It’s been just over 2 days since I returned to the UK after Fincon 2017 in Dallas, USA and I’m just about recovering from the jetlag! While I was on my flight home I took some time to reflect on the whole experience, and here are the top 5 things I took away from the event.
1. Know Your “Why”
Now that I’ve thought about this, it seems so obvious, but I have to confess to jumping head first into my blogging previously, without first stopping to think about the reasons why I want to blog.
For any business venture (including blogging, podcasts and youtube channels) to be successful, it’s imperative that the reason for starting it is clear in your mind.
I’ve done a bit of soul searching since I attended Fincon. I came up with a couple of big hairy audacious goals (or BHAGs as they’re otherwise known). The point of a BHAG is that it’s a really huge, outrageous goal that feels ridiculous even saying it out loud, but there’s a little voice inside which says, “well it could be possible one day”.
So please don’t laugh at my audacity when I announce that these are my 2 BHAGs which will be the driving force behind all Inspiring Life Design channels moving forward:
- I want to help 1 million (yes that’s 1,000,000) people improve their financial situation. Now this improvement could be small or large, it doesn’t matter to me, but just being the catalyst for change or educating will make me very, very happy. I will be having a think about how I can best track this to see how well I’m doing.
- I want to help 1 thousand people become Income Independent1 or Financially Independent2.
2. Have A Crystal Clear Goal
I was fortunate to attend all the Keynote speeches at Fincon, with some fabulous speakers including Darren Rowse (founder of Problogger), Nicole Walters (Entrepreneur and Income Strategist) and David Bach (Best Selling Author and TV personality).
It was while listening to David Bach’s keynote that I uncovered my second major learning point. On more than one occasion David mentioned that he had set himself crystal clear goals for what he wanted to achieve. A bit like my aforementioned BHAGs these often felt too massive to contemplate when he set them, but with a clear goal as his focus he was able to pursue it whole heartedly and ultimately achieve it.
The key with crystal clear goals are to write them down and ensure that they’re really specific on what is to be achieved and ideally in what timeline.
If there was one message which consistently(!) got mentioned in pretty much every talk, discussion and keynote session that I attended, it was to be consistent with your content delivery. Over and above almost everything else, the importance of creating a regular cycle which is adhered to no matter what, was drummed home. It matters less if you can only publish your blog posts, podcast or videos every couple of weeks (or even every month), but it is imperative that you stick to your regular schedule once you have decided what the frequency should be. Your readers, listeners or viewers want to get to know you and will come to rely on you. If you say that you’re going to publish your weekly video every Tuesday at 5pm GMT, then no matter what you do - publish every Tuesday at 5pm GMT!
I received some wonderful mentoring from the delightful Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage who run the youtube channel and blog for TheFinancialDiet.com. They told me a story of their youtube followers who actually start to send them messages asking them what is going on if they’re even a little bit late getting their regular video pubished!
4. Be Prolific
Although consistency is key to being successful with online ventures, another key driver for success is to be prolific. In other words, produce lots of great content. The greater the frequency of your content publications, the quicker you are likely to build a following. If you think about it, the more posts, podcasts or videos you have out there, the more likely someone is to discover them.
To become consistent and prolific it’s essential to create some sort of publishing schedule, whereby posts and videos can be planned in advance. Luckily one of the first workshops I attended at Fincon was titled Plan Your Year - Content Calendar which gave me some great pointers on how to go about scheduing content.
5. Know Your Audience
My final take away from Fincon was the importance of knowing who your reader/listener/viewer is. After all if you don’t know who you’re creating content for, how can you best know how to serve them? And serving your followers is surely the most important thing to secure a successful venture.
I had previously heard of the notion of creating Avatars to represent your audience, but it’s never something I’d taken the time to do. However, once you have written down as much as you can about 1-4 types of person who will follow your updates, it makes it so much easier to think of and create content, safe in the knowledge that you are appealing to your target audience. The sorts of things you may include when identifying your avatars are what their likes and dislikes are, what interests them, how old are they, and what other demographics do they fall into?
On my flight home, I took some time to jot out profiles of 4 people who I want to reach and help through Inspiring Life Design.
I thought it may be interesting to revisit the goals from my last post which I had hoped to achieve from Fincon to see which ones were satisfied…
The things I hoped to take from Fincon were:
- A kickstart in motivation to really get going with sharing my journey on this site and on my social media platforms (POST FINCON UPDATE: I think it would have been impossible to attend an event on the scale of Fincon without coming away motivated and raring to go - mission accomplished!)
- Financial knowledge!
- New side hustle ideas (POST FINCON UPDATE: None that were completely new to me, but I am definitely intending to investigate crypotcurrency as a result of tips I received at Fincon)
- How to monetise my blog & youtube (POST FINCON UPDATE: I now have a better understanding of different methods for monetisation. My job now is to decide which path I want to take to pursue monetisation, which will be tied closely to my goals of helping people with their finances)
- How to make the most of my online publishing business (POST FINCON UPDATE: I didn’t find out any new information about online pubishing, or meet any other publishers for that matter! Surprising, but I received massive value in other areas instead)
- How to increase my instagram following, with the long term goal of making this an income stream too (POST FINCON UPDATE: I attended a great session which explained how to improve your Instagram feed, many of the tips I will be following up on in the months to come)
- Meeting (or at least seeing) some of my online idols (POST FINCON UPDATE: There were 2 people I particularly wanted to see: Pat Flynn and Mrs Frugalwoods. I saw Pat Flynn on Day 2 but sadly didn’t get the opportunity to say hello. However I attended a Panel Discussion where Mrs Frugalwoods was participating and got my chance to meet with her at the leaving party which made me smile a lot!)
- Connecting with my fellow UK Money Bloggers (POST FINCON UPDATE: This was perhaps one of the biggest wins for me from my journey to Fincon. I had briefly met a couple of the UK Blogger attendees when I attended the UK Money Blogger Conference in September but with it being only for 1 day I hadn’t had the opportunity to really have a good chat with anyone. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Miss Thrifty, Emma Drew and her husband Tony, Cora (Mini Millionaire) and Maria (The Money Principle). I look forward to future conversations and catch-ups with them through the UK Blogger community.)
- Networking with like minded people from around the world who share my passion for personal finance (POST FINCON UPDATE: This is definitely a massive TICK! It would be impossible to go to Fincon without meeting like minded people and networking with them. I found this one of the most fun and exciting parts of the event)
Have you ever attended Fincon or any convention related to your interests and hobbies? I’d love to hear your stories. Please leave me a comment below, and ask me any questions about Fincon that you like!
By Income Independent I mean that a person is able to generate sufficient income from sources outside of their regular “day job”, so that they are able to cover their expenses and hence sustain themselves indefinitely from these side hustles. This in turn should allow them to be able to quit their employed job if they wish to do so, to focus on their alternative sources of income (which may or may not be passive sources of income) ↩
By Financially Independent I mean that a person has sufficient savings and investments to be able to live off indefinitely, without ever having to work again. My definition of financial independence works on the 4% safe withdrawal rule, which suggests that (based on historical performance) it should be possible to sustain a core investment amount without depleting it, if you withdraw no more than 4% of its value annually. There are many sites which have explained this, such as the well known Mr. Money Moustache and Mad Fientist, or you could check out this article on time.com ↩