Last week I attended FinCon, which is a conference for financial bloggers. I made so many amazing friendships and connections during my first FinCon last year that I had high expectations for this year; and I have to say that the whole experience exceeded my expectations. As I sit here and reflect on the five days and four nights of non-stop activities, the only word that really comes to mind is “happy.”
Happy to See Friends
The conference provides an excellent opportunity for networking and growing your various businesses; however, what I love most about it is that it gives me the opportunity to connect with old friends and make new ones. During last year’s conference, I met Melanie from Dear Debt in person; and she became an instant friend of mine. This year we were roommates and I couldn’t have picked a better roommate. We have similar personalities, hustled hard and giggled ourselves to bed just about every night.
I also got to meet Tonya from Budget and the Beach and Mrs. Frugalwoods for the first time in person. Including Melanie, the four of us record the Happy Hour episode for my podcast every month; and it was such a pleasure to experience the joy of happy hour together with each other.
Everywhere I went, I ran into familiar faces and it felt like the best reunion possible. Even bloggers I met for the first time felt familiar since we know each other so well from our online presence. It’s such a gift to see all of these people in one place.
Happy for Business Opportunities
During the conference, I made a number of connections with various companies and bloggers, and I can’t wait to see where these relationships will lead. One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is making connections with people and discovering new business opportunities as a result.
I met a number of people through a two-hour networking event; and despite the fact that it was a crazy speed dating experience, I was inspired by a number of the companies and potential ways that we can work together.
Happy About Community
We had the opportunity to record the Happy Hour episode of the podcast live from the podcasting stage at FinCon (it will come out on this Friday’s podcast), which meant that we would have an audience. 21 podcasts recorded live from the stage over the course of the conference and most just had people walk by briefly and check out what was happening. There were a few that had no audience whatsoever.
During the Martinis and Your Money recording though, there was a crowd of a few dozen people on and off with a little more than a dozen staying for the entire episode. While we were recording, I looked at the crowd gathered to support us and I felt joy and gratitude for them. Many in the group encouraged me to start the podcast at FinCon last year and promised me that they would support a show if I created one so it was overwhelming to watch them hold true to their word.
Happy About Awards
The last night of FinCon is always the Plutus Awards ceremony. The Plutus Awards celebrate the best of the personal finance community and are ultimately voted on by a panel of bloggers. Last year, I was a finalist in two categories, Best Financial Planner Blog and Best Designed Blog, and I lost both to one blogger. I was disappointed at the loss, but quickly got over it by celebrating in loser fashion with my friends.
This year, I was a finalist in the Best Personal Finance Podcast category; however, I had a lot of stiff competition, and since my podcast is relatively young, I assumed I had no chance of winning. I was comfortable with what I felt was an inevitable loss as I was truly thankful just to be nominated. A number of my friends were nominated, though, and I really wanted to see them win.
The award show kicked off and I quickly watched as my friends walked up to collect their trophies; and I was so proud and happy for them that I felt as though I had one too. I know how hard they all work and I loved watching them get the recognition that they deserve. Finally, my category came up and I sat there and waited to hear the So Money podcast announced as the winner that I was shocked when they said “Martinis and Your Money.” Even as I write this, I can’t believe they said it. My friends stood up and cheered and I walked to the stage barely able to breathe.
It was such a surreal moment for me to think about the fact that I decided to start my blog during the Plutus Awards Ceremony at FinCon last year and just one year later, my podcast beat out dozens of other podcasts to win. I am overwhelmed by the support and vote of confidence from the personal finance community that I love so deeply. It was truly one of the more amazing nights of my life, and I thank every single person who voted and supported me. You made me happy beyond words and I am thankful for you.