my first time to FinCon too, and being an introvert, your experience pretty much mirrors mine. Next year I think I might feel a bit more comfortable, and I hope to see you there! :)

  3. John S @ Frugal Rules

    Great overview Jeremy – I have one of my own for Friday. :) I thought it was a great experience overall and those that organized it did a great job managing it all. I felt sorry for my wife having to hear all my ideas on the drive home though, Lol! It was great chatting with you and looking forward to next year already!

    1. Jeremy Biberdorf

      Yeah it was great meeting up with you and your wife. I can totally picture the two of you going on about blog plans on the drive. The organizers did do a solid job and I’m sure they’ll make it even better next year.

  4. E.M.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it sounds like an awesome opportunity to get together with other bloggers. I hope to be able to go next year, even though I can be quite shy myself. I don’t like being away from my boyfriend for too long either, so I can understand that challenge!

  5. moneystepper

    Sounds like it was a great experience for everyone. Given that you were worried about chatting to new people, I would say that your list of 25 people there is not bad at all!

  6. Kim@eyesonthedollar

    It was great to meet you too and for some reason I was really surprised at how tall you are! I am pretty quiet too when left to my own devices. It was a great experience in stepping outside my comfort zone. I’m really glad I went.

  7. Jayon

    Seems like a good time. I would like to go next year when I’m more experienced to keep from looking like a fool with the big boys.

    1. Jeremy Biberdorf

      You shouldn’t be worried about that. In addition to all of the big bloggers there are all kinds of other people from the industry there. A lot of the stuff they teach is actually focused on beginner bloggers.

    1. Jeremy Biberdorf

      I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I think they want to keep travel costs fairly even. So if it’s on either coast they’re making it much more expensive for a lot of people. Try to make it out next year anyway though.

  8. Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

    I would not have guessed you were an introvert, Jeremy. :) It sounds like it was a great conference overall and I’m hoping that I will be able to make it next year. Not only for the information but it would really nice to meet my fellow bloggers face-to-face!

  9. Jacob

    Glad you went Jeremy. You were my first blogging friend, and it was great to hang out in person. I know I was a terrible roomie, but thanks for tolerating :)

    1. Jeremy Biberdorf

      haha I wouldn’t say that Jake. You were nice and quiet when you stumbled in late each night. Looks like you did pretty awesome with the networking. We’ll have to meet up again at some point since we don’t live too far away.

  10. Chris @ Stumble Forward

    Awesome to see you had a great time Jeremy. I’m an introvert too so don’t worry. I think I do better just once I’ve gotten a chance to know people and talk to them a little then I seem to open up a bit more. Hope to see you at #fincon14.

  11. Micro

    Sounds like it is a really awesome time. I may have to keep it in the back of my mind for next year. Although as an introvert myself, I’m sure I would run into some of the same issues you did.

  12. My Wealth Desire

    It seems to me you enjoyed and you learned a lot from the seminar. How I wish to attend and meet those successful bloggers. I know most of them are approachable and willing to help others.

  13. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

    aww, I’m with you on being away from your loved one. I was away from my husband for four days recently and that was tough.

    I’m with you on being a bit of a shy one too. I’m not great at socializing with people if I don’t know anyone at a conference. I’ve gone to conferences with my current job and not had a lot of success meeting folks. But I still enjoy them and it seems you enjoyed yours as well.

  14. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

    Sounds like you had fun and learned a lot. Thanks for sharing your experience at FinCon, I’d definitely like to attend in the future…maybe when I’m little more established. It sounds like I can learn a lot. Also, I’m also not much of an extrovert either…I’m jealous of those who can work the room.

    1. Jeremy Biberdorf

      I think it does make sense to wait until you’re more established, but at the same time you can learn so much there to take your blog to the next level. I probably should’ve gone last year, but I guess by waiting until this year I had more people to talk to.

  15. Edward Antrobus

    I probably missed my one chance at attending last year when it was in Denver. Aside from the price and travel, October isn’t a good time for me to take off work. Now if the conference was in February, I could probably work something out. Of course, considering how many pf bloggers are also tax professionals, there is no way anything planned for the first four months of the year would get off the ground.

    1. Jeremy Biberdorf

      Yeah I suspect it will be around the same time each year. It’s tough to switching it up to being hosted only 4 months after the last one. It’s too bad you didn’t make it when it was in Denver.

  16. Steve

    Thanks for the summary of FinCon, Jermey. It definitely helps get an idea about the event. Sounds similarish to WDS, but full of personal finance folks! Maybe I’ll go next year. And maybe I can convince my wife to come with me!

  17. Cash Cow Couple

    Great stuff Jeremy. Sounds like an absolute ball of a time. We couldn’t make it but perhaps next year. And with your current trajectory, I’m sure the affiliate part will happen sooner than later.

  18. Glen Craig

    I’m sorry I missed you there Jeremy I would have loved to talk. I totally understand where you are coming from being an introvert. It’s a little overwhelming to be in the conference lobby with all these people around.

  19. Tom Drake

    Hey Jeremey, sorry I missed you at FinCon! It was a lot bigger this year and I didn’t get around to everyone that I would have liked to either. You going to FinCon next year?

  20. Jonny Cash

    That was my first time to FinCon, and being an introvert, your experience pretty much mirrors mine. Next year I think we might feel a bit more comfortable.


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