AskPat 895 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Welcome to AskPat, Episode 895. My name is Pat Flynn and as always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
Today, we have a great question coming in from Andre but before we get to his question, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. FreshBooks is one of my favorite companies because they help small businesses like mine and yours with our financials. Meaning, our income coming in, our expenses all organized in nice software. Not only that, they make it easy for us to also create invoices. If we do any billing of any kind, maybe we're a coach, or maybe we do consulting or freelancing, FreshBooks makes it really easy to send a very professional-looking invoice that will help you get paid faster and it can also help you keep track of who still owes you or who has even yet to open those invoices, which makes it really easy for you to follow up. Definitely check it out. You can actually check it out for thirty days for free by going to FreshBooks.com/askpat and just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. All right, thanks so much and here's today's question from Andre.
Andre: Hello, Pat. My name is Andre and I have a website at ASmallInvestment.com and my question today is regarding media conferences. I will be attending my first media conference this year, FinCon 2017, and I wanted to see if you could offer me any advice for a first-time conference goer, so I can make the best use of my conference time. I also wanted to see if you were going to FinCon 2017 this year? I hope to see you there and if you are there, maybe sometime during the conference we can get a game of basketball in. Thank you for featuring my question and I hope to hear from you soon.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Andre. What's up? Thank you so much for the question. A: Yes, I am going to FinCon. B: We are absolutely playing basketball beforehand, so look out in the FinCon Facebook group and C: Let me answer your question. Actually, this kind of plays a role, this Facebook group in FinCon. A lot of events have Facebook groups and it's a great way to get to know people, to get to know who's going to be there, to meet people who are like you or who want to meet up and all those kinds of things. Getting involved in a Facebook group, even before the actual event starts, if there is one available, is a great way to go about it. There are often many meet ups and things like this basketball thing, which happens, which has become a tradition with FinCon since it came to San Diego and we put together this basketball game. It's something that's going to be happening every year before that particular event.
It's a lot of fun. It's a great ice breaker. It doesn't always happen but it is happening for FinCon, so I hope to see you there and we'll talk about it in the FinCon Facebook group. FinCon is actually a great first-time conference to go to. It was actually one of my first conferences that I ever spoke at. What I love about FinCon specifically, which is the financial blogger conference put on by Philip Taylor from PTMoney.com, is it's not just about how to grow your personal finance blog, which I think initially it was maybe for just the personal finance bloggers, but it's grown to be so much more. What I love about that community, it's very family like in terms of how everybody supports each other, how everybody welcomes all the new people in. It's a great environment to begin to learn how to network and get out of that comfort zone and that's really the other important component of this, is not just get involved early but also get ready to talk and have some fun and meet people, and don't be afraid to start conversations.
That's really the trick when it comes to networking at these kinds of events, is when you know that you're going to an event that has people like you and who are like-minded and who are focused around and in the same arena. Even if they're not necessarily in the same niche, although it seems like you might be with ASmallInvestment.com—even if you're not, just knowing that you're doing the same kind of stuff. We're all in online space: We're all blogging, creating content, that sort of thing. It can be a great way for you to just start conversations with people. That's really what the hardest part is, is just getting started. You'll find that once you start conversations, things just start to happen. You start to get to meet people. Also, don't be afraid to ask to grab a coffee with somebody and what's the worst that can happen, right? The worst that can happen is that they'll just say no or that they're busy.
Those are some networking pieces of advice I would share with you. Now, if there's somebody that you want to talk to that you're intimidated by, maybe you're a little star struck a little bit, which sometimes happens at these events—I remember in 2010, I went to Blog World Expo, which isn't around anymore but I saw Darren Rowse from ProBlogger there and I just was too afraid to talk to him at the time because he was just so much higher in the blogosphere than I was, and I was just a little peon at the time. It wasn't until I started talking to him that I realized, “Wow, these are people just like me. They're people, too.” Darren especially, I know he's more of an introvert like myself, so he and I actually, once we started talking with one another, we connected very strongly and we've become friends since then. I'm speaking at his event in Australia as well, which happens before FinCon. Anyway, I look forward to seeing you, Andre, at FinCon and everybody else who's going to be there.
Now, in terms of getting information, I think it's important to go to conferences, especially if you're going to ones like this with breakout sessions. You're learning and you might be taking notes or recording these things or getting access to recordings. Make sure before you record—and definitely don't share and record without permission—but you can probably record on your own using an audio tape or something like that to be able to capture moments that you can take home with you. Just make sure you get permission to do that, depending on the event that you're at. Anyway, what I wanted to say was, it's important to go in with an open mind and to learn and pick workshops or pick speaking events or pick breakout sessions that matter to what it is that you're doing. I think that's really important. You might want to look at the agenda beforehand. It's not often available until a few months before the event starts, so I'm not sure if it's available quite yet for FinCon but it may be available very soon. You might be able to find speakers who you want to enjoy listening from or topics that are very relevant to what you're doing right now. The biggest thing is that you're gonna be completely overwhelmed with content. Just to know that that's gonna happen, expect that. Expect a lot of great information, especially at FinCon. Expect, essentially, it's like putting a fire hose into—or drinking from a fire hose. It's crazy the amount of information you can get and how overwhelmed you can be. My strategy going into a conference when I'm learning is: What's the one or two top things that I should be doing from all the information I've learned? Because I'd rather do one or two things than have a thousand things that I'd wish I'd done. I often pick the top one or two things that I should implement right away coming out of that conference so it is worth my time. Of course, it's always worth my time when I get to meet some friends and meet people and build new relationships; it's also important to follow up with those as well. If you meet somebody who you vibe with, once you go home you don't want it to go back to normal. You want to have that relationship start offline, excuse me, online. Having started it offline, follow up with a Skype conversation, schedule calls, all those kinds of things.
Those are great pieces of advice I could give you to get started on the right foot Andre, and I hope you have a great conference experience. Make sure you drink lots of water while you're there, because you're going to be talking a lot. They often pump the air conditioning, so you're going to be dry in the mouth and you don't want that when you're speaking or talking to other people. Make sure you bring ChapStick. I think that's really important too, because like I said, they pump a ton of air in there to keep everybody cool but that often cracks your lips and that can be very uncomfortable for some. I know it is for me, so I often bring my ChapStick along with me in my pocket. I also bring a backup charger for my phone. I'm often on the phone during these things, Tweeting and messaging people and getting people's numbers and that sort of thing, and the battery runs out quite quickly. Especially if you're on LTE or WiFi and pretty active on that, checking emails, that sort of thing. Having a backup battery, like a Mophie, to give yourself an additional recharge for the day can be very beneficial.
Andre, I hope that helps. I want to thank you so much for the question. I think this is going to be very useful because coming out of summer here, we're a little over midsummer . . . I don't know, I think we just started summer, right? Anyway, after summer is usually when conference season starts to begin again and I think this will be very useful for people. Thank you so much Andre. I want to send you an AskPat teeshirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you'd like featured here on the show as well, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page. You can also catch me live on Facebook, Periscope and YouTube, simultaneously on Friday at 1:30 p.m. I simulcast from SPI Studios, a little office space I rented here in San Diego, which is just built for live videos and recording videos. You can catch me live Friday, 1:30 p.m. Pacific, and I can potentially answer your questions there, too.
Anyway, thank you so much. I appreciate you guys all for listening in. I really, really appreciate it and I want to end with a quote, like I always do. This quote comes from Robert Browning and that is, “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” Interesting. All right, guys. Take care, thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.
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