My FinCon14 New Orleans Recap – Networking At Its Finest

FinCon14I just got back from #FinCon14, and it was a BLAST. I met a ton of bloggers I haven’t met yet, and I reconnected with bloggers I met at FinCon13.

The sessions are always great at FinCon, but I have to say that the networking and relationships you can create can’t be beat.

FinCon is nothing like your average conference. I used to attend conferences all the time when I had my day job, and they were the worst “events” ever. Which is kind of funny because those were financial-related conferences as well. They were horrible though and I cannot even describe how miserable they were. Most of them would even keep attendance because they know no one wants to be there (but you have to go anyways because your employer paid for it…).

FinCon is completely different though.

You WANT to be there.

You don’t want to sleep because you are afraid of missing out. FOMO at its best.

In fact, I already bought my ticket for next year.

Thursday at FinCon14.

On Thursday, there wasn’t much going on for FinCon14 if you just had the base ticket, but there was the welcome reception which you never want to miss. It’s a great spot for networking and meeting everyone. There are usually free drinks and snack foods, and it’s a lot of fun too!

After the welcome reception was over, I went down to the hotel bar with a bunch of other bloggers. After that, I went out to Frenchman’s Street with a bunch of different bloggers and we danced and talked the night away.

Friday at FinCon14.

I went to a few sessions on Friday, and I went to the Expo Hall to see what companies were at the conference.

After that, I went to a dinner with a bunch of awesome bloggers, such as J.D. Roth and Farnoosh (I love them both!), that was set up by Melanie from DearDebt and Tonya from MyFabFinance. There was a fun trolley ride and a dinner thanks to A Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance at NOLA Restaurant, which was delicious (and free!).

Saturday at FinCon14.

On Saturday, I went to a few sessions but my main focus during the day was my mentoring session and listening to the keynote by Farnoosh.

I was a mentor to Leah and I won’t lie, I was extremely nervous. Mentoring someone in person for some reason always scares me! Luckily, she was great and the mentoring session was great. We talked for the whole session and I was able to help her out in a few areas. She has an awesome blog and she writes for some big name websites, so I would definitely check her out if you haven’t yet!

After the keynote from Farnoosh, the Plutus Awards started. I didn’t win anything, but other awesome blogs did! It was fun, and I was the drink ticket girl for the Plutus Awards after party. This was a fun event, and it was nice talking to a bunch of bloggers on the last night.

The last event for FinCon14 was the after party/closing party at the Beach on Bourbon Street. It was a lot of fun and there was a lot of dancing.

Sorry to anyone who saw my sad dancing skills because I was dancing for a good four hours!

Networking.

I met so many amazing bloggers, and it would probably take days for me to list out all of their names (around 600 people attended FinCon14!).

I will say I loved everyone I met. There wasn’t a single person I didn’t like, and everyone is extremely approachable and fun.

How much did FinCon14 cost me?

FinCon14 wasn’t too bad for me. I spent around $630 on it. We stayed in a rental house about 1.5 miles away from the French Quarter so that we could bring our dogs (yup, I’m a crazy dog lady).

  • FinCon14 ticket – $150. I bought the Super Early Bird ticket.
  • VRBO home rental – $275 for three nights. We brought our dogs with us :)
  • Gas – $100. Gas is cheap in our new car!
  • Taxis – $30. I ended up taking a taxi to the conference on Friday and Saturday (and back from the bars) so that I didn’t have to pay the ridiculous $40 parking fee that the conference hotel charges PER DAY. I split a cab a few times with Stephanie at TheBrokeandBeautifulLife which also saved me some money because her rental was next to mine).
  • Food and drinks – $75. This is probably higher than what I actually spent. Breakfast and lunch is provided by FinCon on some of the days (for my ticket it was provided on Friday and Saturday), so that helps bring the cost of food down.

 

Did you attend FinCon? Would you attend in the future?

 

P.S. For some of you who do not know, this is Michelle from MakingSenseofCents.com, in case any of you are wondering who the heck DiversifiedFinances.com was at the conference :)

 

Making Money With A Guest Home or an Attached Apartment

8335300100_cd967bd9e1_zWe’ve been shopping online for homes a lot lately to get an idea of what we can afford with our home budget. We have fallen in love with a few homes, and some of the homes even have guest homes on the property.

One topic that has been crossing our mind a lot lately is possibly using a guest home (or a guest suite) as a way to make extra money.

It seems like many people are doing this lately. I even came across a blogger the other day who is adding an “apartment” addition to the back of their home so they can make some extra money by renting it out.

However, how do you know if it’s for you? I’m always going back and forth about real estate and being a landlord, but I’ve always heard that duplexes and suites on the same property as where the landlord live seem to do particularly well.

Below are some different areas to think about if you are wanting to have an apartment, suite, or a guest home on your property to rent out:

Will you rent the property to short-term renters or long-term?

Renting short-term or long-term can be a very different experience, so this is an area you should think hard about.

A short-term rental usually has the potential to make more money, but there is also more work to be done since you will usually have to provide all the furniture, clean the property, give the keys to each renter multiple times a month, and more.

With a long-term rental, the opposite can be said for much of the above. The renter will usually furnish the property themselves, they will do all the cleaning, you really only need to bother them once (signing papers and giving them the keys), then hopefully the rent checks just roll in each and every month. However, you may earn less money by having a long-term renter living in your property instead of a short-term renter.

Do you like your privacy?

Since your renter or renters will be so close to you, you really need to think about how much you like your privacy.

If the person is in a guest house, then privacy might not be as big of a deal since they will be in an entirely different building from you. However, if they are in the same home as you are, then privacy can be a much bigger deal.

Sometimes you can solve this by having a whole separate apartment (such as a basement apartment or an above-garage apartment) with a separate door from yours.

For us, we wouldn’t be interested in a connected suite if we had children. However, a guest home on a different side of the property would probably be different. For example, we found one home on 15 acres that had a guest home around an acre away from the main home. This home is what spiked this whole idea to us.

What rules will there be?

If someone is practically going to be your roommate, then you will probably want to set rules. We have rented out rooms in our house in the past and have always set rules.

Sometimes the rules are completely forgotten about by the renter, while other times the rental situation has worked out well.

Different rules may include:

  • Can they have parties?
  • Can they have friends or family members over?
  • What about sleepovers?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Who cleans?
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • What about noise volumes?
  • Where can they park?

What do you think? Would you ever buy a home and rent out a section of it?

 

Image via Flickr by rowdykittens

5 Ways To Market Your Blog

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I know, I know, I’ve been talking about blogging a lot lately. Last week I published Out Of New Ideas For Articles and Blog Posts? This week I’m going to talk about five different ways to market your blog.

This is a question I am often asked by new bloggers. I definitely do not have a big blog by any means, but I do many different things to network and hopefully get my name out there. Thankfully, networking and marketing are some of my favorite parts about blogging.

Below are five ways to market your blog and attract new readers:

1. Create great content.

My top tip to market your blog is to always produce great content. You can market your blog an insane amount but if your content sucks then no one will stay. Instead, they will read a sentence and run away screaming.

Always produce great content, make sure your posts are engaging, do your research, and make your readers want to come back for more.

2. Guest post.

Guest posting is something I will admit I do not do enough of. I do participate in interviews, but I haven’t done an actual guest post in years it feels like.

Guest posting is a great way for new readers to find you. You can reach out to a blog owner you are interested in writing for and ask if they accept guest posts. Usually they will ask for a few topic ideas from you and give you their requirements.

3. Be active on social media.

There are many different social media networks out there. Social media is a great way to market your blog because EVERYONE has some sort of social media account. It’s just another way for a potential reader to find you.

Social media can also be a great way to get your name out there because most people want to see a real face or a real personality when it comes to reading a blog. I know that when I was “semi-anonymous,” a few people actually stopped reading my blog because they felt like they never really knew the “real” me because I never posted any pictures or shared any of my personal social media accounts. I am now completely public, but I do think that being anonymous held me back the first year.

Now, I am active on all different social media outlets. I have Instagram, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. You can post links to your articles, publish images, use hashtags, etc. in order to attract readers to your blog.

4. Comment on other blogs and in forums.

This is something I love about blogging. I comment on other blogs and forums (I personally love the Mr. Money Mustache forum, for example) mainly because I am nosy and I don’t want to “miss out” on something in the blogging world and in a blogger’s life. Since I work from home now, commenting is pretty much my form of socializing with others.

Also, make sure you reply to comments on your own blog as well. I often go back to blogs I comment on and see if I was replied to. It’s a nice little touch and can go a long way.

5. Participate in giveaways.

This is something many people have mixed feelings about. For me, I enjoy having giveaways. It’s a way for me to give back to my readers, and I know that many readers have also found me because of giveaways.

There are many ways to hold a giveaway. You can give something away (such as cash, a product, a service, etc.) with no strings attached, or you can ask them you follow you in some form (such as asking them to follow you on Twitter or Facebook). You can have a giveaway by yourself, or you can team up with other bloggers and have a huge giveaway.

I’ve found that both ways can work well if you decide to have a giveaway. The key is to promote your giveaway via giveaway websites in order to find new followers. Just type in “giveaway promote” into a Google search and you will find many giveaway companies that will help you do this. Some are free and some cost a little bit of money. I’ve found that the free giveaway promotions work just fine.

How do you market your blog?

 

Image via Flickr by mkhmarketing.wordpress.com