After two weeks of traveling, first through the Caribbean for a proper vacation and then to San Diego for The 7th Annual Financial Blogger Conference, I am ready to get back to blogging, podcasting and connecting with the Make Money Your Honey Community.
To be honest, I’m currently sitting on a plane on the way back to Florida trying to process the last couple of weeks. I spent a week on a cruise visiting The Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten (all photos can be found on Instagram). Then I had a day at home and flew out early the next morning to spend a few days in San Diego.
One of the reasons I wanted an online business was so that I could have flexibility with my time and travel, and now I’m actually doing it. It’s always crazy when you notice your hard work starting to pay off and I’m so grateful for the lifestyle that freelancing, blogging, and coaching has allowed me to have. In addition. I’m grateful for all my friends and colleagues who continue to teach me about money. Without their knowledge I wouldn’t be able to do any of this.
Now, let’s get to FinCon. As I do every year, I’m going to lay out exactly what I loved about my favorite conference of the year.
I got to hang out with my people.
Yes, I go to FinCon every year for business, but it’s also like a huge family reunion for money nerds. The financial blogger community is really tight, and I’m happy to say that these people aren’t just colleagues and peers, they are also friends that I have an absolute blast with.
From the Colorful Money crew to the late night fire pits at the hotel, I have to say that the best part of FinCon for me is always hanging out with my online friends in person.
I got to bring a team member with me for the first time.
My entire team is virtual, meaning I barely ever actually get to see them in person. The last time I saw my virtual assistant in person was two years ago when I went on a trip to Philly. This year, I decided to bring my VA Lyn along with me to FinCon.
Building support in your business is so important, and I realized during this conference that having support in person is also extremely beneficial. Lyn helped take pictures and write social media posts while I was speaking and getting interviewed. She kept me in the loop of my schedule. She handled emails and business cards. She helped me give books to people who asked questions during the panel I participated in. I mean, really, she was an absolute godsend.
I got to help her beta test her live event assistance service and she helped me not to lose my mind lol.
What’s even cooler is that I always wanted to be able to fly team members to conferences with me, so the fact that I was able to do it this year is really cool and is a testament to how far this blog has taken me. Maybe one day we can have a team retreat!
We covered really taboo topics and it was awesome.
Money, in general, is a pretty taboo topic, but I am thrilled to see that the FinCon community takes it a step further by discussing the real issues people face with money every day. Here are just some of the conversations that were had at events and podcasts:
- How we can help people of color better understand personal finances.
- The challenges the underbanked face when trying to do something as simple as cash a check.
- Women and money.
- Money and relationships.
- Mental health and money.
- Money and politics.
- Money and religion.
I have to say, it’s amazing that this community of bloggers is really going there and covering issues that more establishment media sources may shy away from. Not only that, but we’re trying our best to actually help people. We know we have a responsibility to our readers and communities and I’m so proud that this community isn’t afraid to talk about these issues.
The parties were dope.
The parties and events at FinCon have always been amazing, but good Lord they stepped up their game! There were so many parties and meetups going on that it was impossible to attend them all, but here were some of the event highlights for me:
- Dumplings and pot stickers at a really good local restaurant courtesy of Experian. Yes, a credit bureau throws parties.
- The Fidelity Women and Money Dinner. They took us out on an old school yacht through the San Diego Harbor. We saw the skyline from the water, we saw sea lions and we saw the sunset while having a fascinating discussion about what women deal with when it comes to money.
- The opening party at Coasterra sponsored by TradeKing. Oh my gosh, this venue was beautiful! You almost felt as if you were in a floating club in the Harbor while looking at the skyline and bridge.
- SoFi Happy Hour. SoFi always throws good parties. This time, they threw a roof top party in downtown San Diego (which by the way is absolutely beautiful and charming).
- Ignite, of course. It was held at an underground club called Bassmnt and sponsored by Centsai. The venue was SICK.
- PT Money sponsored an Ignite after party and rented out the club for us. The DJ in the hip-hop room was good! I danced my face off with Latisha Styles of Young Finances, Zina Kumok of Debt Free After Three and Michelle Jackson of The Shop My Closet Project.
- The closing party was also beautiful. It was held out in the hotel’s lawn which overlooks the bay and was decorated with tree lights and paper lanterns.
We rocked the Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing panel!
On the last day of the conference, I was on a panel with Miranda Marquit of Planting Money Seeds, Emily Guy Birken who is a four-time personal finance author and Bobbi Rebbel who is a journalist for Reuters and has a forthcoming book called “How to Be a Financial Grown Up.”
The premise of the panel was to teach people about the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing through our own experiences. Let me tell you, we were on fire and the audience was digging it! They were so engaged and were asking phenomenal questions!
I didn’t get to attend the other sessions because I was taking a lot of meetings, but I’m told they were amazing (I would expect nothing less) and I will definitely be watching them as soon as the recordings are made available.
I got to mentor some amazing bloggers and watch my coaching clients rock it!
One of my goals each year is to help as many people as I can, especially if they are newer to blogging. I had the privilege of doing some mentoring with Samantha Ottley Porter of Kidz Count, Natasha M. Campbell of The Wealth Stylist, Kara Perez of From Frugal to Free, and Khaleef and Sherrian Crumbley of KNS Financial/Fat Guy Skinny Wallet.
I got to hang out with the cool websites I write for.
I have some pretty awesome writing clients. I got to hang a bit with John Rampton of Due.com and Han Chang of Investment Zen. I’ve been writing for both sites for quite some time and it’s always fun to actually hang out with your clients in person – especially if they are money nerds with dance moves.
I also got to hang out with Jackson from Kasasa. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out my review of Kasasa, you can do so here.
We won a Plutus Award for Best Designed Personal Finance Blog!
We won Best Dressed Blog! For those who don’t know, The Plutus Awards are the industry award for personal finance bloggers and content creators. We are nominated by our readers and peers and then a panel of bloggers chooses the finalist.
Thank you to all the subscribers and social media followers who voted for my blog and helped make this possible! It’s my first Plutus Award (I was a finalist for Best PF Blog for Millennials last year but did not win) and I’m so thrilled about it!
The team and I worked so hard on this rebrand in 2015 and I’m so excited that it’s getting some major recognition!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to a surfing lesson like some of the other bloggers did because I was on a tight travel schedule. I guess I’ll have to come back to California and make that happen.
Overall, FinCon was amazing as usual. It’s always bittersweet to leave. On the one hand, you’re fired up and ready to get back to work. You also probably miss your own bed, especially if you’ve been traveling quite a bit like I have. On the other hand, it’s always a little upsetting to say goodbye to these amazing people until you see them again the next year.
With that being said, I already bought my ticket for Dallas 2017! Now, who is coming with me?