My Top Ten Takeaways From FinCon 2018

16

If you interact with me at all on social media (Instagram, Facebook), you know that I’ve spent the last few days in hot & humid (but wonderful) Orlando, Florida. Yes, I’m extremely spoiled with the weather living in Southern California.

I was there for a conference called FinCon where digital content creators (bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers) in personal finance and investing got together to learn and network. Several thousand people from all over the country attend the conference every year.

It was my second time attending FinCon, and I found it just as informative and enlightening as the first. But like many events you might attend, you can quickly forget the details so I felt I had to document some key takeaways of my experience.

Physician Financial Services1) Influencer Media is Powerful

Is this type of media just as powerful as traditional media in creating visibility? Sure seemed like it. Large companies like Vanguard, Capital One, and Ally Bank (to name a few) were at FinCon, trying to woo potential partners. Why is this?

Well, each person I talked to stated that traditional forms of marketing, like throwing huge sums of money at large scale advertising campaigns, are starting to fade.

These large businesses are beginning to follow the lead of startups–finding ways to creatively partner with influential voices in the space–from blogs to podcasts to video content creators. According to them, it’s authenticity people value and look for. Few people are making decisions simply because they see a corporate name plastered on a commercial during their favorite show.

2) The Physician Financial Blogosphere / Podcast Nation Continues to Multiply

This isn’t news to anyone who read White Coat Investor’s updated post on Physician Financial Bloggers. I started a little over two years ago and I’ve seen this space grow tremendously; the number of physician attendees at FinCon seemed to have tripled this year. I loved it. I had interacted with almost everyone online but it was great to put a face and voice to the online personas. Some of them blog anonymously (I was there myself up until a few months ago) so it was like a big unveiling.

It was awesome to hear the victories and challenges of other people in the space firsthand, learn from others, and offer what advice I might have. It was also a great time getting to know the community at large, and I felt the conference was worth it for the camaraderie alone. There are too many to name here, but the bloggers I interacted with are on my favorite blogs and podcasts list.

MLG real estate investing3) Many Others Were Married to Physicians Too

Joe Saul-Sehy (Stacking Benjamins Podcast), Travis Hornsby (Student Loan Planner), Ryan Inman (Financial Residency), and Cat Alford (Catherine Alford) are just to name a few. So physicians and physician families were pretty well represented there.

In fact, we were all like one big family. I’m sure those physicians benefit greatly from having savvy financial people as partners.

4) Other Healthcare Professionals Are in on the Action

Medical doctors aren’t the only ones with a desire for helpful financial advice. So not only is the presence of physician financial blogs continuing to grow online, we’re seeing more and more content from and for other healthcare professionals like dentists (like DebtFreeDr), veterinarians (Financial Wellness DVM). If you’re in a healthcare profession and you feel like your field is underrepresented, it may be time to start your own blog.

5) Try to Avoid Eating Undercooked Chicken

Okay, so I had to mention this one since it was definitely part of my experience haha. Unfortunately, I lost out on a good chunk of the conference due to a little battle with food poisoning. It was most likely a chicken sandwich that I ate at lunch. I remember thinking that my sandwich seemed a bit undercooked, but being the brilliant person I am, I decided to power through it. After all, I’ve always been pretty confident that my stomach is made of steel.

That may be true, but my kryptonite is apparently undercooked chicken. Let’s just say my GI system took a major hit, and I knew I needed some IV fluids. I ended up finding my way to an IV hydration center for a couple liters of fluid.

I’d heard of IV hydration centers as a side hustle for physicians and really didn’t know much about it until this first visit. I can now see what the appeal is for both the business owner and the consumer. It was a good experience and served its purpose well, all without the hassle of heading into an ER or urgent care center.

I always like to try out side hustles and investment opportunities before talking about them, so I guess this was one way of making that happen. The experience also had me briefly wondering whether this was God telling me I should go vegan like Dr. McFrugal. Worst case, it was comforting knowing I had a bunch of great docs around to take care of me if needed.

6) So Much Can Change in a Year

Even though the years seem to pass by much quicker these days, so much can change in that time. It was at last year’s FinCon that the conversation came about that led to me to join the WCI network. Not only have I learned so much more about running a site more efficiently and profitably in the past year, but I’ve learned a lot about dealing with sponsors, other bloggers, etc.

The great thing is, I enjoy running this site even more today than I did last year. I love the community that’s built up around it, and I spend most of the time interacting with that community on Passive Income Docs, as well as on White Coat Investors, and Physicians on Fire. Of course, taking off my mask of anonymity also changed the way I interacted with people online, offline, and at the conference.

7) Motivated and Inspired

I walked away extremely inspired and motivated. I ran into quite a few bloggers that I met last year, and it was amazing to talk about the progress that people have made. It was interesting to see how people have added new media platforms, written books, started courses. Just being around all this talk of hustle and progress can’t help but get you excited.

In fact, it motivated me to get my act together and start some of the things that I’ve been batting around, like a podcast and video interviews. I’m putting it here because announcing it will (hopefully) help make it happen. So don’t feel bad asking me if I’ve made any progress on these fronts. I could use the accountability. Stay tuned!

8) Collaborate, Not Compete

This online space is about collaboration, not competition. This was a recurrent theme of the conference, and it’s always a great reminder. It’s all part of the abundance vs. scarcity mindset. The sites that do so well in this space know exactly how to collaborate well with others; they’re not looking to hoard an audience or money. They’re willing to give and share, and they know that it will return to them in factors.

Plus, the goodwill they’ve created only acts to further bring other people together. It was so good to see the community like that. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I always see that in the physician community. In some ways, we’ve been developed to compete. The reality is that that’s what it took to get to where we are.

But in the world of online media, it’s not a zero-sum game with one person having to lose in order for others to win. If we’re all in it for the mission of helping and educating others, everyone can win, especially the audience.

9) It’s Never Too Late to Start

Lastly, I learned that it’s never too late to start. I met many people who had just started their blogs or podcasts within the time since the last conference. They were already so successful and really laying down the foundation for a great side hustle or career with this.

So, in the spirit of encouragement, and if you’re interested, why not start one yourself? You could start a blog in a few minutes if you wanted. Have the proper expectations, of course, and realize that it will take a lot of work.

But if you’re passionate about it, you’ll gain camaraderie, a creative outlet, and honestly, all of this will only help you out in the end.

10) We All Need To Get Together More

In the end, I think that even in this age of technology, the physical act of getting together is still very powerful. Chatting through Twitter or Facebook is great, but nothing beats connecting over a meal with someone. It’s hard to be a tight-knit community in a purely digital format and it helps to meet in person.

We’re going to try more of that in this group and, and I even started a poll about different possible locations in the Facebook group. I ask that you participate, and let’s try to make it happen!

So there you have it: my big takeaways from this year’s FinCon. Over the next few days, I’m sure there will be other posts from other bloggers who attended as well. And hey, who knows, perhaps I’ll see you next year?

16 COMMENTS

  1. It was great meeting you in person, PIMD! I agree that it needs to happen more often.

    It really is an amazing community. Thanks for all of the good conversation and tips. It always amazes me how collaborative this space is and that everyone endorses the “rising tide lifts all boats” philosophy.

    P.S. I was wondering where you were all day the day that you got sick until someone told me you had food poisoning. Me being the selfish person that I am said, “Well that’s interesting, because I shared a meal with him last night.” Ha! Glad you are feeling better.

    TPP

      • Sounds good to me, man! I love playing. Just don’t expect too much. Don’t want to disappoint you with my amazing inconsistencies at the game.

        Maybe you can get the hookup somehow and get us an invite to congressional in DC 😉

        TPP

  2. I regret that I missed out on a wonderful opportunity not attending FinCon this year. I gave myself so many lame excuses why I didn’t belong/deserve to attend the premier meeting and it cost me a great experience.

    I have prioritized attending next year’s event and hopefully things work out that my blog is still up and running and I can attend with no scheduling conflicts.

    Since starting my blog I have indeed found out that it is a very collaborative and helpful community of physician bloggers and I would love to be able to meet them in person and put a face to the blog.

    I have mentioned it to you before, but your post on how to start a blog was the impetus for me to start mine, so mad props again to you. It is something that has given me a new spark in life (but you are correct that it is a LOT of work, much more than I ever thought possible (but worth it)).

    • I had just launched my site when I heard of FinCon and made the same decision as you to skip it… and regretted it. Now I recommend that everyone should attend no matter what stage you’re at, for the camaraderie alone. Your site came up several times in conversations so just know that your work is making an impact!

  3. Your first point is very interesting. What do you think about the debate between writing dry content that is good for search engine’s and opinionated, first person, personal content writing for the audience?

    I’ve always tried to write in the ladder form, but it seems like a good idea to make things really dry for business purposes and search. Less comments, less emails, less to do. You can hire multiple staff writers to write dry content so you don’t have to do anything. Also if you decide to sell or leave, it may be easier to sell dry content.

    Hopefully the conference will be on the West Coast again in a couple years. The San Diego one was really a lot of fun. Glad you got some of that fluid back in you!

    Sam

    • Right now I have to say I’ve been focused mainly on the second strategy – 1st person content. Not sure how you set up your content calendar but mine hasn’t been super planned out, just whatever I feel like writing about and seems relevant. However, at FinCon, I had a marketing person look at my page and she recommendeded that I be a little more strategic about SEO specific content. That’s what’s worked for her site and you’re right, they recently were able to sell for a mid 7 figure amount. That’s not my intent as of this time but it can’t hurt to figure out a way to drive more organic traffic to the site. So I think you’ll see a better balance of both moving forward. It’s a good thing to think about and something I’d love to hear more about from experienced pros like you. And yes I’d love to see FinCon back west, was just starting when it was in SD.

  4. It was great to see you at FinCon, PIMD!

    To your first point… it’s amazing how social media influencers have disrupted the traditional marketing and advertising industries. Feels great to be part of the changing tide.

    Speaking of which, I can’t wait to hear your future podcast and see your upcoming video content. It appears that video content is the future.

    I’m glad the IV fluid hydration helped. When I saw you that day, I had no idea you had food poisoning. You looked fantastic!

  5. I fall firmly into the “married to a physician” camp you list in your #4. I’ve come to see a lot of different financial complexities since marrying a physician and have a lot yet to learn. Having never pursued a high-income career, there are many challenges we’re navigating together. Im very happy we found each other and that we are in this lifelong trip together.

    Also, I have noticed this cooperation vs. competition dynamic in the blogging community. It’s caught me off guard in many ways. I work for a regulated public monopoly, so competition isn’t a thing in my world, and yet, the cooperation is foreign to me. I’m appreciative of this, however, as I’ve learned a lot from other bloggers and can’t wait to collaborate and grow my site into a community with the help of other bloggers.

  6. It was great meeting you in person PIMD. Sorry you got food poisoning. At least we had some good Peruvian cerviche together the first night. I think the camaraderie aspect of having a blog is immensely rewarding. I met so many fantastic people and their words of encouragement really motivated me to continue writing. Congrats on continued success!

  7. What a whirlwind that was! I think I saw you three different times, shook your hand, and said “hey, let’s catch up later”!

    Still waiting for later to happen, but it’s a little too late. Thank you for sharing your insights and I’m glad you got a lot more than a newfound appreciation for IV hydration centers out of your trip.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

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