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.
1) 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.
3) 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?