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Has anyone been to FinCon or want to go?
Old 09-29-2015, 10:28 PM   #1
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Has anyone been to FinCon or want to go?

Just curious if there is anyone who has been to and/or spoken at FinCon OR would like to go to FinCon? FinCon is a gathering/conference of digital content creators in personal finance and investing. I have no connection or financial interest in FinCon, but I think it would be really cool to go and see/meet several of my favorite personal finance & FIRE bloggers! They have discounted tickets for next year's conference on sale through Thursday night. I am halfway thinking about buying a ticket. On that note, I wonder if I started a blog/business this year if I would be able to deduct the conference expenses are business-related expenses?
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Old 09-30-2015, 06:45 AM   #2
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I have thought about going, and know many people that have, but have not attended it yet. I have also been involved with local meet ups which were great.

You may be able to deduct the trip, although a tax accountant would be a great place to start. I think there is a difference between enhancing skills for a new job, vs. continuing education when it comes to deducting expenses.

Of course, if you have your own company, it may be easier.

"To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary."

To me, attending a FinCon conference with other bloggers, could be considered ordinary and necessary.
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:12 AM   #3
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Nords will be along in a day or two to give you his perspective as a long-term FinCon participant.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:16 AM   #4
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I read something a long time ago that everyone wants to rank well for high paying topics like Viagra or mortgages and no one wants to corner the market on bird lice treatments. Finance is a pretty competitive field for blogging. Many who do succeed, especially in the ER area, seem to fudge the truth more than a bit about how much they or their spouses really work, that they actually have large pensions, what their true expenses are, etc. Many have also never had their rosy investment plans tested during a long bear market or high inflation years. So it makes it a hard field to compete in especially if you don't also succumb to selling the dream, not the reality kind of blogging.

The alternative is to go after long tail topics like the bird lice treatment, and for long tail topics you don't really need any conferences.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:07 PM   #5
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I had the chance to go to the Charlotte conference this year on the cheap. I live just a couple hours away in Raleigh so it wouldn't have required any flights.

I run an early retirement blog, so it would have been a completely deductible business expense.

I decided not to go. Too much like a work conference for my tastes. I'd love to meet a number of people in person (like Nords), but I figured it would be hectic scrambling around and maybe chatting with folks for just 5-10 minutes.

I'm not sure how much value a non-blogger would get out of it unless you just really really really want to meet the financial blogger personalities you love.
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Freedom View Post
Just curious if there is anyone who has been to and/or spoken at FinCon OR would like to go to FinCon? FinCon is a gathering/conference of digital content creators in personal finance and investing. I have no connection or financial interest in FinCon, but I think it would be really cool to go and see/meet several of my favorite personal finance & FIRE bloggers! They have discounted tickets for next year's conference on sale through Thursday night. I am halfway thinking about buying a ticket. On that note, I wonder if I started a blog/business this year if I would be able to deduct the conference expenses are business-related expenses?
Freedom,

I'm crafting a longer response (especially to the negative comments of other posters) but I'll say this now: buy the ticket while it's cheap, and buy the pro networking pass too. If for some reason you're unable to go then you'll be able to sell your ticket on the FinCon exchange at cost.

It's not the price of admission. It's an investment.

It's deductible, too. That question's been asked and answered many times over the last four years.

I've already bought my FinCon16 ticket (pro networking, too) along with Digital CoLab (the 36 hours before FinCon) and reserved my San Diego hotel room.

There will be surfing.
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Nords will be along in a day or two to give you his perspective as a long-term FinCon participant.
Thanks, REW!

Quote:
Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
I read something a long time ago that everyone wants to rank well for high paying topics like Viagra or mortgages and no one wants to corner the market on bird lice treatments. Finance is a pretty competitive field for blogging. Many who do succeed, especially in the ER area, seem to fudge the truth more than a bit about how much they or their spouses really work, that they actually have large pensions, what their true expenses are, etc. Many have also never had their rosy investment plans tested during a long bear market or high inflation years. So it makes it a hard field to compete in especially if you don't also succumb to selling the dream, not the reality kind of blogging.

The alternative is to go after long tail topics like the bird lice treatment, and for long tail topics you don't really need any conferences.
A long time ago, and long out of date.

Here's everything you need to know about personal finance:
Income > expenses.

Any questions? Why would anyone need to read more about the topic?

And yet there are literally tens of thousands of personal-finance blogs. The organizer of FinCon (Philip Taylor of PTMoney.com) hosted over 800 of us this year. Next year may be nearly double. Over two dozen sponsors, startups, and other nonprofits were campaigning for their attention at FinCon, and the conversation will continue on social media all year long.

I'm not going to comment on your "many who do succeed" gross generalization about fudging the truth.

I'll agree with you that nobody wants the bird-lice market. However personal finance is bigger than ever, and more people (of all ages) are consuming more content than ever before. The biggest "problem" in today's personal-finance blogging is finding enough people to create content for blogs, podcasts, videos, and even Periscopes. Advertiser money is raining down on personal-finance bloggers, and all you have to do is attend a FinCon with a bucket.

The key is writing stuff that people want to read. It's not about fudging the truth or black-hat SEO or misleading advertising. Some readers want to see the dream while others are ruthless in their approach to reality. It's a huge market and there's still plenty of room for everyone-- especially freelance writers and producers.

It's a business. It's a gold rush, and it's still hard work, but it's financially rewarding. There are no secret tricks or techniques, and the vast majority of the bloggers are sharing everything they've learned. For less than $100 per year you can create a blog. If you're writing stuff that readers want then you'll earn that money back within the first two years. The automated AdSense auctions on personal finance keywords are bringing in top dollar. If you keep blogging and grow your audience linearly, then within four years you'll earn over $2000/month from Google AdSense (even though your readers have adblockers), Amazon affiliate links, direct advertising, eBooks, books, podcast sponsors, YouTube shared revenue, courses, webinars... use your imagination. Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome has been writing about blogging techniques and tools for over six years, and he's completely transparent about the income. Pat hit an elliptical growth curve that now generates over $70K net most months.

It's not just filthy riches beyond your wildest dreams. Most of these bloggers are entrepreneurs who are paving their own paths to financial independence. They're paying off their student loans and their mortgages, they're accelerating their net worth, they're using their blogger income for investments (and philanthropy), and they're quitting their day jobs to take control of their own futures. They may be dreaming, but they're creating their reality. I've said many times that the entrepreneurial spirit in the corridors and lounges of the FinCon hotel is thick enough to cut with a chainsaw. It's exhilarating.

The dedicated bloggers spend $350-$500 for their ticket. Depending on rewards points and sharing rooms, they'll spend between $0-$750 for their hotel stay. (I bring my spouse and we spend a good bit more.) Transportation is also $0-$1000. (FinCon15 included a blogger from the UK, and another has attended from Australia.) Most of the food is free. Most of the adult beverages are also free. The education and mentoring: priceless. This is a tax-deductible investment with a ROI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
I decided not to go. Too much like a work conference for my tastes. I'd love to meet a number of people in person (like Nords), but I figured it would be hectic scrambling around and maybe chatting with folks for just 5-10 minutes.

I'm not sure how much value a non-blogger would get out of it unless you just really really really want to meet the financial blogger personalities you love.
It's not that kind of conference.

Every ticket includes a "virtual pass" to the FinCon videos. Each presentation (there are at least five tracks of presentations over the three days) is professionally recorded on video with quality audio. A few weeks after the conference, the ticket holders get the YouTube passwords. If you wanted, today you could even buy a virtual pass for FinCon12.

Every year I attend fewer presentations in person and spend more time in the exhibition hall or at a table talking with other bloggers. Sometimes they're brief chats, but last FinCon I spent over two hours in a conversation with Todd Tresidder, Joshua Sheats, Rob Aeschbach, and a rotating cast of supporting characters. Brandon Turner and I shared a table for an hour's discussion on real estate. I met a dozen startup founders and enjoyed in-depth discussions of their pitches and their business models. (Surfing and blogging was also analyzed.) I did some formal mentoring in a couple of presentations and lots of informal mentoring. I enjoyed long talks with readers and with millionaires. I planned the marketing strategy for my next book and had it brutally critiqued (for free) by several other authors of multiple books.

At the closing keynote, Grant Baldwin noted that all of us introverted bloggers have hundreds of friends over the Internet... and at FinCon, we were all in the same room.

I know of one marriage and another possible pending engagement due to FinCon. There's no better place to meet someone who shares your financial goals.
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Old 10-01-2015, 09:56 PM   #8
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If you keep blogging and grow your audience linearly, then within four years you'll earn over $2000/month from Google AdSense (even though your readers have adblockers), Amazon affiliate links, direct advertising, eBooks, books, podcast sponsors, YouTube shared revenue, courses, webinars... use your imagination.
Maybe people who don't go to conferences and use other methods make even more with lower travel and training expenses and less effort.

I'm glad the conferences worked for you. I have a much different perspective from being around web publishers, people who put on conferences and the firms / individuals that go to the conferences looking for clients. Most of the people I know who really make a lot with growing businesses usually aren't exactly eager to broadcast their business models and train their competition.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:13 PM   #9
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I want to say that Nords, you should get commission because you sold me on the FinCon conference. I really wanted to go anyway, but that leap of faith is a big, scary leap, plus I am super frugal. Like I said, I don't have a blog or even a small business at this time, but I would like to start up a blog within the next year. I have lots of article ideas, some decent tech skills, crazy/stupid drive, a different situation than many couples trying to ER. Money is not my main goal as we are close to or possibly even FI at this point in time, though extra spending money for windsurfing equipment & traveling would be great.

I am trying to figure out if Pro Pass is really worth it for someone like me who has not even started out yet? I can be a pretty introverted person at times, and networking can be hard for me until I am fully comfortable in the niche. I also doubt I will ever have a famous, rich blog, though it would be awesome to have a popular blog. Four days at the regular FinCon conference might even overwhelm me.

What is the Digital CoLab conference? It does sound kind of neat. Would this be something worthwhile for a newbie? Which would be better, the Pro Pass or Digital CoLab?

Do you really think I could sell my ticket for face value if I can't go? I would really like to go though, and know how to do San Diego on a budget after attending a dozen GIS conferences at the big convention center down the road (which I totally geek out at).

BTW, Jacob from ERE was my first "blog" love. I discovered him soon after he started his blog. Then it was MMM & BNL, and now I follow MadFientist, Paula Pant, and Go Curry Cracker among others. I do read regular financial planning articles, but don't really follow one specific author because they are not as interesting as the other guys I follow.

Nords, thanks again for all the great information!
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:07 AM   #10
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Well, I ordered my ticket. Here I come FinCon 2016! I had to flub on the website URL, business name, and Twitter Account. They sure have a lot of requirements just to register for a conference. Hope they will let me change some of those things later on.

Guess I need to start learning on how to start a blog and deal with business-related taxes. Well, I need to learn the tax part of having a business anyhow since I am rehabbing my first home into a future rental property. I must like being busy.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:39 AM   #11
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I want to say that Nords, you should get commission because you sold me on the FinCon conference. I really wanted to go anyway, but that leap of faith is a big, scary leap, plus I am super frugal. Like I said, I don't have a blog or even a small business at this time, but I would like to start up a blog within the next year. I have lots of article ideas, some decent tech skills, crazy/stupid drive, a different situation than many couples trying to ER. Money is not my main goal as we are close to or possibly even FI at this point in time, though extra spending money for windsurfing equipment & traveling would be great.

I am trying to figure out if Pro Pass is really worth it for someone like me who has not even started out yet? I can be a pretty introverted person at times, and networking can be hard for me until I am fully comfortable in the niche. I also doubt I will ever have a famous, rich blog, though it would be awesome to have a popular blog. Four days at the regular FinCon conference might even overwhelm me.

What is the Digital CoLab conference? It does sound kind of neat. Would this be something worthwhile for a newbie? Which would be better, the Pro Pass or Digital CoLab?

Do you really think I could sell my ticket for face value if I can't go? I would really like to go though, and know how to do San Diego on a budget after attending a dozen GIS conferences at the big convention center down the road (which I totally geek out at).

BTW, Jacob from ERE was my first "blog" love. I discovered him soon after he started his blog. Then it was MMM & BNL, and now I follow MadFientist, Paula Pant, and Go Curry Cracker among others. I do read regular financial planning articles, but don't really follow one specific author because they are not as interesting as the other guys I follow.

Nords, thanks again for all the great information!
You're welcome. No commission necessary; I'm happy to share this for free.

If you haven't already, subscribe to the FinCon newsletter. As we get closer to the date (July?), the FinCon website will add links to Google documents to arrange ride-sharing, room-sharing, ticket selling, and other frugal options. As a new blogger, you may be able to apply for scholarships or a free pass (which will redeem the price you've paid for the ticket). You should make all of your reservations now and then change/cancel them when you find cheaper ways. For example the hotel is very convenient but you might be able to find a nearby AirBnB or another hotel that's cheaper. Much of the FinCon informal networking takes place after dinner (over adult beverages and late-night pizza) so an offsite hotel is not always as good a deal as sharing a room in the FinCon hotel.

I suggest that you sign up for Bluehost, add a (free) WordPress install, and register with WP's free "blogging 101" tutorials. Get started and just muck around. If you happen to break something, you can usually click the "Undo" button and get it back. Nobody is reading your blog at first, and almost all of your decisions are reversible. When you decide to turn it into a revenue business then read Pat Flynn's SmartPassiveIncome.com for more resources and tips.

The Pro Pass lets you network with companies that want to pay you for writing content for them or running their ads. The networking is a two-hour block of 10-minute meetings with the 50+ companies, and you choose which ones you'd like to meet with. (Or they may choose to meet with you when they see your blog.) The vast majority of FinCon bloggers are introverts, but almost everyone manages to endure a 10-minute speed date without permanent(!) trauma. The company PR staffs are quite accustomed to it. But if you're not sure about it then don't buy it now, and just talk with other FinCon attendees.

Many of us FinCon veterans still take introvert breaks of an hour or two during the late morning or early afternoon. By 9 PM I'm usually done for the day (hoarse, overstimulated, exhausted) and I'll leave the midwatch to the 20-somethings. By 6 AM the next day I'm ready to go, although a few of the others might just be wrapping up their nights. Groups will gather for brewery tours, board games, city/state meetups, and even morning workouts with personal trainers.

You do not need to have a rich or famous blog to earn $25K/year from 800 unique daily visitors. You need to write a post at least monthly and you need to promote your posts regularly on social media, but the process is well-documented and regularly discussed in the presentations. $1000 months are frequent. At least 50 FinCon bloggers are grossing over $100K/year. Several hundred of them are self-employed and earning a living wage. Three or four are millionaires in their 30s. Pat Flynn and Jeff Rose are well on their way to eight figures.

Digital CoLab (Digital CoLab —) is a 1.5-day blogger boot camp the day before (and the morning of) FinCon. It's limited to about 100 attendees with 2-3 tracks of presentations from "starting a blog" to "doubling your income" and "how to do media appearances". It's run by a separate group of people who piggyback on the FinCon contract, but they attract a lot of the same entrepreneurs and keynote speakers. Digital CoLab is well worth the price and is at least as good for a beginning blogger as the pro networking pass. I do both, but if you had to choose just one then you'd get a lot more events from Digital CoLab.

I haven't personally checked the ticket resales, but every year I see a lot of last-minute offers to sell. I do not see people giving their tickets away. PT requires that the transfer occur at the price which was paid for it, so there are no scalpers or fire sales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Freedom View Post
Well, I ordered my ticket. Here I come FinCon 2016! I had to flub on the website URL, business name, and Twitter Account. They sure have a lot of requirements just to register for a conference. Hope they will let me change some of those things later on.

Guess I need to start learning on how to start a blog and deal with business-related taxes. Well, I need to learn the tax part of having a business anyhow since I am rehabbing my first home into a future rental property. I must like being busy.
You'll be able to change all of that at least once before FinCon. I think they print the badges around July or August, so there's plenty of time to decide on names and to check spelling. PT has a staff of about six people working on the advance prep (including a professional conference organizer and several family members) and he'll bring in about two dozen more volunteers during the weeks just before FinCon.

Blogger finances are pretty straightforward. You'll see lots of posts on the bookkeeping (and deductions) and there's lots of Q&A. You'll meet accountants and CPAs at FinCon who'll be happy to discuss the details. I use Schedule C on TurboTax for my royalty income but the full-time entrepreneurs use LLCs or even S-corps.

Remember to sign up for the FinCon e-mail list.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:53 AM   #12
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Many who do succeed, especially in the ER area, seem to fudge the truth more than a bit about how much they or their spouses really work, that they actually have large pensions, what their true expenses are, etc. Many have also never had their rosy investment plans tested during a long bear market or high inflation years. So it makes it a hard field to compete in especially if you don't also succumb to selling the dream, not the reality kind of blogging.
As a long-time blogger I agree with this.
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