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Another FinCon is in the books, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of DollarSprout. Me, Ben, and the rest of the team had an amazing time, met lots of new (and old) friends, and learned so much.

I came away from our week in Washington, D.C. with a fresh dose of motivation to take the site to the next level for our readers and I can’t wait to dive back in!

What is FinCon?

FinCon is an annual conference where money nerds from all over the world hang out together, in person, for 4 days and talk about all things personal finance. “Where money and media meet” is the official tagline of FinCon, which I think sums it up perfectly:

FinCon: Where Money and Media Meet

Goals We Had Going Into FinCon

This year was our second FinCon, so Ben and I had a better idea of what to expect coming in than we did last year. Before the conference, we came up with a few specific things we wanted to accomplish:

✅ Make New Blogging Friends

This community gets bigger and bigger every year, which makes it pretty much impossible to meet everyone. In fact, this year there were roughly 2,500 attendees — up from 2,000 the previous year.

Our number one goal going into FinCon was to make as many new friends as possible. There are so many creative minds in this space and most of us share the same goal: to help people get better with money. We all go about it in different ways; some people blog about their own debt payoff journey, others have entire podcasts dedicated to helping listeners reach financial independence and early retirement, and some do a little bit of everything. When you get all of these people together at one conference, it’s a neat feeling that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.

I met so many people at FinCon (too many to list them all out, sorry!), but here are some that really stuck out to me:

Camilo and Francisco from The Finance Twins – Their story is really inspiring to me and I’m so glad I ran into them on an elevator on the first day (and at the closing party). They’re both super intelligent and down-to-earth guys, and their Instagram game is awesome. Do yourself a favor and go follow them now!

 

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Todd Tresidder from Financial Mentor – Todd has been a big name in the personal finance blogging world for years. I remember back when Ben and I were starting out, his site was one of the few that we really admired. The design, the content, the branding — everything was just so “fresh”. I was so happy to finally meet him! Todd and I talked for about a half hour, and he shared some really helpful business/life advice with me that I don’t think I could have ever gotten from a blog post.

Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents and Wealth Hacker Labs Both Jeff and Todd missed FinCon last year, so they were at the top of my “hit list” for people I wanted to make sure I met this year. Jeff is easily one of the most well-rounded personal finance bloggers out there — he is crushing it on YouTube (a very tough platform), Instagram, Twitter, etc., and of course his blog. It was great to meet another one of those bloggers that Ben and I have looked up to for years.

Philip Taylor, a.k.a. PT Money & FinCon Founder I don’t remember where I was on my way to, but PT called out my name in a somewhat crowded hallway just to come say “hi” and catch up for a few minutes. This man must meet literally hundreds of people each year at FinCon (while also running the event), so I was a little surprised he remembered me and took time out of his day to chat for a few. My goal next year is to finally muster up the courage to give a talk at FinCon!

Other online friends we got to meet in person for the first (or second) time:

This list is not comprehensive! I apologize if I left anyone out!

✅ Have a DollarSprout Team Dinner

We did it! It probably sounds cheesy, but this was the absolute highlight of my trip.

When Ben and I started DollarSprout a few years ago, it was just the two of us sharing a kitchen table in our apartment, fiddling away on our laptops all day, every day. As the site has grown, we’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of the kindest, coolest, hardest working people in the industry, whether they’re freelancers or full-time employees. Since we are a 100% remote company (meaning each of us works from home, all across the country), we knew that FinCon was a rare opportunity for most of the team to get together, grab dinner, and just hang out with each other as regular people.

Speaking for myself, I know that seeing everyone in person that has helped build DollarSprout to what it is today really humbled me. It made me even more motivated to keep striving for more and create the best company we can. We wouldn’t be anywhere without these guys and gals!

 

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Dinner with the crew 🌱

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✅ Find a New Project to Get Excited About

The financial media industry is interesting. It’s one of the only fields I’ve worked in where you can use as much or as little creativity as you want, and there is no one there to necessarily tell you when to focus on the basics vs. step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Ben and I both have a tendency to keep doing the same thing over and over once we find something that works, whether it’s a content strategy, social media channel, or something else. The problem with that approach is that it’s easy to fall into a rut and lose a bit of your “spark” that sets you apart from the crowd. I think it’s something that was slowly starting to creep up on us, so in a way, FinCon came at the perfect time for us.

One of the biggest takeaways I got from FinCon was the importance of building a brand — not just another personal finance blog. While we’ve been slowly building up our YouTube channel for the past few months and growing our DollarSprout Facebook Community, I/we finally decided that…..

…it’s time to get DollarSprout on Instagram!

At the time of this writing, we’ve only made our first post, but it’s a start. With this platform, I’m hoping we can reach more people with quicker tidbits of information, money tips, inspiration, etc., than we’ve ever been able to before. Like any new platform, there will be a learning curve for us, but I’m excited to have a new creative outlet to connect with our readers (and our blogging friends).

Another project Ben and I are excited to dive into is revamping our entire email strategy. I went to Pete McPherson’s workshop on Friday and left with all sorts of ideas on how we can step up our email game. More on that to come soon!

❌ Keep My Voice Intact

Despite trying my best to prevent it, I still lost my voice (not as bad as Ben, though). One of these years I will figure out how to make my voice last longer than a day at this conference!

❌ Be Frugal

I’m starting to realize how hard it is save money when you’re visiting a big city. Between expensive parking, food, lodging, etc., we spent a lot of money at FinCon. I’m sure there are areas we could have saved a little bit here and there, but even with how much we spent, I know FinCon was a positive investment for us. I would gladly to it again!

Other Notable Happenings at FinCon

FinCon is a jam packed week of collaboration and overall good vibes. Here are a couple other fun things from our week in D.C.:

Tanja Hester Won the Community Builder Plutus Award

The Plutus Awards Ceremony takes place every year on the last day of FinCon. These awards are meant to recognize members of the personal finance community who are doing amazing things and standing out in their respective niche (eg, best student loan debt blog, best investing blog, best podcast, etc).

This year, DollarSprout sponsored the Community Builder Award, which was won by Tanja Hester of Our Next Life. I wasn’t able to get a good picture of her accepting the award, but I did manage to snap a shot of her delivering one of the opening keynote speeches at the beginning of the conference, which was an amazing talk.

I haven’t had the chance to meet Tanja yet personally, but from following her on Twitter and hearing everyone speak so highly of her, I know she’s a very deserving recipient of the award. Congrats, Tanja!

Financial Freedom Summit was Announced

FinCon, in partnership with Grant Sabatier of Millennial Money and ChooseFI, announced the launch of the Financial Freedom Summit in St. Louis, MO from May 1st – May 3rd 2020.

Think of the summit as the consumer-facing version of FinCon. Rather than content creators meeting with brands and other business partners, the Financial Freedom Summit is where content creators get to meet face-to-face with readers, listeners, and fans.

Financial Freedom Summit

Early bird tickets are on sale right now for $197. An investment for many, but one that is guaranteed to change your life (and the way you think about money).

Over the course of 3 days you’ll hear from 50+ expert speakers touching on every financial topic you can imagine. From paying off debt, to crushing student loans, to maximizing investment returns, any topic of interest to you will be covered.

If you decide to attend, even one mindset change will pay for the tickets 10x over. One subtle change to how you approach your debt. One subtle change to how you tackle your loans. That’s all it takes. It will truly be life-changing for so many, and we hope to see you there!

Until Next Year, Thank You FinCon!

FinCon 2019 was an amazing experience. Ben and I learned so much, met so many people, and have so much we can’t wait to get to work on as a result of the conference. The energy of this community is amazing, and having the opportunity to be a part of it in our own small way means the world to us!

-Jeff

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Author

Hi! I'm Jeff. A personal finance nerd and entrepreneur at heart, I'm here to bring you all the latest cool ways to make and save extra money. I've been quoted in several online publications, including Entrepreneur, NBC News, GoBankingRates, Student Loan Hero, Business.com, Credit Karma, The Simple Dollar, US News & World Report, Lifehacker, MSN Money, Moneyish, Zumper, IdeaMensch, Discover Bank, PrimeRates, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, Club Thrifty, Guru Focus, Rent Track, Fit Small Business, Coupon Chief, and more.

11 comments
Deacon

Great recap Jeff! It was so great to see you and Ben at FinCon. You guys have been an inspiration to me, it has been so great to see DollarSprout grow and be such a valuable resource to people who need financial help. Keep up the great work!

Thanks, Deacon!! You’re not doing too bad yourself, keep it up 🙂

Alex Nerney

Was great meeting you Jeff! Thanks for the shout out brother!

Great meeting you too!

Lance

Hey Jeff! Great recap! I met Ben this year but hopefully I can meet you in person next year. What you guys have done together is amazing and super inspiring.

Thanks Lance. It’s been a grind, but a fun one at that! 😎

Chris @ Money Savvy Mindset

This looks awesome! We are incredibly excited to be attending our first FinCon next year. Hopefully we’ll meet in person next year.

Keep up the hard work,

Chris

Grant Sabatier

It was great to chat with you Jeff and I look forward to continuing the conversation. Thanks so much for mentioning the Financial Freedom Summit! Congrats on all the success and to all ahead!

Joyce Chou

I managed to catch Ben one day, but wish I had also gotten to talk to you, Jeff! Sounds like you had a productive and enjoyable FinCon—hope we can meet next year!

Baby Boomer Super Saver

Nice recap, I’ll be sure to follow you on Instagram! I’m looking forward to FinCon2020, which will be my first! Hope you’ll be there & we get a chance to connect.

Mike Beatty

Sounds like such an awesome event! Thanks for sharing your insights Jeff, I’ll be sure to catch you guys in person next year 👍

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