What’s My Story? Recap of #FinCon17

Lunch at FinCon17

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FinCon: Where Money And Media Meet

I just got back from my first FinCon event in Dallas (thanks to Carrie Rocha for the invite). I usually attend affiliate related conferences, namely Affiliate Summit and network events, where I know a lot of people and go mainly for the networking. Since I knew only a few people out of the 1700+ attendees, I was asked several times what my story was. Did I fit into the finance community?

What’s My Story?

I started in affiliate marketing back in 1998 when I was pregnant with my youngest child. I taught myself HTML by searching Yahoo and was basically blogging on Tripod before it was called “blogging”. When I realized that I could get paid commissions for adding links to my websites, my hobby turned into a business! I quit my day job and have been working from home, most days in my pajamas, since 2001.

I was lucky to be one of the first pioneers in the affiliate space and even won the Affiliate Legend Award. After getting divorced, it was nice to have the luxury of working from home as I was a single mom of four children, including preemie twins with multiple medical issues. I was able to build my dream house and travel abroad.

But it wasn’t a “happily ever after” story where I retired early. When Google changed their algorithms in 2009 and again in 2011, my websites took a hit. I not only had to change all of my strategies, but I took on consulting and contract jobs, which I still do today along with maintaining my sites. And I do so much more than affiliate marketing now; there’s social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and the list goes on. I prefer multiple income streams over having all my eggs in one basket. I’m still working on “my story” and FinCon has given me the motivation to up my entrepreneur game!

What I Learned At FinCon

Lunch at FinCon17
Miss Thrifty (Karyn), Steve Stewart, Me (Kim Rowley), Paula Pant, Carrie Rocha

The sessions, keynotes and networking were phenomenal! Here are ten takeaways from the event, in particular order.

  1. Everyone I met was super nice and welcoming, and I got Ally (a top sponsor) to approve my CJ affiliate application that they declined several years ago (they couldn’t believe I had my PID memorized and that it was such a short number)!
  2. Steve Stewart convinced me that I shouldn’t have given up on my podcasting! It was taking me way longer to edit and upload than actually record my podcast that I didn’t feel it was worth it. Now I know there are people like Steve that can do the backend work for me.
  3. Chenell Tull taught me that I need a Facebook pixel on every page. I didn’t even know a Facebook pixel existed. When she told me about the insight you can get from it to target even further with Facebook Ads, a light bulb went off!
  4. Paula Pant preaches that everyone can “afford anything, but not everything” and has intrigued my interest in real estate investment especially since my  brother and I recently bought some farm land.
  5. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox is a super smart woman. And while learning more about her online, I see she owns a meteorology dress, too, so she’s uber cool. See?
  6. David Bach was gracious enough to give us all a copy of his The Automatic Millionaire book that I’m anxious to read.
  7. Chris Guillebeau also has authored several books that I’m interested in reading after hearing him speak.
  8. I am going to buy Dee-1’s new album, Slingshot David. I’m not a big fan of rap music, but Dee-1 was not only entertaining, but an inspiration.
  9. I learned new acronyms, such as FIRE stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”. Who else has “I’m on Fire” in their head now?
  10. Darren Rowse of Problogger has always been encouraging, so it was enjoyable to see him present in person, and I’m a sucker for accents.

I had no idea what to expect at the Plutus Awards show and even considered not going since I didn’t know any of the nominees. But I’m now so glad that Chenell convinced me to go. Bethany Bayless was a excellent hostess, the skits were super funny (I loved The Office spoof), and the surprise guest (Dalton Rapattoni from American Idol) was sensational.

I made a mental note to check out all of the winner’s blogs learn more, and one winner that stood out to me was Dear Debt. Melanie writes about the association between depression and debt. I know firsthand too much about this problem as my father committed suicide. I’m considering writing a post entitled “Don’t Be A Dick” about the importance of mental health awareness (my father’s name was Richard, but his nickname was Dick).

What’s Next?

I registered this workinmypajamas.com domain name back in 2002 to originally help teach others about affiliate marketing as many people wanted to “do what I do”. I later updated the site to be about internet marketing and blogging since all of my websites are now blogs. But after attending FinCon, my goal is to rebrand the site with sections on side hustles, blogging and entrepreneurship. Watch for the new look soon!

I already registered for next year’s FinCon event in Orlando. See you there!

6 thoughts on “What’s My Story? Recap of #FinCon17”

  1. Glad to hear your first FinCon was a success, and thank you for sharing some background — you’ve been at this a long time!

    It was my first FinCon, too, and I was struck by how many different circles and niches there are in this personal finance space. I’m one of those FIRE bloggers, so I’m familiar with many in that niche and the investing sites. But there are others with big names and extremely successful sites that I didn’t know from Adam.

    A good example when I told a new friend I had a site called “Physician on FIRE”:

    Him: “So, you’re doing the JLD thing?”
    Me: [blank stare]
    Him: You know, Jon Lee Dumas?
    Me: No. Should I?
    Him: The Entrepreneur on Fire
    Me: I found that site once, but his fire’s not an acronym.

    I can say that I’m more familiar with many more bloggers and podcasters than I was a week ago. Let’s say hello in Orlando.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  2. Wow Kim, this is super impressive! Great read. I didn’t even know conventions like this existed. I can tell you are feeling really inspired. Keep up all the great work!

  3. Kim, I’m so glad you could make the event and I’m so glad to hear that it gave you a little inspiration to make some changes. I can’t wait to watch all the sessions and do the same! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, for being there, and for signing up for Orlando already.

  4. WOW! You included me in your wrap-up? It’s amazing what a little walk and lots of BBQ can do when meeting a stranger. It was my pleasure to have met you. (I’m kinda look at your story and wondering where I’VE been all this time).

    Glad to have you as a FinConer!

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