What I Learned at FinCon

So FinCon!

How did it go, you ask? (Or, at least, I assume you’re asking.)

The short answer is that I enjoyed my first FinCon so much that I have already registered for the second one. It didn’t hurt that they were combining the early registration discount with a discount for Grant Sabatier’s Financial Freedom Summit next May, which, like, of course I want to go to that, Grant’s book Financial Freedom literally changed my life.

The longer answer is that I left FinCon with a big question that is both annoying and intriguing: what big career goal should I be chasing next?

The reason this question is annoying is because, like, did you read my most recent financial update? The career goal I’m chasing right now is more of this. How long can I maintain a balanced freelance schedule, writing for clients I enjoy working with, and bringing in between $7,000 and $13,000 a month?

I mean, I’ve barely had my current level of success as a freelancer. Just since this spring, really.*

But people are asking me when I’m going to go after a column in a Major Publication or when I’m going to write My Book (and no, they don’t mean the novel I’m currently drafting, they mean my Money Book), and part of me is like but what I have now is working so well and the other part is but should I put together a book proposal?

I think the real question is where I want to be in five years, and so far my answer has been “very close to financially independent, so I can continue to craft the work and the life and the creative career that I want.”

Though I figure I’m going to end up writing that Money Book (or, more likely, a Freelancing+Money Book) eventually, sooooooooo WHY NOT TRY TO SQUEEZE IT IN RIGHT NOW I GUESS?

And then the math part of my brain is like “let’s figure out which of these paths actually gets you to your goal of being financially independent in just under seven years, like the calculators say will happen if you keep working like you’ve been doing, and the Money Book path is the one that’s probably the least likely to get you there, considering what you know about both the traditional and the self-publication industries.”

Basically, if I spent two years writing and editing and publishing and promoting a Money Book, I could realistically expect to earn around $5K pretax, before expenses. (Sure, it could be a runaway bestseller, but it probably won’t be.)

I’d still be freelancing throughout, assumedly, but I’d be taking time out of the highest-earning point of my career to work on a project with significantly lower financial returns.

But I’d also have a book, which might open up new opportunities.

So I haven’t decided what to do about this yet, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I have decided, however, that I need to figure out how to get on the FinCon speaker/panel list for 2020. I want to specifically craft a seminar on What to Do When You’re Not Early Career Anymore, or Mid-Career Freelance Advice, or something like that—because much of what I saw at FinCon was pitched towards the entry-level. (The exception was Lisa Rowan’s excellent tutorial on how to get people to speak honestly about their finances in interviews.)

And then, I suppose, I can tell them what I did between FinCon 2019 and FinCon 2020.

After I figure it out. ❤️




*It is interesting how much I’ve done—and how much my career has changed—since The Billfold shut down, and how some people at FinCon still thought of me as “the editor of The Billfold,” or “the former editor of the former Billfold,” and I went in knowing that would be part of the conversation, and when I got quoted in the Washington Post I was identified as “the freelance writer and editor of the now-defunct website the Billfold,” and… none of that was easy, but it was not unexpected, and next year I expect the conversations will be different.