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Last Thursday I flew out to St. Louis to go to a financial blogging conference called FinCon. I have been blogging for almost four years now, however, I had never been to a blogging conference up to this point. I didn’t know what to expect, however, the next four days would blow my mind. Here are some of my highlights from FinCon 2013.

Ashley Jacobs’ rap parody of Thrift Shop was priceless

Ashley Jacobs Rap about Personal Finance blogging

There is nothing like a well thought out rap parody, especially one that is flawlessly done to Macklemore’s Thrift Shop. Ashley Jacobs from Wisebread has mad rap skills and she did not miss a beat. I hope that someone uploads it to YouTube soon because it will be a great go-to video for inspiration on my own pursuit to be a rapper.

Image Credit: Carrie Smith from Careful Cents

Pat Flynn’s keynote about first impressions was a trip

Pat Flynn Fincon 2013Have you ever tripped and fell to the ground right before meeting someone for the first time? Well, that is exactly what Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income did in his presentation, however, he did it on purpose. Then, all of a sudden, he got up and went into re-wind mode like watching an old VHS tape that you would re-wind to go back to the beginning. His point: you don’t get a second chance at first impressions. I took several tips away from his presentation that I will be implementing over the next few weeks to make a better impression when people visit Well Kept Wallet for the first time.

Image Credit:ย Peter Anderson at Bible Money Matters

My first real speaking gig ever on SEO

Deacon Hayes Speaking at FinCon 2013

I was humbled by the opportunity to have my very first speaking gig at FinCon 2013. I spoke on SEO 101: How to get to #1 in Google. This is kind of an oxymoron as it takes a little more than 101 level material to get to the top of the search results, but regardless the tips that I gave will help other financial bloggers increase their rankings in the search engines. If you missed the presentation, no worries, check out my SEO 101 page where I put notes from the session. You can also get the Virtual Passย to watch the video of my presentation as well as others from the conference. In addition, I will be sure to update the SEO 101 page as I come across additional search engine optimization tips since SEO standards seem to change on a monthly, if not weekly basis these days.

Image Credit: Steve ofย Money Plan SOS

A winner has been found for the best BBQ in St Louis

Joel and Deacon FinCon 2013

At the conference I connected with Joel Larsgaard from Save Outside the Box who was one a mission to find the best BBQ in St Louis. We went to three different BBQ joints and determining who was the best was a challenge because two of them were AMAZINGLY good. It was a toss up between Pappy’s and Bogart’s Smoke House, but as you can tell from the picture, Bogart’s got first place. It was a privilege to experience this BBQ journey with Jacob from I Heart Budgets, Mike from Renting Out Rooms, Mario from DebtBlag, and John (and the Mrs.) from Frugal Rules.

Derek Halpern’s keynote speech – “Quality not Quantity”

Derek Halpern FinCon 2013

When Derek Halpern was talking I felt like he was speaking directly to me. He shared how there is such a rush for blogger to publish content on a regular basis that we sacrifice quality by pumping out quantity. Instead he encouraged us to make content that is so good that people WANT to share it. So if you know someone that can benefit from this post please share it with them ๐Ÿ™‚

The Gateway Arch tour with Joel and Mike “I work at IBM” Choi

Mike Choi and Joel Larsgaard Arch

On the last day of FinCon, Joel, Mike and myself attempted to go up to the top of the Gateway Arch that is right next to the Mississippi river in St. Louis. When we got to the ticket booth, we realized that the time we were planning on going up was sold out and we all had flights to catch where it just didn’t make sense. We decided to just walk around and tour the museum. Who knew that the arch was twice the size of the Statue of Liberty?

I met an amazing group of like-minded people offline

FinCon 2013 Thug Picture

Being a personal finance blogger I have engaged with hundreds of people online but very rarely do I get to meet these people in person. FinCon was a great opportunity to put a face to Twitter handles. In this pic we have Stephanie (Plutus Award winning blogger from The Empowered Dollar), Joel from Save Outside the box (Plutus Award nominee), andย Ben from Money Smart Life who is about to change the self-publishing world with his new online project.

Deacon Hayes and Pat Flynn

I also got a chance to meet Pat Flynn and tell him about how he helped inspire me to quit my 9-5 job to officially become an entrepreneur and run my own business full-time back in February of 2013. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would not have had the courage to go out on my own. If you haven’t had a chance to hear his story, check out his about page to see how he went from being laid off from an architecture firm to creating a very successful online business.

Lastly, I want to send a special shout out to PT Money and everyone else that made FinCon this year possible. It was evident how much work was put into pulling this off…THANK YOU!!!

If you went to FinCon 2013, What is your favorite highlight?