Like most new things, I’m generally late to the party.
- I didn’t switch from tapes to CDs until tape players were featured in museums.
- Smart phones were out for years before I could grasp the need to check email on the go.
- Periscope is all the rage now. Talk to me again in 5 years.
That’s my thing. It takes me a while to jump on most bandwagons. I’m okay with that. That’s just how I roll.
Speaking of rolling, this weekend we spent time in Charlotte for FinCon with a fantastic group of bloggers, financial experts, and my family (we travel as a pack). This year was the fifth gathering for “money nerds”. It would be my first.
I’ve always heard good things about the conference. The first one was down the street from me and I still didn’t make it. I’m pretty sure I was pregnant that year, so I’m going with that excuse.
However, this year, we ventured forth and I have to say I had an amazing experience.
Conferences can be expensive. Let’s just be honest. They are great educational resources and networking with like-minded souls provides infinite possibilities. There is, however, a significant, upfront investment required to make that happen.
For our trip, we spent:
- $270 for 3 round trip plane tickets on Southwest (that’s actually fantastic!!)
- $300 for a rental car. We drove from Maryland after a weekend with the grands to Charlotte.
- $300 for two days in the hotel. I left early this year to get the cheaper return flight. Kind of regret that decision.
- $40 for parking. This was pure laziness. We didn’t move the car to the cheaper lots near the hotel.
- $30 in gas.
Grand total (not counting food) was almost $900 for a family of 4. Because I spoke, the conference fee was waived. Registration would have been another $300.
Coming down from the FinCon high, it’s time to evaluate the potential return on investment. Yes FinCon was amazing, but was it worth the money?
To determine my ROI, I’ll be looking at the following criteria:
The workshop topics were phenomenal. I missed so many workshops though. No worries. They were all recorded. I cannot wait to dig into the sessions that I missed.
I’ll be able to learn how more successful bloggers are making strides in areas that I need help. I’ll also be exposed to strategies or concepts that I need to know to take this blog to new heights. The more successful I can make this blog, the more help I can offer to the the #teamdebtfree community.
I’ll only be able to quantify the ROI in area over time. So I’ll definitely come back to this later.
Speaking to a public relations expert at the conference was insightful. He urged me to get cards from 5 people during the expo with the intention of following up later. I got 4. I could have given more energy to the networking expo.
I did, however, have an amazing conversation with a representative from Commission Junction in an informal setting. She suggested resources to review for freelance opportunities and she’s working to develop a sponsorship stream for podcasters. Whoo hooo!!! Connecting personally with a person who is building a network of podcast host has great potential. Again, quantifying this return will take more time. I’ll keep you all updated.
I also participated in the Freelance Marketplace. This was like speed dating with brands. We had 5 minutes to chat, share media kits, and learn what various sites were offering. I have about 6 contacts that need to be followed up on today. Hopefully, the meeting in person will help my application stand out from the crowd. We’ll soon see.
Podcasting has gotten very popular. I can’t believe I got into a trend before it was one. TradeKing sponsored the podcast stage and thus paid everyone $50 to mention their name. I interviewed Marsha Barnes about creating the Finance Bar – the first mobile literacy education course.
I was also interviewed for an Experian podcast. While there is no direct compensation involved, the chance to share my story and talk about Debt Free Divas to a larger audience has the potential for growth. Plus, this very cool artist created a pictorial representation of the interview while I was talking. So cool!
It might be a coincidence that someone from Kasai Media (a major conference sponsor) reached out to me immediately after FinCon to participate and a very interesting project. It also might be as a result of something that happened at the conference. Who knows? I just know that I generally don’t have people email me and offer to pay me for something that doesn’t make my spidy senses stand on end.
It’s not a confirmed deal yet. However, it’s an exciting opportunity that I’m definitely including in my ROI calculation.
My focus in attending the conference was to learn more about freelance writing opportunities and connect with potential clients. Check and check!
I met so many amazing people. I have lined up enough interesting guests to take the Midday Money Show all the way until next year’s FinCon.
I connected in person with buds that I’ve known only online. The Debt Free Guys got me to take a group selfie and like it (I don’t do selfies).
There’s a teenager and her mom teaching teens about money. How cool is that?
Even Steven is hilarious and he lives in the same city. We’re going to have to do lunch.
I volunteered to be a virtual laugh track for Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. She cracks me up, but that’s not very hard to do.
I woke up early and ran into J.Money, Stephanie O’Connel, and Nick Loper. I’ve had a business crush on all of these folks for years.
Of course, I connected in person for the first time with my mastermind group as we shared tips for starting your own. If you missed our session, you can download our free book to get all the same information and more.
So far, in the bank I only have $50 as a result of the conference. The jury is still out – waiting for more information before I can calculate the actual ROI. As with other investments, it takes time to realize the the potential upside. In the meantime, I’m still floating from a fabulous weekend and am looking forward to applying this new energy to the Debt Free Divas community.
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