The Beginning of Careful Cents and the Power of Community (FinCon11 Recap)

On September 30, 2011 I got up at 6am, stripped off my clothes/shoes for airport security, boarded an airplane and climbed into a cab with a maniac driver, all in an effort to attend the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago. (Mind you this was the first time I ever traveled alone, halfway across the country, and had never been in a cab before. FREAK-AY!)

Was traveling, losing sleep and getting motion sickness worth it? Oh, yes! Without a doubt attending the conference was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

My mindset going into the weekend was completely business oriented, and I didn’t think I would have much personal enjoyment at all. I expected to learn tips from all the great speakers and to hear stories from all the other writers but that was about all. But since having never attended a conference in my life, I didn’t know what to expect — and to be frank, I was BLOWN AWAY.

The Power of Community When Starting a Business

I completely underestimated the impact that meeting someone face-to-face would have on the trajectory of this blog and me as a person.

Companies and websites alike are made up of people, not robots.

Everyone has their own story, their own personality and their own view on life. It’s refreshing to be around people with the same interests and similar goals.

Sometimes even my own family doesn’t understand my views on money or finances, but becoming part of a community of financial bloggers silences the feelings that I’m weird or don’t fit in anywhere.

Feeling like I belong somewhere and having reassurance in the choice I made to start writing and building this blog has priceless value. In fact, if it wasn’t for my friend Phil, from for talking me into going to the first-ever FinCon, I don’t know where Careful Cents would be today. I owe him a HUGE amount of gratitude for taking a chance on me and this blog.

The time I missed sleeping, the money paid for the flight and hotel are all worth it (and so much more) when such amazing memories are made with people that completely understand and share the same passions as I do.

If you’re in a situation where you feel uncertain, alone or misunderstood I encourage you to find your community.

Whether it’s a wellness group that keeps you motivated to stay healthy, or a few frugal friends that help you stay on track towards financial goals, having an encouraging support system is vital to running an online business and being a creative person.

I found out that I am not alone, and neither are you. That’s the power of community.


Volunteering Phils Friends
Volunteering for Phils Friends

Here’s a photo and a link to the video of a group of us volunteering for Phil’s Friends, an organization that brings hope and support to those affected by cancer.






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    • Carrie says:

      I agree next year already has lots of anticipation and expectations awaiting it. This year’s conference was so uplifting and positive, I loved it.

      Thanks for commenting.

      PS your Ten Takeaways post is fantastic!

  1. I agree with you totally, Carrie. I left FINCON11 feeling like I am a part of something special. I feel like I have a support system of real friends out there on my journey to eliminate my debt. It was great to meet you!

  2. Peter says:

    I agree that there really was a great sense of community at FINCON, people were all so friendly, eager to chat and learn. It was extremely motivating to meet so many like minded folks. I also think the Love Drop was an awesome event, I think it was important to set the precedent that the conference is not just about getting what we can for ourselves (knowledge, sponsors/etc), but more so about helping others along the way. By helping others – we help ourselves!

    • Carrie says:

      I agree, making the contacts and seeing the sponsors and speakers is great but the important thing is volunteering and helping others. Thanks for commenting.

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