2 years ago I was given a ticket to FinCon16 and it changed my life. I’ve explained several times how exactly that trip affected my life. What I haven’t ever publicly explained is what that trip cost me.
The Ticket Was Free, The Travel Was Not
A few months before the conference, a conference I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to, Melanie Lockart had a contest on her site that gave me my ticket for free.
I was thrilled but thought I would have to turn it down because the conference was in California, and I live in Florida.
At the time I had almost no money, I had been side hustling for nearly a year but the business wasn’t doing great yet. In fact, at this time even I thought that it would only be a short-term solution to get out of debt and not a lifestyle change.
And so, I used all the profit I had made from the business thus far and put it towards the trip. Even still more was needed.
I Went Back Into Debt To Pay For The Trip
It had been a year since I started really side hustling, and things were starting to go well. I had paid down some debt, put a little money aside, and was finally making progress towards my goals.
But, this trip was important, I had to do it. So I did exactly what I tell others not to do, I did what everyone at FinCon would have told me not to do, I went back into debt.
The cards that had started being paid off, I maxed out again. I even opened a new card that would only give me $500 credit limit to make the trip. I stayed at the conference hotel and well the hotel was more than $500 so I had no money. Not even credit.
How Important Is Food?
When I said I had no money that’s kind of a lie. I had $20 for the entire time I was at the conference. Now I’ve made it on $20 a week before, but this was in San Diego, a city where I don’t know anyone, and I don’t have a kitchen. As a matter of fact, the room I was staying in didn’t even have a fridge so I couldn’t buy too much stuff.
So, what I did was I went to a nearby Walgreens, bought some water, chips, candy, peanuts, cough drops, and toothpaste.
I realize some of the things are not the best of choices but I needed sugar to keep myself going, needed cough drops because my voice was gone, and the toothpaste was really for everyone’s benefit.
So what did I really eat the entire time I was there? Well, anything the conference had that involved free food, went. Not only did I go, I ate until I couldn’t because I wasn’t even sure when I would be able to eat again for that trip.
Why I Risked So Much?
So, at this point you may be asking yourself, why would I risk so much, put a year’s worth of work on the line for a conference I had no guarantee would benefit me?
Here’s why, because I knew if I could get in front of the right person at the right time I would be able to land the right client and it would all be worth it.
See, I’m not popular online, I don’t have many followers, readers, email subscribers, etc. And I had even less back then.
I don’t have an amazing story of making 6 figures, in fact at that point the most I had ever made in one year was $30,000.
But, I’m a very good talker.
I can have a conversation with anyone about anything and most of the time people like me. And if people like you, they hire you.
So my goal was just to talk to as many people as possible and hope for the best, get as many business cards out as possible, and follow up with everyone.
It Was Worth It
This conference was two years ago, and this year it will be in Orlando a mere 2-hour drive from where I sit right now writing this article and I’ll be there.
A major difference will be that I won’t be stressed about trying to get the right connections. I already have the right connections. I won’t worry about money for food, I’ve got plenty in savings. Not only that, I have whole credit cards paid off if worse comes to worse (it won’t).
FinCon16 was so worth it for me. I can trace my entire success as a freelancer to that conference.
Without it I wouldn’t have got on Chonce Maddox’s radar, she wouldn’t have thought of me when a client needed work done she couldn’t do, and that client wouldn’t have then brought me on nearly a year later as Operations Manager for their company allowing me to work for myself on my schedule.
Not only that, but I wouldn’t have the support group I have now. I have a group of friends that understand what I do for work and will continue to help me whenever I ask. I have connections to get people on my podcast, people who just a few years ago seemed like celebrities to me.