I realize not everyone wants to know how to grow their blog or SEO, etc. (in fact, I didn’t go to most of those sessions either!). The two things I learned at FinCon that are important for everyone are:
1) The Importance of Community
I went to FinCon because that’s my tribe. Are all of them my people? No way! But there were 1700 people there and a subset of that are my friends. We relate. We communicate. We help each other out.
If you’re not clicking in a community, find a different one. I feel like we, as humans, spend too long trying to click with people we don’t actually get along with. We want to be with the cool kids or the popular crowd or the friends of our friends. We are willing to change who we are to get “in” with people that will “look good” as friends. That’s silly. It was silly in high school. It’s even sillier as adults. The other trend I see are trying to connect with people that seem most like us outwardly. We think maybe we’ll automatically relate because of our shared political party, religion, gender etc. Maybe you do connect, but just because you have a large shared interest doesn’t mean you can totally relate. Find the people you feel most YOU with. The people you don’t have to try. The people with whom you can just jam down and they’ll dive right in with you (okay, so that’s me. If you don’t like “jamming down,” find your thing).
Community is important. It is through community we find our greatest success. I connected in person with so much of my online community at FinCon. It was fantastic. I also met new members of my community. When you have a supportive community, you are so much better together. If you find the right people, you legitimately want each other to succeed! (So many of my friends won Plutus Awards this year, and it was SO EXCITING! – It’s basically like the Academy Awards for bloggers.)
Mr. T and I are anonymous bloggers. And because I geek out about money, I had to find friends that do that too. Though Mr. T does not geek out about money, he’s family, and he wanted to come with me to meet my tribe. I’m happy to say he enjoyed himself as well because my community is more than just people who geek out about money. They’re people like me in more ways than that.
2) The Importance of Stories
You don’t read this blog because I’m the best early retirement blog (my friend, Tanja won that award over at Our Next Life), the best international blog (my Canadian friend, Des, won that award over at Half Banked), the best minimalism blog (that’s my friend Cait over at Cait Flanders). You also don’t come because I’m the funniest, the smartest, or the best. You come because you relate to me or my story.
Along those lines, I’ve realized that my journey is important in the early retirement space. I used to just send people to read better writers if they reached out to me (and I will keep pitching awesome blogs to you), but there isn’t someone taking the slow route to early retirement on 1.3 incomes and 3 kids (correct me if I’m wrong!). Maybe you relate to that. Sure we’re not going to win awards or be on the news for doing it slowly (How This Family Retired in 15 Years in their late 40s – That’s just not an exciting headline!), but there are reasons we’re doing it that way. We need to talk more about that. Sure, I’ll still probably do the occasional toilet paper comedy post (because I can’t help myself), but for the most part, I will be focusing more on our story here at Northern Expenditure. We will talk about things like: why we’re choosing to take it slowly, how we’re making travel meaningful to our children, why we pay for lessons for our children, why we don’t mind that our kids have “stuff,” how being a stay-at-home-mom impacts our plan, etc.
Your story is important, too! Someone said that it’s important to find someone that is on a similar path but just one step ahead. It’s also important to share your story in a way the would help the people on a similar path but just one step behind you. That’s my new goal around here. But you need to tell your story, too. Maybe you don’t need to start a blog (so. much. work.), but tell someone your story. Share it here. Send me an email. Share it with a friend. We can all help with our experiences.
Why We’re Not Going to FinCon 2018:
Ha ha ha. I built it up like I was going to share something dramatic. In all reality, next year’s conference is in Orlando, Florida in September and we just can’t swing that logistically. Our kids would never forgive us if we went to Orlando without taking them. (Even going to Dallas without them, Lui said: “There’s rides in Texas!” and we had to assure him we were not going to go on any rides without him.) And we can’t plan to bring them in September because school and because we already have a 27-day Europe trip planned with them in June! But hopefully we’ll be heading back in 2019 (we’re pitching Anchorage for FinCon 2019. Who’s in?).