5 Amazing Lessons from FinCon 2015

5 Amazing Lessons from FinCon 2015 - picture of multiracial hands in stack

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As many of you may know, I attended the financial blogging conference known as FinCon last weekend. While there, I had a blast with all my nerdy blogger friends, made some new ones, and learned lots of new stuff about site monetization, social media, and affiliate marketing.


Although my blog wasn’t nominated for any awards this year, I was up for an award in the Best Contributor/Freelancer in Personal Finance category. Well, I’m happy to report that I won! Not only did I get this swank-azz trophy, but I also got a really cool backpack filled with swag. Try not to hate, okay?

5 Main Takeaways from FinCon 2015

Anyone who knows me already knows that I love FinCon! Being around so many talented writers and entrepreneurs always makes me want to reach for greater heights in terms of my personal and professional goals. And let’s face it – all of my awesome friends inspire me! With that being said, here are some of the main takeaways I brought home from FinCon 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Holly Cat
Me and Cat from Budget Blonde

Lesson #1: The personal finance community is the most amazing group of people like, ever.

If you know me well, you know that my #1 hobby is making money. I don’t care about what the Indianapolis Colts are doing, what the new trends in fashion are, or what the political talking heads are saying; I just want to work, work, work until my head explodes, and make a nice living in the process.

My blogging friends all get that. They’re the kind of people who put in a full day of work on top of their full-time jobs – the kind of people who have like six side hustles and never sleep. The people I work with on a daily basis are the most innovative, creative, hard-working group I have ever met. And they are far too busy being awesome to worry about anything else.

Lesson #2: I need to get on Periscope.

In case you don’t know, Periscope is a Twitter spin-off that lets people stream live video. And apparently, all the cool kids are doing it already. Fortunately, we made our Periscope debut thanks to some adult beverages, some beat-boxing, and some spontaneous rapping from Jacob at IHeartBudgets.net. But we are on there now, bitches!

If you want to get up close and personal with us, follow us on Periscope using @ClubThrifty….stat. We’re going to Periscope all over Italy in a few weeks, and you’ll want to see that. Am I right?

Lesson #3: A lot of people are smarter than me.

One thing I really love about FinCon is learning from other people, including those who are obviously smarter than me! I attended Afford Anything‘s talk on increasing her email list, for example, and learned strategies I had never even considered. Meanwhile, talking to Grayson from iMark Interactive reminded me how much I suck at monetizing this site.

Still, I love learning from people who are in my niche. It’s impossible to know everything, and it really helps to learn from people who have unique expertise. Now I just need the time to implement some of the strategies I learned.

Lesson #4: I am not socially awkward when compared to these people.

Making Sense of Cents, Financially-Blonde, Me, Dear Debt, and Budget and the Beach

After working at home for three years, my social skills have gone down the tubes. I basically won’t take new clients if they want to talk to me on the phone, for example. And people who ask me to Skype do so at their own risk.

But at FinCon, everyone is socially awkard! In fact, I saw dozens of people who clearly felt as uncomfortable in public as I do. That in itself made me feel more comfortable, and made me feel like less of a freak. 

Lesson #5: I am going to finish my book.

One lesson I always learn from FinCon is that you can’t ask for permission to make your dreams come true. All of the “doers” I know just freaking do the stuff and ask questions later, and that’s exactly my strategy from here on out.

With that being said, I feel like I am finally ready to complete a big project on my own. Everyone keeps telling me that I need to write an online blogging/writing course, but I think I would rather just finish one of the book ideas I have already started. So, watch out world. Here we come!

The Bottom Line

Now that FinCon is over, my head is spinning with ideas! I want to write a book, continue traveling, bring my online business to the next level, and basically dominate the world! Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to introduce themselves at FinCon. I loved seeing each and every one of you. And to those of you who still want to get in on this blogging thing, check out this post: Quit Your Day Job: How to Start a Blog. Five years ago, we were working long hours in jobs we merely tolerated, and now we’re living the dream! And if we can do it, anyone can.


Note: Don’t forget to follow us on Periscope via @ClubThrifty

What lessons did you learn at FinCon this year? To my non-bloggers, have you ever wanted to start a blog of your own?

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  1. Sounds like FinCon was a blast! It’s definitely on my ‘must do’ list.

    Good luck with the world domination gig. I’m sure you’ll rule the world in no time at all! 🙂

    Seriously, congrats on the award, it’s well deserved. You’re certainly an awesome inspiration for newbies like me.

  2. Congrats on the Plutus award Holly! So great to meet you and Greg. I learned so many lesson. I have a ton a notes I’m slowly going over and will take action on. I think I may join you on the periscope side. Too easy and fun not too.

  3. Congrats on the Plutus Award! That’s so awesome! I didn’t make it to FinCon this year, but maybe next year. Anyway, congrats!

  4. Yeah Holly!!!! Loved reading this post and I couldn’t agree more. FinCon was absolutely incredible. I just posted a life update on my blog and included a huge goal at the bottom. To say I’m motivated (and it’s all thanks to FinCon!) is an understatement! Everyone there was incredible and SO inspiring!!

    YAY for writing your book!! I will be purchasing it the day it’s released! 🙂

    Also, it was so wonderful getting the chance to meet you. Thanks for taking the time to chat!! Hope to meet you again in the future!

  5. Woohoo! Congrats on the award…and even more so on deciding to go for it with the book. It’s amazing how much passion and creativity fuels more passion and creativity.

  6. Congrats on your Plutus Award!!! Can’t wait to see you dominate the world! 🙂

  7. Congrats on your award. I love feeling like I can do anything. It’s too bad we can get that affirmation every day!

  8. Such great lessons, Holly! And I loved meeting everyone in person. Personally, I want to know everyone’s productivity secrets. Because I’m seeing some superhuman levels of efficiency and energy happening 🙂

  9. Congrats on the award! If I can squeak out another couple hours out of my 24 hour day, I might see you next year once I get my $$ blog going.

  10. “I’m not socially awkward compared to these people.” I actually had the opposite response. Usually the conferences in my field are filled with statisticians and computer science geeks (which sitcoms make you think are funny, but its just awkward), and my social skills rise to the top. At FinCon, I realized that there is a whole world full of people who love what they do and still manage to carry on a conversation with the cadence appropriate to the social situation.

  11. Congratulations on the award!!! Yep! Just do it and ask questions later. That is my modus operandis :-). Lovely picture of you guys with your awards!

  12. I’m so glad we were able to hang out a few times at FinCon. Congrats again on the Plutus. Can’t wait until next year!

  13. It was crazy how big video and periscoping was compared to when I attended two years ago and there was barely a mention. Things change quickly. I’m still debating who much “scoping” I want to do versus video, but I think video might be winning out for me. I like how I’m in the picture next to the socially awkward topic. I’m offended Holly…totally offended! 🙂 It was great to meet you and Greg, and I will be sure to never ever get drunk and hit on him at a party. 🙂

  14. It was great to finally meet in person at FinCon! You weren’t socially awkward and congrats on the Plutus. 🙂

  15. I can picture you sitting at your desk, writing an article, and drinking your coffee out of that trophy!

    Congrats on the win and it’s nice to hear about how great FinCon was.

  16. It was so nice meeting you at FinCon! I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt out of the loop when everyone was raving about Periscope. I really need to get on there as well and figure it out.

  17. Alan Steinborn says:

    Here Here to that last point!

    It was great getting to share some moments with you and Gregg.

  18. I keep hearing about Periscope but I don’t think I can handle another social media outlet!

    Also, sounds like you had a great time and congrats on winning that sweet trophy!

  19. Holly if your head is spinning, imagine being the new guy at FinCon, mine is on the spiny roller coaster ride that makes you toss cookies at the end:)

    It was great saying hello to you and Greg, I know we didn’t get to chat for long, but if you are ever in Chicago would love to grab a coffee or lunch. Cheers to winning the Plutus!

  20. Definitely agree with #1. But #2, not so much. I’m trying to cut back on social media, not add more 🙂

  21. It was a pleasure hanging out with you and Greg. Glad to have enjoyed some very late night pizza with you too.

    FinCon was a total blast. It was epic for me and I loved every minute of it. There are a lot of takeaways and hopefully I can wrap my head around actually implementing them all.

  22. Love these lessons. I love learning so much from everyone. Congrats on your award and I had a great time with you!

  23. Glad to hear Fincon was a blast this year Holly. I made it last year in New Orleans and it was a blast. I would have love to have gone this year but it just wasn’t in the cards. I do have #Fincon16 in San Diego on my list to attend next year though.

    I also have to agree the personal finance crowd is one of the best groups of people around. It always amazes me how much people want to talk and chat about things even if they don’t really know you that well. Anyways thanks for sharing.

  24. Hi Holly, nice list of lessons learned. Good luck to your online business. May you become successful in making a business online. You can do it.

  25. Congrats on your win Holly, well deserved! I would love to get to FinCon one year!

  26. I need to find time/energy (ha!) to go through old posts and create an e-book about imperfect frugality.

    If you’re going to write a book, you should pounce on my mom’s writing course special. (I know you’re an experienced writer, but everyone can always improve — myself included.) It’s 50% off through the end of September for FinCon attendees. So it’s only $73.50. If you’re interested, go to her course’s site (writeablogpeoplewillread.com) and use the contact form.

    It was great to see you there! I had a lot of fun with you two at the after-party.

  27. Yay! It seems like you had a blast at Fincon! It’s good to know as well that this conference gave you lots of realizations not only as a blogger but also as a person! I’d definitely go to the next Fincon.

  28. I’m with you on the book goal, Holly. I start in Nov…after the FinCon fog clears. 🙂 Thanks for being there and thanks for sharing the experience. Good luck with the book and I’ll see you soon!

  29. This truly is the most amazing group of people and every year I attend FinCon, I am more convinced of that fact! Congrats again on your Plutus!! You are such a hustler and totally deserve it! I am with you on getting on periscope, I just have a tough time embracing things that I am not totally into watching myself, but if other people are, then I should give them the show they want. Good luck with the book! I totally agree that you should finish it, it’s not only a great feeling to say that you’re an author, but to actually hold your hard work in one hand is really rewarding.

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