Discovering FinCon — a First Timer’s Take
FinCon 2019 just finished up and what an exciting week it was. If you are unfamiliar, FinCon is an annual conference that brings together finance brands, FinTech, media, personal finance influencers (think bloggers, podcasts, YouTube, and Instagram), and money nerds. Depending on who you are, talking money could be the most exciting thing in the world or literally THE WORST.
Despite your perceptions, it is a fantastic event and a lot of fun! Think lots of Happy Hours and interesting conversations. People wanting to interview you and support your dreams of becoming Insta-famous.
I’ll outline some key themes and events and also highlight interesting people, companies, and tools I learned about at FinCon 2019!
FinCon 2019 — The Event
Robinhood kicked off the first day of FinCon with a huge party renting out the Smithsonian Museum just off of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. There was a donut wall, food, band, dance floor, rooftop views, and of course an open bar. They threw one heck of a party and set the tone for all of the great conversations and fun FinCon 2019 was to have in store.
Ramit Sethi author of the book and blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich delivered the opening keynote. Ramit also gave the opening keynote at the first FinCon 9 years before. One of his big focuses is on living your rich life, which will look different than other people. The idea is to spend lavishly on the things you care about (travel, food, your pets, whatever it is) and cut mercilessly on the things you don’t (housing, transportation).
Essentially the idea is to prioritize your spending around the things that bring you joy. Along with that advice, Ramit gave all of the creators a piece of advice as well. He told everyone to develop your unique point of view. Most of the information is out there, but no one has your unique perspective. Rather than being all buttoned up you have to let your story and unique perspective shine through.
New FinCon Connections
I met some really awesome people while at FinCon. Unfortunately too many to mention them all here. There are a few who I highlight below for their impact on me as well as the message they are promoting. Please show them some love and check out what they have going on if it sounds interesting to you.
From El Paso, I met Yulande Cummings The Money Coach at the opening keynote. She is incredibly charismatic and I can see why her coaching clients love her. She inspires many with her sound money and fitness advice.
Another great connection I made at FinCon was with Jasmine Watts of Miss Millennia Magazine. She is editor in chief and began the magazine to empower millennial women 9 years ago. Jasmine has built a strong business and provides really powerful information to millennial women.
Brian Belley, built CrowdWise.org which focuses on equity crowdfunding and helping people understand how to invest in startups. Brian has some really amazing information and can help you get started investing. He’s helped me think about CrowdFunding as a potential avenue to raise capital in the future.
Early on at the event, I ran into JJ Buckner, a YouTuber who talks all about investing and personal finance. What I took away from our conversation was the way he approaches his YouTube Channel as a business. He’s got some really great content and videos. Be sure to check him out and subscribe if you like his channel.
Apple Crider — the host of the Young Smart Money Podcast who interviews business leaders and entrepreneurs. Apple spoke at FinCon and gave really amazing advice on how he grew his podcast through Instagram. If you haven’t heard Young Smart Money check it out!
On the last night of FinCon, I met Justin Pogue who is the author of Rental Secrets. The book is about negotiating with your landlord and how to get the best deals as a tenant. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but from our conversation, there are a lot of juicy details for all of the renters out there.
Awesome Tools for Entrepreneurs
First off there are sooooo many new tools out there you can use in your business. The list I have is mind-boggling. Instead of listing out 50 random tools I’ve highlighted four that I recommend exploring after my experience at FinCon.
is a design tool that all of the creators use to create beautiful cover photos for Instagram, Blog Images, YouTube thumbnails, and Podcast covers. They have awesome templates and it is super easy to use for the non-design savvy folks out there. Canva offers core features for free with single-item purchases available and has a Pro Subscription. Their web and mobile app are both great and integrate seamlessly!
- A silent theme of the conference was hiring other team members to help you grow your business. Freelancers are a crucial part early on before you can afford to hire someone full-time. Fiverr is a platform to find freelancers and contractors for all sorts of business functions.
- is more niche for those interested in podcasting specifically. Squadcast allows you to schedule, record and conduct podcast interviews on your computer. While I haven’t used it yet, pretty much every podcaster at the event highly recommended this as a strong solution.
Audacity — is free open source software used for editing podcasts. There are paid solutions out there as well, but Audacity enables you to easily edit your podcast. The rule of thumb is it takes about 3 hours to edit 60 mins of recorded content. Podcast editing is, therefore, one of the most cumbersome and typically outsourced parts of producing a podcast.
New Brands I Discovered at FinCon
The FinCon exhibit hall was a lot of fun with Ally bank providing macaroons with your face printed on them to creating time capsules with your goals and having a caricature of yourself drawn. Lots of really exciting things to do and see.
While some of the tech-friendly big brands were there like Ally & Robinhood, I learned about some really amazing emerging companies and nonprofits that are aiming to make a big difference in the world.
SaverLife is a non-profit program that pays you AND enters you into contests to win gift cards. All you have to do is create an account with them, link a bank account and save as little as $20 a month. SaverLife is on a mission to help everyday Americans increase their savings rate and offers up to $60 in cash for developing a consistent habit. When you sign up you will also receive free financial coaching advice delivered via videos over email.
This is a no-brainer for literally every American over the age of 18!
A fun spin on budgeting and monitoring your personal finances. I’ve been using Charlie for almost a year now and absolutely love it. Charlie is a penguin chatbot that monitors your bank info (the same way as Mint, Personal Capital, & Status Money) and gives you notifications and advice. I find that coupling Charlie with one of the other apps has been an extremely valuable and way more engaging way to keep track of my finances. Rather than checking the dashboards 12 times a day, I get notified for the big things. There is a dashboard feature on Charlie, but I find myself still using Mint more frequently.
Nav is a business and personal credit monitoring app. Offering free monitoring and paid services to build your business credit, Nav is helping small business owners. A great opportunity to start building credit and find financial tools that will help you grow your business. I just recently used an offer from Nav to open up a business credit card and am super pleased with their services thus far! As an early-ish adopter of Credit Karma, I really enjoy being able to have that same access to my business credit report.
While there was a ton of really great information, sessions, and conversations, a few things really stood out. At FinCon, you can go deep into the logistics of building a successful media business. You can learn the ins and outs of podcasting, YouTube, and blogging. There a few things that are universal no matter what line of business you are in.
You have to speak from your unique voice. Most of the information you want to discuss exists in the world today. You can Google just about anything and find an answer to it. The key differentiator for any content creator and business is what is your unique voice. How are you different and how is your perspective different?
Ultimately, your story and storytelling ability is what will enable you to stand out from the crowd.
This one is universal in life. You have to be consistent with producing information. Creating one great YouTube video is awesome, but it is not a business or a way to create a following. Being able to create a schedule that your community and followers can latch on to is key. Just like a job, you have to show up every day or you will get fired. If you don’t consistently produce then you will lose the attention of your audience.
You don’t have to produce 2 videos a day or 2 articles a day to be consistent. You can create a monthly podcast or newsletter. The key is to pick something realistic you can handle and stick to it.
This one surprised me at first. Even in video, it is all about the audio! Having high-quality audio is crucial to successfully create a podcast, YouTube channel, or just marketing material. Audio is a trigger sense for us that can either create credibility or destroy credibility almost immediately. If you have really great information, but you hear a dog barking in the background… it sounds like you haphazardly recorded this at home. Great audio is key!
If you produce quality content, consistently, and promote it properly you will see results. Regular people are making money by helping others. Building a profitable online business is a doable thing that regular people with grit and determination can do.
Coming off of FinCon I am on an extreme high. My energy levels are through the roof and forging a path forward has never been so exciting. There is incredible potential to create an amazing online media business that helps people. Monetizing your business isn’t the hard part, what is difficult is finding your unique point of view, creating quality content and then distributing it effectively.
One of my main goals of attending FinCon was to connect with possible influencers and brands that I want to partner with. Not only did I achieve that goal, but I realized how amazing the community is. Not many people understand the complexity and challenges in the online space. Thus having a group of fellow dreamers and creators is incredibly comforting.
Originally published at https://financialglass.com on September 27, 2019.