Well, we survived our 1,600 mile road trip! I never want to get into a car again, but we survived ;) And we even did the first leg out all in one sitting! 800 miles in 15 hours straight – gotta say that was a first. Especially with a baby! (And much easier to do btw when you’re GOING SOMEWHERE COOL than on the return trip, ugh.. We broke that one into two days and I’m still recovering)
Overall the trip was super successful though, and our financial blogger conference was most definitely a success. I got to see all my nerd friends in person instead of on Twitter/Facebook/Blog/Skype/etc, and I met a handful of new ones as well. If your business or hobby ever has conference, I highly suggest checking ’em out! It’s always nice to be face-to-face with people instead of a computer :) Especially when wooing/partnering up on business…
In fact, here are some other tips with conferences too if you’re interested:
- Network network NETWORK! They usually only last a day or two, so no matter how tired you are push through and meet as many people as you possibly can. You never know what sorts of relationships/deals may come from it all.
- Always stand near the food and/or doors. This is the prime area where everyone goes and you’re bound to run into everyone at some point :) Whether they’re popular or not. I’ll sometimes stand there for hours just moving from one conversation to another and letting the time flow.
- Let your time flow (or, don’t make any appointments!). The best way to network and meet people is to naturally let the time flow and make conversation as it’s presented to you. Nothing’s worse than getting into a great discussion, only to have to hit “time out” and run to a meeting to talk to someone else (or worse – flake out on them altogether). Yeah sometimes you can’t help it and there are advantages to having definite meetings in place, but overall I find it’s MUCH more helpful chatting with people as you run into them as it’s much more natural and, quite frankly, fun. This may only work with social butterflies though?
- Smile and be nice. That sounds obvious, but believe me – people don’t do it. You only have one shot at a first impression, and better to come off as friendly to your peers than the opposite!
- Ask a lot of questions. We tend to get caught up talking about ourselves all the time, but it’s much better to be engaged and learn about your new friend standing in front of you than spilling your blog stats. And this goes for dates too :)
- Follow up with all your new friends! Once you’re back in town and sober, shoot ’em all a note to let them know how nice it was to meet them. People love getting emails/tweets like that as it makes us feel better! And more importantly it leaves the door open for future talks/partnerships cuz now you’re officially “connected.”
Bored yet? ;) Sorry, had to spill my brain while it’s hot and fresh! Maybe you’ll be hitting up your own conference soon and these will help?? No?? You hate conferences? Well $hit. Here, how about a joke to make up for the last 10 seconds of your life:
Why is money called dough? Because we knead it!
Better? :) Here were the (more interesting) tidbits from our trip when it came to money… Mainly, how we ended up spending it:
RENTAL CAR: Came out to almost exactly $350. I *almost* got convinced to pick up extra insurance from them as they always try to do, but I said no and quickly walked away. At $19/day it would have added an extra 50% to the bill! But I still wanted insurance, so I pinged Amex to ask about what they provide as everyone told me credit cards can help with it, and for $25 they cover *entire trips*! Whether one day, or 20 days, $25 covers you if you get in a wreck and you don’t have to worry about hitting your own insurance if you don’t want to.
Only problem was that I signed up for this AFTER I had rented the car, so it didn’t apply and thus we went un-extra-insured for the whole trip. We’ll be covered for the future which is nice, and according to Amex it’ll automatically activate when you use the card to pick up the car in the future which I kinda like… No more thinking about it! Is that what you all do??
GAS: Gas ended up being around $275. About $125 more than I originally guessed, oops. I don’t know what I was smoking though – how could gas only cost $150 for driving halfway across country and back?? Haha…
HOTEL: Came out to about $210 for my portion. Somehow $70 lower than I expected?? :)
So a total of $835 not including food and snacks – that’s not so bad? For being on “vacation” for almost 6 straight days? Especially since we can write it all off as a business expense? ;) Much cheaper than flying all three of us out there to St. Louis and back too, so that was good… OH! And we got to watch part of the St. Louis play off game from a penthouse level suite! It was dope! Made me like baseball just an *ounce* more, haha… Now if only they could speed up the game a bit ;)
Other random nuggets from FINCON:
- I got mistaken for Mr. Money Mustache. *Twice*. Probably because I exude bad-assity to the max and had nothing to do with my ridiculous ‘stache I wore all week ;)
- I drank lots of free beer! Another helpful conference tip: Hang around people who don’t drink ;) That way you’re first in line to get their free drink tickets! haha… Or become wonderful blogging friends like 1500 Days who literally drove 850+ miles to bring me some local beer from their Denver residence – so sweet of you all! Thanks so much!
- I toured the St. Louis Federal Reserve! Had nothing to do with Fincon actually (my cousin works there), but I got to walk around and meet a whole bunch of important-looking people doing lots of important stuff :) And then of course drooled over the stacks and stacks of cold hard cash in the basement! I even had to dress appropriately as to “fit in” the best I could, which really didn’t work well, haha… Hopefully I didn’t get my cousin fired ;)
- I met a popular card counter! As random as it gets, but one of the co-founders of BlackJackApprenticeship.com was there and struck up a conversation with me about getting into the personal finance game (they’ll be doing some financial literacy videos which aims to be pretty hip). Apparently he and his friends took $2,000 and built it into a 7-figure business as well as a documentary you can nab on Netflix. You don’t come across that every day :)
- I learned that *MARKETING* can often times be more important than the *PRODUCT* itself. I.E. if no one knows about it, you won’t ever sell anything. So Derek Halpern from Social Triggers shared some results when he changed from 20% time focused on content, and 80% on marketing the content (rather than vice versa). Grabbing 100,000+ subscribers in less than two years!
- I found a penny on the ground while walking my baby to the car – that should go onto the Total Money Tracker, right? :)
- I wore 60% of my clothes to the conference! Haha… okay, not *that* much, but def. a lot of them ;) So thank for all the tips y’all left on my minimalism post earlier this week! I’m taking them all to heart!
- Lastly, people in Kentucky are SUPER nice, and I’m also half-way tempted to move to Charleston West Virginia too. One of the most beautiful places we saw all road trip!! Who knew??
I think that’s enough brain dumping for now… What did you all get into this week/end? Anything juicy or exciting? Anyone make some good money or start any businesses?? Anyone want to leave work right now and start the weekend early? ;)
Whatever the case, I hope y’all are good and are ready to have some more fun over the next couple days… If I can ever help you with anything, just shout! I’ll be around all weekend catching up and responding to all your lovely emails/comments/etc. Hope you didn’t miss me too much ;)
See ya on Monday.
PS: That’s fellow blogger Steve Stewart up there from Money Plan SOS rockin’ my shirt from back in the day – remember those? Maybe we should make another run? ;)
PPS: Here are other amazingly cool people “in real life” too, if you’re looking for more people like me ;) Agatha K, Lindsay, Erin, Jim, The Mad Fientist, Jeff Rose, Jesse Mecham, Stephanie, Joel, Beating Broke, Len Penzo, Jesse, Joe, Joe Taxpayer, Neville, Paula, Jaime Tardy and omg like 100+ more people… if I had an extra 5 hours I’d list off all y’all sexy bloggers, but I shall stop there for now… Keep on hustling, everyone!