Countdown to #FinCon18: 7 Ways I’m Preparing for This Year’s Event
It’s happening — in just six weeks, I’ll be attending my first ever FinCon expo! Held in sunny Orlando, Florida this time around, the event will take place September 26th through the 29th, with passes still available. With so many of the personal finance bloggers I read and look up to set to attend as well, I’m truly looking forward to learning a lot at FinCon and, as a result, have been preparing myself for the big day over the past few weeks and months.
With that in mind, here are seven ways I’m prepping myself for this FinCon ’18:
Making travel accommodations
Unless you already live in the Orlando area (as many of my friends actually do, incidentally), attending this year’s FinCon will require some travel. Luckily for me, I have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to getting to Central Florida and spending a few days. While I originally considered flying from SGF to Orlando Sanford International Airport on Allegiant, my wife and I decided it would make more sense to drive instead.
Next up was finding a hotel. This year’s FinCon event is being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando and I briefly considered just getting a room there (especially after I found a deal on Expedia). However, it turns out my in-laws have some extra points for their Wyndham timeshare and were willing to book us a room near my beloved Walt Disney World, about 20 minutes from the convention. But, for those who aren’t as fortunate to have such a hookup, Orlando is home to hundreds of hotels and resorts at just about every budget level — many of which are probably within a few minutes of the FinCon host hotel.
Downloading the app
These days it’s never enough to just have a website, you have to have to have an app as well. Of course, that belief has led to some really sub-par apps that basically serve as stripped-down versions of sites. Thankfully, this is not the case for the official #FinCon18 app.
One of the main reasons I downloaded the FinCon app was to explore the presentation schedule (more on that in a minute). However, I soon discovered that it had much more to offer than that. For example, instead of just being an anonymous user on the app, you can set up a profile with a picture, social media link, website link, and “niche tags” with your specific personal finance interests. From there, the app also hosts an Activity Stream that basically acts like its own Facebook feed, allowing attendees to interact with each other before the convention itself.
Another interesting section of the app I discovered was the list of Exhibitors. Say, for example, you’ve been curious about using CJ (formerly Commision Junction) to grow your site’s affiliate income, you’ll be happy to know that they’ll be exhibitors at the expo. Currently, this list consists of just logos and links, but it’s still a nice preview of what to expect from that aspect of the event.
Reviewing the schedule
Beyond the networking opportunities of FinCon, there is also a lot to be learned not just about personal finance itself but also about how to grow your brand within the space. That’s where the convention’s many keynotes and presentations come into play. As you’d expect from an expo of its size, FinCon ’18 has a packed schedule of events you can attend, making it worthwhile to go in with a plan.
Like I mentioned, I’ve found the FinCon app to be a great way to explore these presentations and start sketching out my days. Not only are you able to easily scroll through the schedule for each day and view a description of the presentation, but you can also mark ones that interest you as “Favorites,” making it easy to revisit as you start to narrow your choices down. Additionally, you can even set reminders so that you don’t accidentally miss one of the presentations you want to attend. Finally, the app also offers a number of filter options to help you make your decisions such as viewing by interest (known as “Tracks”), browsing through speakers, and more. All that said, you can always view the full schedule on the FinCon website as well.
Following on social media and joining Facebook Group
In case you haven’t caught on yet, FinCon is meant to be a truly social event — starting well before the event itself ever kicks offs. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you’re following FinCon on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else you like to consume your social media. But, if you want to dive in even further, I’d recommend joining the FinCon Community Facebook Group.
The group is a closed one, so you’ll need to be approved in order to join, but it appears to welcome all event attendees. In addition to featuring some helpful FinCon-related info and discussion, the group also seems to function almost as a focused HARO (Help a Reporter Out) at times, with bloggers looking to flesh out their pieces with ideas from their fellow money nerds. All in all, it seems like a great community and an awesome place to make connections before and after the event. P.S. — there are also separate closed group pages for FinCon YouTubers and Podcasters that may be worth looking into if you’re a part of either field.
Watching FinCon videos
Speaking of YouTube, I’ve really been enjoying falling down the rabbit hole of past FinCon content on the platform. From sizzle reels to full keynotes, the videos on their official channel have really helped get me hyped for September 26th. Similarly, the aforementioned FinCon Facebook page hosts a number of videos discussing the upcoming event, with one of my favorites being a discussion between FinCon founder Philip Taylor (A.K.A. “P.T.”) and the convention’s Social & Orientation Leader Nick True about eight new things coming to FinCon ’18. Even as a first-time attendee, it was super interesting to hear what changes the convention is making as it continues to expand.
Reading other people’s articles
It’s one thing to see and read about what the people involved with FinCon have to say about their event and another to hear about it from a third party. That’s why I was really interested to come across Jim Wang’s “10 Ways to Make the Most of the @FinCon Conference” article over on WalletHacks. In it, he shares some tips for attendees while also painting a picture of what the experience is like overall — something that definitely speaks to me as someone who hasn’t been until now. Obviously Jim isn’t the only one sharing their FinCon stories as we speed toward September, so you can bet my reading list has been growing with each passing day.
Ordering business cards
Lastly, as great as making digital connections can be, there’s still value in a having a physical reminder of who you’ve met and spoken to. To that point, I recently realized that, while I have a handful of generic business cards for myself, I didn’t have any Money@30 business cards. Now that we’re just about a month away from the event, that’s about to change.
As it turns out, designing a great business card is much harder than I thought. Sure I could slap my name, logo, and e-mail on a piece of cardboard and call it a day, but I’m really trying to express myself and my site on a 3.5 x 2-inch piece of paper. So, in between binging FinCon content and reading up on the group boards, I’ve been hard at work crafting the perfect first impression for myself — hopefully it pays off.
At this point, I trust it’s pretty clear that I’m really looking forward to attending my first FinCon expo this year. Whether you’re a newbie like me or a seasoned veteran, I hope you’re getting pumped to head to Orlando for the big event as well. On that note, stay tuned for more of my Countdown to #FinCon18 series — and see you in Orlando in six weeks!
This article was first published on Money@30.