Fincon 13: Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone and Loving It

Downtown St. LouisIn case you don’t read any other blog except Eyes on the Dollar, you might not know that the financial bloggers all congregated last week in St. Louis for Fincon 13. I was fortunate enough to be there. If you’ve already read 500 Fincon summaries and can’t stand to read another one, don’t gouge your eyes out yet (that’s hard to fix). I think my takeaways can apply to just about any social situation, even if you aren’t a blogger.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone


Speaking for myself and many of the bloggers I met last week, we are not work the crowd type people. Although I have a day job and interact with the public, I am not good in crowds, and I’m terrible at starting conversations.

If you have this personality, the more you avoid social situations, the worse it gets. I have to force myself to stay in public rather than retreating to my hotel room, and I did that for most of Fincon.  I’m proud that I met so many great people.

 Don’t Try Too Hard When Meeting New People

Average Joe secure in his manhood with his new pink Otterbox

Average Joe secure in his manhood with his new pink Otterbox

I went to the very first session at the beginning of Fincon, and it was a talk about how to meet your favorite bloggers given by Agatha K, the sweaty armpit girl. I actually rode down in the elevator with her before the talk. While you’d never notice it watching her speak, she was nervous, even while rocking a leopard print mini dress and carrying puppets. It just goes to show you that even people who seem to have it all together still get butterflies.

I really tried to take her advice to heart. Be yourself. Don’t stalk people. Make sure you don’t have food in your teeth, and don’t try too hard. If you are at a trade conference, odds are the people attending share some common ground. You don’t have to say 800 words per minute. Just introduce yourself and let things flow from there. I find it surreal that I had a conversation about adults wearing braces with J.D. Roth, but I’m sure that was much better than gushing to him about how cool I think he is.

 Prevent Burnout


Attending a conference in your area of expertise is a great way to get fired up about what you do. Doing online work can be really lonely, so it’s great to see what others are doing and find new ways to get excited about your work.

Now that we’ve established common ground, these are the things I did at Fincon 13 to step outside my comfort zone.

Share the Love


I realize that I would have probably spent more time in my room without a roommate. Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff was nice enough to let me share with her the first night. She was one of the reasons I started blogging, so it was really nice to meet her, even if she was only in the room for about 5 hours to sleep!

For the rest of the conference, I shared with Mrs. PoP from Planting our Pennies. While I’m sure she is a bit disturbed by my hair and feet grooming habits, I think we have quite a bit in common, and we got along well.

 Monument Visiting

St Louis ArchYou know you are in a good community when you find yourself with three people you just met in a small pod-like capsule, contained in steel and cement, going to the top of a giant arch. I’d like to thank Kathleen from Frugal Portland, Carrie from Careful Cents, Sofia from Caviar and Quarters, and a random New Zealand tourist for making that trip memorable.

 Game Show Contestant


Somehow, I ended up as a contestant on the first ever Fincon Game Show put on by MoneyPlan SOS.  You can listen to the podcast here. My fellow contestants were Lena from What Mommy Does, Lauren from L Bee and the Money Tree, and Paula from Afford Anything. While I didn’t win, I am pleased that I knew that it was Wimpy that said “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”


Photo courtesy of Steve Stewart

Photo courtesy of Steve Stewart

It was really great see so many people that I kind of knew from their blogs but had never met in person. I won’t list them all, but you know who you are. For anyone considering Fincon 14 or any type of even that requires networking, I strongly encourage you to get over your fears and just go. The worst that could happen is that you make a fool out of yourself, but at least people will remember you!

How have you gone outside of your comfort zone? Was it helpful?


  1. “The worst that could happen is that you make a fool out of yourself, but at least people will remember you!” So true! Even bad press is good press.

    It was great to meet you in person. I had no idea about the game show — I’m sorry I missed it.
    Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions recently posted..Consigning Clothes OnlineMy Profile

  2. Best FinCon roommate I’ve ever had! Last weekend was a huge step outside my comfort zone, and as a reward I got sick… Which one of the many sick bloggers from FinCon can I place the blame on… =)
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Happy Friday - Happy Money: Make It A TreatMy Profile

  3. The conference looks so awesome, Kim! I NEED to go next year. I should almost set aside the funds now so that I have no excuse. I’m a pretty big introvert so going to a conference would be stepping outside my comfort zone, even though I have talked to so many online before. Pretty much every time I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone I haven’t regretted it. Something I think everyone should do more often.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..The Weekly Quick Hits RoundupMy Profile

  4. Great write-up Kim! I can relate to so many of these things and would say definitely to step outside your comfort zone. I am always tempted to go back to my hotel room during things like this and so glad that I did not - plus, for many, it was like you knew each other already so it made connecting a little easier…even though it made the introvert in me cringe. :) It was great meeting you and looking forward to going next year!
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Making Friends at FinCon: Why You Should Go Next YearMy Profile

  5. Glad you got out of your comfort zone and did things like the game show. Wish I could have seen it. Where was I? And of course it was great hanging out with you. I noticed a lot of pf bloggers went to sponsored events and got free food. Another thing I missed. Have to make that happen next year. Would you go again?
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Surround Yourself with Financially Positive PeopleMy Profile

  6. Holy crap. You didn’t just put a picture of me with “someone else’s” pink phone case, did you? I’d just picked it up off the floor and….

    AverageJoe recently posted..Retiring In A Foreign Country – STK 026OMy Profile

  7. Sounds SO fun, Kim!!!! I’m hoping we can go next year too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :-)
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Fall Favorite RecipesMy Profile

  8. Looks and sounds like you had an awesome time Kim.

    Better get myself signed up for 2014! recently posted..Real wages in the UK - how inflation is impacting your salaryMy Profile

  9. Sounds like a great time, Kim. I’m sorry I missed it. Hopefully next year I can make it!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..How To Protect Your Blog Against A Brute Force AttackMy Profile

  10. Sounds like you had a great time Kim. I feel the same way about crowds it takes me a lot of time to warm up but once I do it’s not to bad.
    Chris @ Stumble Forward recently posted..Why the UK Is So Popular With International InvestorsMy Profile

  11. I would love to go. It depends where they hold it. I am close to Toronto and it would have to be somewhere that I could get a cheap flight to. Of course that is assuming that my debt is gone by next summer and I can save up enough money to go. I would not like to be in the company of Mr. Money Mustache knowing that I had charged my trip and that it would take me months to pay it off.

    I think Budgeting In The Fun Stuff is great too and I am practicing my chin ups for the chin up competition.
    Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle recently posted..Energy Costs Rise As The Temperature Drops, British Interest Rates And Money Quickies For October 23,2013My Profile

  12. I almost fee as though I no longer have a comfort zone. The good news is I am growing and accomplishing more in my life.
    krantcents recently posted..Why No One Cares What You Think about Investment Plan (and How to Stop Being so Freaking Boring)My Profile

  13. Wish I would have shared a beer with you, Average Joe and his pink phone. I am happy you had a fabulous time, it would have been hell for me too but I am sure the outcome would have been super positive.
    Pauline recently posted..Planning and Budgeting for Big Ticket ExpensesMy Profile

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