Let’s go way back to 2014 for a second. I was getting ready to leave my Toronto apartment for a trip to New Orleans for my first ever FinCon. And just in case you’ve never heard of FinCon, I like to describe it as a huge conference where personal finance bloggers, podcasters and other nerds come together to…well…get their nerd on and talk money for 4 days. And it’s a huge conference. Like 1,200 people huge. Ah!
Suffice it to say I was a bit nervous to attend my first FinCon. But I knew a few people going and I was fired up to have a the time of my life, just like so many other previous FinConers had told me I would. Sadly, that’s not how it went down.
FinCon 2014 — I Was a Turtle Stuck in My Shell
Almost as soon as I stepped foot into the hotel and saw the horde of FinConers with their t-shirts and badges on, I basically became a turtle who couldn’t help but retreat into my shell.
Back home, sure I was introverted, but I was never known for being shy or anti-social. But at this massive conference, with so many people, personalities, and so much pressure to learn, network and have fun, I just couldn’t find myself. I ended up spending most of my time with the few people I knew, walking around town by myself or hanging out in my hotel room.
When I got back home, I was furious at myself. What was the point of flying all the way to New Orleans, spending 4 days at a conference and not getting anything out of it? That’s when I decided that something needed to change. I’ve got big dreams, and I know the only way to make those dreams a reality is if I get out of my comfort zone and talk to strangers! This is a big thing I’ve always felt held me back, but I knew that if I tried really hard, and worked on myself for the next year, when FinCon 2016 rolled around I’d be ready.
FinCon 2016 — I Was a Turtle Strutting Around Like I Owned the Place
And I was ready. I wasn’t just going to this conference to see what happens. I came with a clear game-plan.
First off, I was going to make a point of meeting everyone who was at the conference who’d been a guest on my podcast. Second, I was going to talk to the list of people I’ve always wanted to meet but was too shy to say hi to back in 2014. Third, and this was the scariest part of my game-plan, I was going to give a 5 minute TED Talk-like presentation to a room of almost 400.
And guess what, I did all three and a I felt f***ing amazing!
Introverts, You Can Jump Out of Your Shells Too!
The biggest reason I attended this conference was to replace my memory of the first time I went. I didn’t want to be stuck with this image of a girl who was so confident and sure of herself at home, but who couldn’t own her sh** and get out there in a foreign place.
Maybe time had something to do with it (I’m 30 now and don’t care as much what people think), or maybe it’s because I’m way more confident in my new brand and what I’m all about (Money. Life. Balance. baby!), or maybe forcing myself to talk to strangers for my podcast did the trick (well, ya, that’s sort of a no-brainer). No matter what made it happen, I am so glad that I conquered my fear and finally had the time of my life at FinCon!
Yes, it is a conference with the tagline “Where money nerds unite,” but to me those are my people! People who are so open about talking about money! Although I didn’t get much out of my first conference, this year I came home so inspired, motivated and ready to take on my next project (or several projects).
A Huge Thank You to the People Who Inspired Me & Made Me Feel Welcome
Not only did I talk to almost everyone on my list, I met so many new people too who seriously made me excited about life. I hope to have time to email everyone below individually, but for now, here’s me saying thank you for inspiring me and making me feel so welcome in the personal finance community!
- Carrie Smith, Careful Cents (your sass rivals mine, and that’s why we’re friends)
- Cait Flanders (you know how much I appreciate you!)
- Kayla Albert (you’re one of the best new people I met at this FinCon)
- Michelle Summerfield, The Classy Simple Life (my Toronto blogger friend & the best roomie)
- Tess Wicks, Word + Money Podcast (sister from another country!)
- Jocelyn Paonita Pearson, The Scholarship System (you rock & we need to talk courses girl)
- Kara Perez, From Frugal to Free (loved our chat about life/career/goals)
- Natalie Bacon, Financegirl (you were exactly how I imagined you…awesome)
- Revanche, A Gai Shan Life (you’re the cutest/nicest anonymous blogger I’ve ever met)
- Talaat & Tai, His & Her Money Podcast (so glad I finally got to meet you, I’m huge a fan!)
- Melanie Lockert, Dear Debt (so glad I got to meet you in-person & congrats on your Plutus win)
- Stefanie O’Connell (I’m so proud of what you’ve done these past few years)
- Jen Hemphill, Her Money Matters Podcast (you’re the sweetest & so glad we could connect)
- Vanessa Page, Vanessa’s Money (so glad we could hang out my fellow Canadian friend!)
- Taylor Milam, The Freedom from Money (so glad we could connect & put a face to a voice)
- Kate Dore, Cashville Skyline (excited to chat more on my podcast)
- Ty, Get Rich Quickish (I love how you think my Twitter verification is so cool)
- Jason Vitug, Phroogal (you’re just as nice/positive in-person as you are over Skype!)
- Mike, Tip Yourself (you gave me a free Uber & beer cozy, and I’ll never forget it)
- Chonce Maddox, My Debt Epiphany (introverts unite! Thanks for the kind words on my speech)
- Jordan Cox (my new favourite Brit, and scary successful at such a young age)
- Lisa Zamparo (how did I not know you and you’re in Toronto!)
- Arindam Nag, CentSai (thank you so much for your kind words after my speech)
- Nick Loper, Side Hustle Nation (so nice to meet a fellow podcaster!)
- Allea Grummert (you rocked your first FinCon, glad we could connect too)
- Kyle Prevost, Young & Thrifty (you made Canada proud by winning that Plutus Award)
- Lindsay VanSomeren, Notorious Debt (so glad I could meet you! hope you had a nice first FinCon)
- Melisa Boutin, Your Money Worth (thanks for telling me you listen to my podcast!)
- Joe Saul-Sehy, Stacking Benjamins (I’ll get you in touch with my Canadian peeps, I’ve got some connections up north)
- Garrett Philbin, Be Awesome Not Broke (you somehow had the most energy of anyone I met at FinCon, and that’s something to be damn proud of)
- Michelle Jackson, The D.O.N.E. Society (so glad we could chat, even if it was on the last night of the last day. Talk to me more about this “mastermind,” I’m intrigued)
- Sarah Li Cain, High Fiving Dollars (you need to be on my show…right now)
- Jackie Lam, Cheapsters (so glad to finally meet you!)
- Kathleen Celmins, Frugal Portland (I can’t believe it took this long to meet, you rock!)
- Shani Curry-St. ViI, Purse Empowerment (I loved your shirts & your attitude)
- Erin Lowry, Broke Millennial (so glad to finally meet & excited for your book)
- LaTisha Styles (I’m seriously stoked to see what you do with your business in the next year, because it’s gonna be awesome)
- Richelle & John, Life, Liberty n’ Property (Richelle you rocked the dance floor, John you need some work but I appreciated your sweater)
- Pauline, Reach Financial Independence (so glad to finally meet you after all these years of me reading your blog!)
- Roger Whitney, The Retirement Answer Man (nice to meet you in-person!)
- Steve Stewart (podcasting friends!)
- Philip Taylor (you put on a great conference, thanks for some great memories)
I know this isn’t the full list of everyone I met so don’t take offense that you’re not on here. Instead, say hello via email because I want to make sure I keep the new and old relationships I made this year thrive until the next FinCon!