It is official. I have found my people y’all! My tribe!
I was SUPER excited to attend my first FinCon a few weeks ago!
If you are unfamiliar with FinCon it is an annual conference (and a growing community) for personal finance influencers and their fans.
In real life I don’t know anyone else who gets excited about budgets, frugal living, and financial freedom like I do. That is primarily the reason why I fell into the rabbit hole of personal finance on Youtube in the first place. I was looking for like-minded people who shared a love of all things personal finance.
I soon realized that others existed, I wasn’t alone after all! There are other super money nerds like me in the universe.
Along the way I learned many critical lessons and I read countless blogs and listened to more podcasts than I can name. As I listened to various podcasts I kept hearing about FinCon but had no idea what it was. After a little research online I made up my mind that I had to attend so I purchased my ticket on Black Friday 2016.
As a frugal blogger I despise Black Friday sales and usually refuse to buy anything but I was more than happy to make an exception and drop a few of my hard earned coins to pay for my registration.
Why I went
As a YouTuber and blogger I am a part of a community of people with common interests, but content creation can be kinda lonely. It is easy to get caught up in your own little bubble, obsessing over likes and instagram hearts and spending a ton of time responding to comments, but never really connecting with others within the same digital space. And as a natural introvert I am usually content to blend into the background.
But before I left for Dallas I promised myself that I would not stay in my room. I would spend as much time as I could interacting with my peers, attending workshops, and making lasting connections and relationships.
Inspiration and New Ideas
Prior to attending FinCon I had reached a place where I felt stagnant with my content. I started the YouTube channel on a whim without any real direction, but it had somehow grown to almost 15,000 subscribers and I was unsure where I was headed. The blog, started a little under a year ago, is still struggling to gain momentum. My audience knows me for video creation and most would rather watch a 5 minute video than take 10 mins to read a blog post. With only a few people reading, I questioned whether or not to even stick with blogging. There are already so many frugal bloggers out here in the blogosphere. How could I differentiate myself and get people interested in reading? These are questions I was hoping to find the answer to at FinCon.
Who I Met
Too many people to name! But here are a few!
PT Money: Founder of FinCon
Tai and Talaat McNeely: His and Her Money
Paula Pant: Afford Anything
Alanya Kolberg: Bottom Up Wealth
Jamila Souffrant: Journey to Launch
Mr. V: Plenteouz
Jonathan Mendonsa: ChooseFi
Latisha Styles: Latishastyles.com
Sonya Smith Valentine: Financially Fierce
Ashley Goggins: My Credit Bar
Sarah: Budget Girl
Tasha: One Big Happy
Cassandra Cummings: Stocks and Stilletos
Katasha: Broke Girl Rehab
I even ran into a few of my YouTube subscribers! On day 2 of the conference I was walking in the exhibit hall and one young lady was smiling and waving. Although she was standing directly in my line of sight I turned around and looked behind me like, ok who we waving at?!? Turns out she was waving at me! Such a humbling experience to meet people in real life who enjoy my content.
What I learned
So much!! The workshop presenters were amazing and the keynote speakers included Darren Rowse (ProBlogger), Nicole Walters, and David Bach. So, I have a notebook full of ideas and inspired thoughts but I will just share a few of the highlights:
1. I need to stop winging it.
Although there is no lack of ideas on my part, I realized that I lacked clarity about where I was going with the FrugalChicLife brand. The lack of intentionality and organization caused me to feel scatterbrained all the time and stuck in a creative rut. Being a busy wife and mom with a full-time day job, I can’t afford to be disorganized.
And, instead of making excuses about why I can’t get things done, about why I’m not making progress, I need to make adjustments. One of the things at the top of my to-do-list is to create start working on a content calendar for 2018 so that I am clear on my direction at all times.
2. By trying to serve everyone, I’m serving no one.
I’m doing way too much…I need to get laser focused on the audience that I intend to serve (that’s you!) and streamline my content based on that. If you are in my Facebook group, FrugalChicFinance, then you have probably noticed me asking more questions and doing more listening than talking. Based on the feedback that I have received I have changed the tagline for my entire brand. My new tagline is Earn More, Spend Less, Grow the Gap. Moving forward the majority of my content will fall under these broad categories. More info coming soon!
3. If I follow my passion, profits will come.
Is it terrible that I find myself resenting my full-time job? Because it’s interfering with my ability to spend more time on FrugalChicLife? I feel as if I don’t have time to work! When I’m working on FrugalChicLife it doesn’t actually feel like work. And that is a great feeling. I am passionate about helping others to live their best financial life!
But if I can’t generate enough revenue to at least the basic expenses associated with running the blog and channel it will be hard to justify keeping it going. At present any money generated (plus some extra cash) is immediately re-invested in equipment, tools, and other resources. To justify the ongoing costs, and the investment of time and energy, I need to be more strategic about monetizing the brand. If not, all of this is just an expensive hobby, not a real business.
With that being said I have already crafted my mantra for the upcoming year. For me ,2018 will be about transitioning from passion to profit.
4. Stop spending so much time on busy work.
I’ve spent a lot of time on things that probably don’t matter much, such as selecting images to feature on blog posts, playing around with different fonts, designing thumbnails, tweaking the blog menu, and other aesthetics. These things are important but not critical.
I read some blogs that are HORRIBLE looking but the content is golden. A pretty website means nothing if the content isn’t consistent and thought-provoking. Good content is also no good unless people actually see it. In 2018 I plan to focus on marketing, developing affiliate relationships, offering services such as coaching, and creating products.
5. The importance of investing in myself.
There are tons of gaps in my knowledge as it relates to things like marketing, advertising, even writing. In the coming year I would like to continue honing my skills in these areas. I might even invest in a business coach to give me the accountability that I need to follow through with my business goals.
6. There is room at the table for me.
I intentionally did not bring business cards to bring to FinCon because I thought no one would want one. I figured I would just go and be a fan…again, not really thinking like a business owner.
Self-doubt rears its ugly head all the time. What if no one reads? What is no one watches or shows up? Why would anyone listen to me or take me seriously?
Feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure are always lurking just under the surface. But I’ve discovered that almost all entrepreneurs experience this type of doubt at some point on their path. I’m determined to move forward in action, even if I have to do it scared. Because people are reading, watching, and listening. And because I have something to offer.
Almost three weeks later and I am still on a post-FinCon high! I sure hope the excitement and momentum lasts. I immediately got back home and sent a broadcast out to my email list sharing my excitement about what is to come in 2018. The response has been amazing.
I have joined four different Facebook groups with other FinCon attendees who are looking to stay in contact and build relationships Post-FinCon.
As for the channel, the blog, and the brand. There will be a few changes. Details to come. But definitely more consistency across all platforms.
Would I go again
Heck yeah! I already purchased my registration for Orlando for FinCon 2018! Maybe I’ll see you there.