FinCon 2019 was one word, AMAZING! Okay, that's the end of this article. I will see you next time. Just kidding! A FinCon Experience would not be complete without an accompanying blog post. It is like a wright of passage! There were so many things going on that I couldn't get to them all. But, I guess that brings me to my first tip:
1. Focus on building relationships
When I was planning for FinCon, I used the app to make a schedule of breakout sessions and meetups that I wanted to attend. I have severe anxiety and a type-A personality, so I love to plan well ahead of time. I will tell you that none of my plans happened but, that was by design. I quickly learned that this time should be used to meet other people while focusing on collaborations and partnerships. I met so many money nerds like myself! I ended up with a stack of business cards about 2-3 inches thick!
2. Be sure to bring plenty of business cards
I had bought a massive stack of business cards and almost ran out the last day. Everyone you encounter asks for a business card and trust me, you don't want to be THAT person. I learned the first day to just keep them in my back pocket instead of my bag, so they are always readily accessible. After the first day of fumbling through my tote bag at least 50 times, I learned my lesson. A lot of people had business cards with their face on them. I may consider that for next year's conference as you meet so many people, it's hard to remember them all.
Going in, I didn't know what to expect or what to pack to wear, so I played it safe and bought only jeans and t-shirts. I was thinking if I am underdressed at least, I'll be comfortable! I did bring one dress, but I didn't even get to wear it. FinCon is very relaxed, and I didn't feel awkward at all wearing my jeans and t-shirts every day, even at the awards show! Also, people are so busy networking or running to breakouts that they don't care what you wear. Be comfortable!
4. Wear your branded attire
I bought only Money Talk With Tiff t-shirts (available here) and it worked out fantastic. Everyone had the same idea. Hehe! But, I did get a lot of people interested in my shirts and made a few sales.
5. Talk to the companies
When I went, I was afraid to talk to the companies because I know I'm a newbie and my numbers aren't as strong as some of the veterans. I decided to face my fears and do what I do best, talk! It paid off! I had facetime with a few company representatives that ended in a few sponsorships and partnerships. I also went to the tables of a few companies I had never heard of and ended up trying out some new FinTech.
6. Grab swag
I LOVE swag! I left with so many t-shirts that I wore one every day since I got back and I just ran out. LOL! I have munched on Ally's cookies and macaroons, ate AARP's chocolate covered coffee beans to attempt an energy boost, used Haven Life's water bottle, took home at least 5 free books, took great pictures and participated in video series. None of this would have been possible if I didn't stop at the tables for swag.
7. Go to the big talks and awards show
I made a lot of connections just going to the main events. Also, it just feels good to be in a room of people just like you, with the same mission you have. I was in heaven! The speakers were great! I have followed Ramit Sethi for some time and always recommend his book "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" to those that need the basics.
8. Be sure to eat and sleep
I know this sounds like a no brainer but the first day I did not eat for a full 24 hours because I wanted to do all the things! Be sure to make time for food. You do not want to be the overachiever that passed out at FinCon because you didn't eat. After the first day, I made sure I made time to eat. Also, there will be late nights and early mornings. Luckily, I am a morning person, so I was able to get up with no problem after being out networking until like 1 or 2 am every night. But, if you are not a morning person, be sure you know when to turn in, so you don't miss the morning opportunities.
9. Be supportive
If you are in the online community, you know how supportive everyone is! Keep that same energy in person! I encouraged a lot of people while I was there and offered whatever knowledge I could give to their situation and other people did the same for me.
10. Just have fun!
Don't take yourself too seriously. Be authentic. Be yourself! People can tell if you are putting on a front. If you are new to the financial coaching/blogging/podcasting/YouTubing space, own it. If your numbers are low, own it. If you don't know what path or direction you want to take, own it. I was on the fence about a few things before I went to FinCon, but because I was transparent to people, I was able to get clarity and resolve on them (for the most part). I left with a plan and purpose in mind and was able to come home and get to work! If I wasn't my true, authentic self, I couldn't have made the connections or had the discussion because people would have seen straight through it.
Bonus tip: Purchase your ticket for next year while at the conference because that's when the tickets are the cheapest.
A tremendous thank you to the FinCon team to allow me the opportunity to go on a scholarship. I wouldn't have made it otherwise! See you at FinCon 2020!