One of the great ways to keep the FinCon energy going throughout the year is to join or start a FinCon Local Group. While it may seem a little intimidating to start a new group, it’s been an incredible experience for the organizers and the local bloggers. I asked Jason Steele, freelance writer extraordinaire and FinCon Denver’s organizer about launching this meetup:
1. Please describe your experience with FinCon Local Denver.
PT put out a message to FinCon attendees asking if anyone wanted to start a local meetup in their cities. The terms were generous: He was willing to pick up the tab for the drinks and to provide a discount on the FinCon12 ticket for the organizer. (Don’t tell him, but I would have gladly put this together for free.)
At first there were only a handful of bloggers that showed up. We had four meetings before the national FinCon convention itself this summer. The best attended meeting was when PT himself was in town to prepare for the national convention. We had about seven bloggers there. But now, after meeting many more local bloggers at the national convention, I have already heard from over a dozen people who will be at our next meetup. So clearly, the momentum is building here in Denver.
2. Did you start your local meetup already knowing some of the bloggers in the area, or did you decide to start the meetup in order to get to know them?
I had originally intended to meet other bloggers. I had just gone full time with my writing and I felt like I had joined a business in which I hadn’t really met any of my peers in the area. After long solitary days in front of the computer, it is actually kind of thrilling to meet up with other colleagues.
3. What advice do you have for meetups in smaller localities? (That is, where there are fewer local bloggers.)
We started off with just three or four of us at the first few meetings, and it was still a worthwhile experience. That said, it is important to get the word out as you never really know who the local bloggers are until you do.
You can also complement the bloggers with representatives from sponsoring organizations or perhaps even print writers who appear online as well. I would just have an expansive view of personal finance that includes everything from coupon enthusiasts, frugal travelers, money saving parents, and other genres within personal finance.
Also, be willing to take an expanded geographic focus. For example, we have one blogger that is planning on driving down to Denver from Wyoming, over one hour and a half away.
4. How often should a new FinCon Local group plan on meeting?
I originally thought about every month, but that seemed somewhat frequent. Now, I am shooting for every other month.
Check here to see if there is already a FinCon Local Meetup near you. If not, consider starting one yourself. There’s no better way to connect with your fellow bloggers than face-to-face.
To apply, send an email to PT at admin [at] financialbloggerconference [dot] com which includes your name, blog, city, potential party size, and general ideas for throwing a nice meetup. I’ll select a few team members and we’ll get to planning.