At last! Gwen writes her recap of FinCon 2017! I know you all were losing sleep all week waiting for it, so without further ado.… my recap!
Now, I’m not going to get super into the details this year. It’s not going to be an epic 4500+ word post where I write about each person I met (cough Fritz cough) although I would absolutely love to do so. Instead, I’m just going to do a general overview of the week and talk about the impact FinCon had on me.
Last year, I went to FinCon to hang out with friends and have fun in San Diego for a few days.
This year was different.
This year I went with goals on things to achieve for the blog, the podcast, and myself.
This year I was a Speaker. I was nominated for Plutus Awards. I was Known.
I had a number of awesome experiences at #FinCon17. I was asked to speak on the FIRE panel with some really awesome people: Tanja (Ms ONL), Nords, and Scott Trench. All 3 are people I hold in high regard and considered the experience an honor. It was a good mix between already FI, on the edge of FI, FI and doing their own thing and me with my “F‑it I have some money saved up approach”. I felt we had some great conversation between us on the panel and with the audience (packed house!)
I also got the chance to record an episode of our podcast with Brandon. Less than a year ago, we were on his podcast and now he was on our podcast. What an awesome turn of events. Even cooler, our episode was recorded from the back of a real VW bug. We had a crowd of cheerleaders hovering while recording which made me feel like a Real Podcaster.
Probably the COOLEST thing of the entire trip was being nominated for not just one Plutus award, but TWO!!! TWO AWARDS! I was up for Best Generational Blog Award, and J and I were up for Best New Podcast. Thank you to everyone that supported us, argued for us, and voted for us. Even though we didn’t win, I’m still really proud for making it all the way to the final vote. It’s a tangible reminder of how far I’ve come, and how far we have come with the podcast.
I’m not super upset as I was awarded the entirely fake and completely made up award of Best Party at FinCon after hosting an epic party Thursday night. We drank, we laughed, we shouted over each other, and drank a lot of good beer. I guess I should say they drank a lot of good beer as I’m glu-tarded and didn’t actually drink any beer at all.
I made a conscious decision to thoroughly enjoy every minute of the week. Highlights include fun dinners with new and old friends, dancing with tons of my favorite internet friends (seriously, some of these financial bloggers can get. it. down!), and a late night heart to heart girl chat. I did my best to cement those memories deep into my brain and I hope I never forget them.
This year was also the first year I was invited to special invite-only events. I went to a breakfast hosted by USAA and a lunch hosted by Realty Shares. I don’t mention these to brag. I actually dislike the idea of private events at FinCon, but I can’t deny I personally benefited from going. I was able to quietly converse with people in a small group with whom I had a lot in common. The USAA breakfast attendees were social media influencers and military related bloggers. The Realty Shares group was (surprise!) full of real estate investors. I’m hoping these events lead to concrete opportunities in the future like freelancing gigs or speaking opportunities.
I fill a real niche of someone who can speak both finance and military, so I think getting paid to speak to enlisted folk about money would be one of the coolest things ever. This helps ease my mind about quitting my job. Just knowing there are people out there who want to give me money to do things is huge for easing any worries. The funny thing is, I didn’t set out to find opportunities- they found me!
J and I also spent a significant amount of time speaking with potential sponsors for our podcast. I think we walked away with some very solid sponsorship possibilities so I am incredibly happy with that. Special thanks goes to Erik for being our hype man when he wasn’t busy with his own schedule!
FinCon is getting huge. Like 1700+ people. This is awesome and unfortunate. It’s awesome that it’s getting so huge which means most of my favorite people on the internet are in one spot at the same time. I could leave to get lunch and spot Paula Pant walking down the sidewalk. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day and the Sheraton in Dallas was one sprawling venue. There was just no way I could meet/hang out with everyone I wanted to and that kills me. I did get to meet some people but got called away from the middle of some excellent conversations.
I did volunteer the first day which helped me see some people I otherwise didn’t get to hang out with the rest of the week. I consider spending two hours standing in one spot saying “down the escalator for FinCon registration” completely worth it. The lovely Miss Mazuma and I also organized a meetup of Rockstar Finance Forum members the first day. That was great for getting a head start on meeting people since we drew them into us instead of having all of us spread out all over the hotel in little pockets.
FinCon being huge also led to some serious clique-ing up. It happened to an extent last year but was even more noticeable this year. I regret this as I feel there are tons of smart people who have great advice and conversation at the conference that could lead to some fun/interesting crossover chances. I ended up chatting for an hour with one guy who turned out to be really awesome but isn’t in the FIRE space. I could’ve missed that if I had only sought out FIRE people.
I think next year for FinCon 2018 in Orlando I will make more of an effort to reach out to people beforehand to get on people’s schedules. This will ensure I get to meet people instead of leaving it to chance and potentially missing out on valuable connections again. If you’re going out to Orlando next year and want to hang, shoot me an email!
Ok, so there isn’t anything big about relationships but we were in Texas and everything is bigger in Texas, right? It goes with the flow. No judging.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few people specifically. First, a huge shout out to our friends P & D for welcoming us into your house the first weekend. We had a blast! Second, to my co-host J and her husband. Thanks for being super awesome roomies! I can’t wait to hang out in Orlando with you two next year. I’m also looking forward to the dinner you buy us when we win the side hustle throwdown 😀
And finally, the best for last, to my boyfriend Erik. I really enjoyed getting to spend a whole 9 days in a row with you and only wish we could’ve spent more time together. I’ve never been to a major event like this with a significant other and I feel like we crushed it! Thanks for the delicious birthday meal, too! (Don’t worry, readers not named Erik, we already said all these things to each other in person but I just wanted to capture it in words on the blog.)
If you’d like to read more FinCon 2017 recaps, head on over to the Physician on Fire blog where he has a list of almost 30 recap posts written! Weird that so many people would write a recap at a financial blogger conference 😉
I’ve already got my ticket to FinCon 2018! I can’t pass up the chance to hang out in Orlando close to all the big parks I’ve never been to. See you there?