Hey everyone! I'm freaking exhausted, but I thought it would be cool to give all of you a recap of the FinCon blogging conference that happened this past week! It's always fun to pull the curtain back a bit so you can see what being a full-time personal finance blogger is actually like.
For those of you that don't know, the FinCon expo is a conference specifically for personal finance bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers (or people that do all three). It's basically a week where a ton of money nerds descend on a city and talk about 401ks and how crappy their super old cars are haha.
This was my second time to go, and it was massively different than my first FinCon in San Diego last year.
People actually knew who I was this year (which makes it a lot more interesting)
Last year's FinCon actually happened right after I was featured on CNBC and the site blew up for the first time. As “famous” as I thought I'd be (ha!), nobody at the conference knew who I was or really even cared about the feature at all.
Basically, every blogger that is big at FinCon has been featured somewhere before multiple times, and probably knew that features don't really matter if you can't parlay them into sustained success.
In 2016, I was invited to exactly zero parties and zero one-on-one meetings with companies for sponsorships. In fact, I accidentally walked into a party sponsored by an insurance company and didn't realize that it was invite-only until after I had talked with the CEO for about an hour.
Literally the most awkward thing that has ever happened to me. Ever.
Fortunately, this year was waaaaay different
Since last year's FinCon, I've been super fortunate to be able to grow this site's reach and community exponentially. 180,000+ monthly readers, 30k very active Facebook likes, 17k Twitter follows, and almost 4k awesome people in the M$M private Facebook group.
That, in turn, gets you noticed. I was invited to swanky dinners and cool exclusive cocktail parties this year, as well as one-on-one meetings with brands that were interested in potentially partnering up.
In addition, the site was nominated for blog of the year and the People's Choice award. I didn't win either one, but that wasn't really the goal this year. Even getting nominated by you was a big deal to me! If you voted for me, I heart you.
I just wanted my hard work to be noticed in 2017. This thing has come a looooong way from the early days of M$M.
It was surreal getting in the elevator and people saying: “Hey, I know you!“. I was stopped a lot by people that just wanted to introduce themselves or thank me for motivating them along the way.
And yes, I know everything above is a giant #humblebrag, but it wasn't really about feeling famous or anything. Even the most popular bloggers in the world are like z-list celebrities.
For me, it was more about seeing the progress. Just like paying off debt or investing, you can get lost along the way…
I haven't mentioned it on the site, but for the past three months or so I felt like the business had hit a wall. Of course, I'm making great money and things are going well. But I've found that those things wear off pretty quickly.
If you aren't steadily growing revenue, it feels like you're doing something wrong!
All I really needed was a shot of perspective from this conference, and also a reminder of what it was all about:
There are some bloggers that just want to make a bunch of money in the most efficient way possible. The human side of things isn't necessarily the focus for them. There's nothing wrong with that, and I could go that route…but it just doesn't feel right.
Some of the advice out there is basically: “Have someone else answer your emails as you, don't interact in private groups, don't respond to comments, etc.”
Supposedly, that can be a waste of your time as a blogger.
For me? Screw that. I like helping and talking to all of you. If answering comments and interacting with the people that got you to where you are is a waste of time, then I wouldn't do this anymore.
I always get questions about how I built a loyal audience or why I've had success so quickly. It's really not that hard – I took time to talk to my readers (and more importantly listen to what was going on in their lives with personal finance) and built everything around that.
Of course, there are ways that I can streamline my process, but I can't ever take away the reader interaction just to make a buck. My favorite thing about my business is the private Facebook group, and I don't even make money from it!
So ultimately, I was able to hone in on what my focus needs to be moving forward with the site and what type of content I should be creating for all of you. FinCon had insane ROI for me in that regard.
If you like money, you should be excited about the future
So aside from meeting all of the cool people at FinCon and hanging out with other bloggers, there are also a lot of brands there to talk about their upcoming products.
I can't really go into too much detail here, but I will say that there are some pretty cool new apps and technology coming out from the fintech startup space.
We're talking programs that automatically optimize the whole credit card reward point/travel hacking thing for you, companies that are helping customers take the guesswork out of selecting health care plans, and on a larger scale – possibly a future where computer algorithms can make all of your financial decisions for you.
Also….yes. I'm going to create a podcast
I have had soooo many readers ask me about doing a M$M podcast, and I've never really made a decision on it.
But in the process of creating the Make Money Marketing course (which is all voice recorded), I realized that I might actually have some talent on the audio side of things. That, along with a lot of conversations with other podcasters at the convention, made me realize that it's something I need to do to further grow the M$M brand.
Podcasting is a technical beast and can take a lot of time, so I'll probably just hire out the editing process and tech side of things to someone else and focus on creating a great product.
Later in November, I'll start putting the plan together for it and then start rolling out episodes on the site periodically to test the waters.
It will be cool.
As always, thank you!
Seriously – if you voted for the site over the past week or stopped me to chat at FinCon, it means the world to me. I think that we are creating a community here that's truly special. I'll do everything I can to make it awesome for you in 2018 (and beyond). 🙂