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How To Hustle & Make Back Your FinCon Investment

  September 30

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Podcaster Sandwich. Joe & Andrew - awesome gents!
Podcaster Sandwich. Joe & Andrew – awesome gents!

Everyone is writing all of these fab posts about FinCon, the financial bloggers conference many of us just went to, so I don’t want to be repetitive by telling you about the conference and all the speakers and all the sessions.

What I do want to address is how you can make the absolute most of a conference – any conference for that matter – but this is especially true for bloggers, entrepreneurs, and hustlers going to the financial bloggers conference next year in 2015.

I’m not trying to be fancy by saying this, but the tips below are fo’ real, y’all. I did everything I’m about to list and I made back my FinCon investment several times over in just one week simply by securing new clients and following up with them.

This is just me though so others might have had a different thought process going through it, but here is the mindset I used:

1. Remember, this is business.

One of my blogging friends was teasing me about how I was hustling the whole time at FinCon, but the thing is, that’s what I went there to do! Budget Blonde is my business, my livelihood. It is no longer a hobby for me. FinCon was an opportunity to meet with very large brands, high paying clients, colleagues, bloggers, and podcasters alike. I had fun and went out to different events at night, but I had it in my mind that this was a business trip, and so I wasn’t planning on coming home without some new business.

My family members spent an awful lot of money so I could go to this conference. My in laws flew to New Jersey all the way from Louisiana to watch the beans. They got hotel rooms. My mother’s helper stopped by every day after school to assist them with the twins. A neighbor walked my dog. My parents got a hotel room in New Orleans to see me and brought me to the airport the next day. I had to buy a plane ticket, spent $500.00 on my hotel room, got a cab, etc. etc. etc. so my mindset from the very beginning was that if I was going to spend time away from my kids and if everyone was going to go through all this trouble for me, I was going to make sure it was worth it.

If you want to go to the conference because blogging is your fun hobby and you want to meet everyone, awesome! Rock on by all means. However, if you are one of the people who is dying to quit their day job, wants to be a freelancer, and wants to make their business work, you have to put on your business pantalones, people. FinCon is the place to get work.

Me w/ Holly of Club Thrifty
Me w/ Holly of Club Thrifty

2. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

I was sick the entire time I was at FinCon. It was kind of hysterical because one blogger told me she had no idea my voice was so raspy and sexy but really I had just lost it completely, haha. We all joked that we never talk to other humans during the day so three days straight of constant talking really did me in. Really though my kids were sick before I left and I got it from them.

I pushed through though. I went out to dinner. I texted people I’d never met in person and asked to meet up. I tweeted with speakers and various brand representatives and set up meetings. I loved talking to everyone too but I really am an introvert. Every night – and I’m pretty sure one random afternoon – I went back to my hotel and crashed.

I also had a ton of anxiety and adrenaline going into it. I told Shannon I was going to have to bring a flask to get up the courage to talk to these people and convince them to hire me. But the energy was so amazing and everyone was so nice that I didn’t need liquid courage. I just needed to think of my kids and how I wanted to make some changes to spend more time with them, and that was enough for me to get it all together and put my best foot forward.

Shannon & Me at a Jewelry Insurance Event. (They gave us fancy rings. ;))
Shannon & Me at a Jewelry Insurance Event. (They gave us fancy rings. ;))

3. Care About People

Businesses can tell when you’re fake. Brands can tell when you’re fake. So, I tried to actually get to know the people who were there. I learned about their kids, what they did for fun, and the hobbies they had on the side. Because really at the end of the day FinCon was about making connections not hounding people for work.

The more normal I was and the more I chatted easily about things other than finance, interestingly enough, the more fun I had. Luckily I have a good memory and so at the end of a meet up or at the end of an event, I wrote down everything I remembered about a conversation I had with someone. So, if you saw me creeping around scribbling furiously in a notebook, that’s what I was doing. I wanted people to know I cared about them and their backgrounds and their stories. I didn’t want to mix up their kids’ names, etc. so I kept records of everything and it helped me a lot after the conference was over and I was e-mailing with everyone.

The wonderful Frugal Rules power couple. ;)
The wonderful Frugal Rules power couple. πŸ˜‰

All in all, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It was such an honor to be there and meet everyone. I finally got to thank people in person for supporting me the past few years, especially those who guest posted for me during my maternity leave. It was a blast. It was a rush, and it was – simply put – lucrative not only for me but for everyone else who went there with the goal of connecting with others and bettering their businesses.

I can’t wait until next year, and I hope these tips help anyone and everyone looking to make next year’s conference truly worthwhile.

 FinCon was an opportunity to meet with very large brands, high paying clients, colleagues, bloggers, and podcasters alike. I had fun and went out to different events at night, but I had it in my mind that this was a business trip, and so I wasn't planning on coming home without some new business. http://catherinealford.com/2014/09/30/hustle-make-back-fincon-investment/

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50 responses to “How To Hustle & Make Back Your FinCon Investment

  1. It was so great meeting you in person at FinCon! That’s awesome that you were able to hustle so much while you were there. Like you, I was super nervous as well even though this was my second FinCon. I just get so nervous meeting new people and finally seeing people that I talk to every day!

  2. I love this! You go girl. I will certainly be following your advice next year, and preparing in advance. You seemed like a natural any time I saw you networking; I still can’t believe you’re an introvert. =) I love the pic you have with Shannon – you’re fancy and sparkly!

  3. Getting out of your comfort zone, make friends, learn from them, and have that sexy voice (haha) are something that everyone should know how to pull it off. I can’t wait for the next Fincon. You look fancy by the way.

  4. This is great advice Cat! It’s true that the conference can be a fun hang out to be with friends, or you can treat it as a marketing event for your business which you did amazingly well! And your raspy voice was hysterical, I was rocking one by Saturday and it took me a week to recover, but it was definitely time and money well spent.

  5. I took notes just by watching how you operated! I also approached FinCon from a professional perspective even though we all had a lot of fun in the process. You have amazing family support and it’s obvious that they believe in you and how you provide for your family.

  6. First off I just had to tell you that you look so beautiful! I love the blonde it suits you really well.

    Secondly, thank you for this post! I couldn’t go to FinCon this year. I am hoping I can work something out next year but all the other posts I read about FinCon were about meeting people, drinking, and staying up all night. And there’s nothing wrong with that (I’d love to meet fellow bloggers in person) but I don’t drink and I definitely don’t dance haha. I was starting to think FinCon wasn’t for me after all. So I just love hearing about you treating it like it’s business. You go girl! πŸ™‚

  7. Very well put Cat! Even better for making back your investment several times over. I love the meeting others aspect, especially when my office is the dining room table but so much of it comes down to hustling and stepping out of your comfort zone. I LOVE your last point btw! Others can totally tell if you’re fake or genuine and that comes through in how you carry yourself so it’s just another reason to be that way. πŸ™‚ I still don’t believe you’re an introvert though. πŸ˜‰

  8. I was SO impressed at the way you HUSTLED YOUR TAIL OFF while you were at FinCon. It was really inspiring to see you so dedicated and determined to accomplish your goal. You were the absolute first person I looked up to in this industry and I’m selfishly happy that you continue to be someone to look up to πŸ™‚ I’m thrilled that you’ve achieved so much and continue to create opportunities for more success. Work it, girl.

  9. So glad you were able to get more work. I was too, which was awesome. In your case, you had a lot on the table riding on this opportunity. I’m just so glad your family was able to help and that you rocked it so hard. Nice work. So glad we met!

  10. Lol business pantalones.

    But what you wrote is very true. Networking and business events can be a bunch of fun, but at the end of the day you’ve got to remember that you’re there for your business. Great post!

  11. I love this! If I go to FinCom in the future, I’ll be following your example. Leaving my kiddos at home will make for a lot of work for a lot of people (it’s nice that Mom is so hard to replace), so I will want to make it worth the trip. I don’t drink or party (unless we’re talking smoothies and scrabble) and I’m kind of shy at first, but I would love to network, learn, and hustle! πŸ™‚ Here’s hoping FinCon 2015 is on the west coast!

  12. We missed Fincon this year (after making the last two), and it was tough.

    I never have any doubts about whether it is worth the money. There are so many great people that are part of the PF community, and the motivational kick you get from the whole experience is second to none.

  13. I think a lot of the bloggers at FinCon were introverts, which was actually really reassuring for me because I am too. That’s one great game plan for hustling at the conference. Will definitely have to remember those tips for the next FinCon!

  14. Yup, this post just cemented it for me.

    My butt will be at FinCon next year. LOL. I’m not sure if I could have made it work this year, but there’s no excuses to get my stuff together for 2015. Can’t wait to meet you and others in person! Glad you had such a successful trip.

  15. I think that your intense focus and clarity about FinCon’s role in developing and growing your business will insure that your business continues to grow and stay healthy. I make a point to get to know my client’s names at work and greet all of them. People love to be remembered and acknowledged.

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