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Digital CoLab and #FinCon2015 Review

Each year, when choosing my travel schedule, I know that I will be attending Digital CoLab. Without a doubt, I know that Digital CoLab is the one conference where I can go and learn something that will change the direction of my business in a very good way.

GIVEAWAY! Awesome blogging conference combo for bloggers in personal finance and more! Save the date for September 2016 in San Diego.

This year, since Digital CoLab preceded FinCon, I decided to stick around and attend both conferences.

Session Rewind

Digital CoLab was two days of intensives and round table discussions. I was excited to train others on Periscope and still have time to learn.

Digital CoLab Sessions

Steve Chou, Getting into E-commerce

Steve, founder of My Wife Quit Her Job, brought a tremendous amount of content in his session. He walked a group of about 30 (maybe 40) people step-by-step through the process of finding a marketable product, negotiating with the vendor, and listing the product for sale… and more. Despite being so comprehensive, Steve helped me realize that breaking into e-commerce was actually easier than I thought.

Jim Wang, Membership Sites

Founder of Wallet Hacks, Jim has worked side-by-side with Erin Chase of $5 Dinners to create and amazingly successful membership site. As the owner of two membership sites, my largest take-aways was the importance of surveys… lots of surveys. Upgrade surveys, purchase surveys, exit surveys, product creation surveys… Keep asking questions. Then, use snippets from the responses to write the copy for your products. (Why didn’t I think of that?!)

Bob Loitch, Adsense Hacks

Bob is the founder of Seed Time, formerly known as Christian Personal Finance, and he shared how he has increased his Google Adsense revenue by consistently setting experiments. Through simple A/B testing, Bob has been able to secure an additional $1,000 a month but only spend about 5 minutes on his Adsense account each week, and he had us walk through the simple process with him so we could take this knowledge home with experience.

Just a little light conversation at the #DigiCoLab round table with #blogger #Blogging #taxes

A photo posted by Tabitha Philen (@tabithaphilen) on


Each roundtable was restricted to ten or less and was extremely hands-on. I learned how to implement A/B testing, the best tax entity classification for my blogging business, and much more!

FinCon Sessions

Oh my! The number of sessions available at FinCon is quite overwhelming, even for this seasoned blog conference attendee. But, that is a GREAT thing because you can be sure to find topics that apply to you even if your niche is not personal finance.

Jared Easley, Getting Interviewed by Podcasters

I had a fabulous time meeting Jared, co-founder of Podcast Movement, and not just because he originates from my home state of Alabama. (Although we did have a blast sipping sweet tea and talking in our deep south accents.)

Remember #podcasting is intimate because you are right inside someone’s earbuds @jaredeasley #FinCon15 — Tabitha Philen (@TabithaPhilen) September 18, 2015

Being resistant to joining the amazingly talented podcasters I listen to each week, I realized that I could still offer my expertise to podcasters and help them develop content without needing to start a podcast of my own.

Noah Kagan, Email Subscribers

Founder of OK Dork and Sumome, Noah is a powerhouse of information. While his session was about blowing up your email subscriber list, I learned much more than that. My biggest takeaway was actually through his tips on creating Facebook ads, one of my biggest deficits.

FinCon was also packed with sessions featuring success stories (from people who quit their jobs to work from home, started using Pinterest, and more) as well as expert panels (where you could have your website reviewed and business model adjusted.)


There was always something to learn during the day and if you thought you might have some time to put your feet up, you would remember the extensive vendor hall packed with sponsors or the amazing keynotes… and I can’t forget the parties every night and the PLUTUS Awards.

Truly, the opportunities to network with powerhouse podcasters, millionaire bloggers, and really cool nerds were numerous, but the best part… it was like a huge family reunion. No pretenses. No stuffy suits. Just blue jeans, flip flops, and a bunch of friends talking about business over dinner.

Next Year’s Digital CoLab and FinCon

I already have my tickets and hotel reservation for Digital CoLab and FinCon 2016, hosted in San Diego from September 20 through September 24, and I would LOVE for your to join me!

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Networking: The Overlooked Benefits of Blogging Conferences

Today we welcome Dollie Freeman, founder of the Focused Blogging Conference to share how networking can often be one of the biggest overlooked benefits of attending a blogging conference.


Blogging conferences are an investment that any business-minded blogger should be investing in for the growth of their online business. Often times, conference attendees solely focus on the learning benefits of the conference, without taking the consideration of how important networking is to their blog’s growth. I want to highlight how networking is the overlooked benefit of blogging conferences and what you can do to increase your rate on investment through networking.

Networking is often overlooked when weighing out the benefits of blogging conferences. Here are 7 tips to help!

Networking: The Overlooked Benefits of Blogging Conferences

Investing in a blogging conference is always a good thing to continue growing a blog and the learning that comes from the sessions speakers are always filled with nuggets to improve your current efforts. However, there are always so many more opportunities for growth through networking at blogging conferences that I would love to highlight the ways you can benefit from making this a focus for your future conferences.

Networking Opportunity One: Social Media

Prior to attending the conference, be sure to get connected on all the social media platforms available through the conference. They may offer an attendee only group on Facebook to connect with the other attendees, conference team, speakers and often times the sponsors. If the conference is offering any Facebook parties be sure to participate and start the learning and networking prior to attending.

Twitter is another social media platform that conferences utilize to grow community prior to their event, as well as during and after. Follow the Twitter handle for the conference and also the hashtag. Join in on the conversations and start using the hashtag prior to attending the conference. Mark your calendar for any Twitter parties the conference could be offering, as it is a great opportunity to follow other attendees and become a part of the growing community.

Dont’ forget Instagram!

Instagram is a really fun way to connect with others attending the conference and get a feel for those that really resonate with you, building what could be amazing relationship for years to come. Follow the conference and begin using their hashtag!

Networking Opportunity Two: Arrive Early on the First Day of Conference

Organize a lunch or relaxed meeting with those who have arrived early and start to get to know each other FACE to FACE. Don’t just meet up with your establish friends! This is one of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers making all.the.time.

Make the most of every opportunity to connect with other attendees. Exchange business cards, take selfies together and share them with the conference hashtags, follow each other on your favorite social media platforms.

Take some time to share your elevator pitches to each other, so you can identify those within your niches, and than put a * on their business card if you want to network further for a future project together.

Networking Opportunity Three: Always Eat With New People

Networking can be difficult for most people, especially those who aren’t comfortable in new environments or a conference setting. Sharing a meal together makes it so much easier!

Conversations around a meal can feel less threatening and open up more potential when you have a table of people to enjoy a conversation with and get to know in a relaxed setting.

Nothing is easier than just simply asking, “Tell me about your blog” or “Where have you seen the most growth in your blogging journey?”

Networking Opportunity Four: Accept Invitations That Are Offered

One of my favorite networking parts of a blogging conference is the impromptu meet-ups, whether they are for brain-storming, grabbing a bit to eat, enjoying an evening in a room to laugh and eat chocolate or just working on a project.

It is important to be watching the Twitter hashtag, or the Facebook group for things that are put together last minute. These are golden opportunities and worth taking advantage of because often times they are inspired by something that is taught at the conference and people are ready to network with others who share their vision or within their own niche.

Pack your own chocolate and open up your room for a late night debriefing of the day, where you all share your top 3-5 things you loved best about the learning for the day. Then put a plan together and see if others share your idea… you may just get a business partner for an idea!

7 ideas that get overlooked when networking at a blogging conference.

Networking Opportunity Five: Don’t Assume Another Blogger Is Too Big to Get to Work With

Some of the most successful bloggers are the easiest to approach and network with, but you need to get past the star-struck ideas. They started their blogs with no traffic, no followers and no knowledge, so they know how important it is to network.

I approached many of the most successful bloggers I have met through blogging conferences to work on several projects and each time I was thrilled to see they were completely excited about the opportunity to work with me, and never asked my blog size before jumping in on the project.

Networking Opportunity Six: Niche Networking Is Powerful

Learning about the bloggers who are attending the conference that are writing within your same niche can be a powerful way to network together. Have a few project ideas in mind to share with those you are meeting during the conference and see if they are interested to join you or have additional ideas to share how to make it even better.

Embracing those that share your influence online will strengthen your message and grow your platform because you are focused on meeting the need of your readers, not competing with a fellow blogger.

Networking Opportunity Seven: Follow Up After the Conference

Once all the knowledge of a conference sinks into your brain, and you have had time to sleep, digest the information and make a plan of how to implement the key take-aways from the conference, you will want to be sure to follow up with those bloggers that you met that stuck out to you.

You may want to invite them to a private Facebook group to discuss a project, start a mastermind group or have an accountability group where you work on the key things you really want to do to grow your blog.

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Why Attend a Blog Conference?

If you want to grow your blog quickly, you need to attend a blog conference.

Looking back over the analytic history on my blog at, I have what I call “the dividing line.”

On that blog, you can clearly see a difference before I attended my first blog conference and after. My first conference was The 2:1 Conference, and the impact of that one weekend changed the direction of my blog, my life, and my family.

Why should you go to a blog conference?

Could our family afford for me to attend this conference? No. But we made the sacrifices necessary and I am so glad because our lives have never been the same.


The experts

A blog conference gives you the opportunity to learn from the best.

The conference founders are the leaders in our field and they take tremendous pride in finding the experts on topics that matter for our growth and development, bringing them together so you can pick apart their brains.

The networking

Not only do blog founders work hard to hire great speakers, they bring in excellent sponsors and give you the opportunity to speak with these brands, face to face. Some of the connections I have made at blogging conferences have become major sources of income, not to mention the amazing relationships.

The friendships

Speaking of relationships… Before I attended a blog conference, the other bloggers I “saw” online were just avatars. I would tweet with them and might leave a comment on their blogs, but they didn’t come to life until I met them face to face, shared a hotel room with them, and ate meals with them.

The ladies and men I’ve had the pleasure to meet at blog conferences have become my mentors, blog traffic referrers, biggest cheerleaders on new endeavors, best friends, and the main reason why you should attend a blog conference.

>>Find a blog conference to attend<<

You can make no greater investment in your blog than to go to a conference and meet your peers.

Even if you are at a point where you know everything there is to know about blogging and you could easily be the keynote speaker in every session, you still should find a conference to attend each year because no matter how much attention you pay to SEO or social media, it is the relationships that will take your blog to the next level.

Why do you consider a blog conference a wise investment?

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How to Prepare for a Conference

Please welcome my friend, Jim Wang, to the blog. Jim is the founder of Microblogger and all-around great guy.

Conferences are a fantastic way to meet people you’ve only ever communicated with online. Facebook, Twitter, email and even the phone are only poor substitutes to meeting someone in person and really getting to know them.

Headed to a blogging conference? Check these tips for how to prepare and get the most from your investment.

To that end, the key to having a successful conference is to ensure you meet everyone you intend to meet. I like to separate, in my mind, my meetings into two categories – personal and professional. Personal refers to people I’d like to meet because I’m friends with them online. A fellow blogger falls under the “personal” category.

Professional refers to people I’d like to meet because we have an existing business relationship. An affiliate manager or a public relations representative falls under the professional.

Build a rough schedule of events. The first step is building a rough schedule of events you want to attend so you have a sense of where you’ll be and when. At conferences where there are ten different tracks and eight happy hours each night, it’ll be tough to remember what you wanted to do when – creating a list now will help.

Create a list of people you want to meet. This starts by asking your blogging colleagues if they’ll be attending. If they are, try to make sure you go to some of the same sessions or networking events.

Then, get a list of the attendees, speakers, and exhibitors in order to build your list of people you want to meet (your target list).

Email or tweet at your target list. Introduce yourself, let them know that you saw them on the list of attendees or speakers or exhibitors and that you’d love to meet up. You might set up a “formal” meeting at a particular time or just agree to look out for each other, just something where meeting in person will seem like a foregone conclusion.

Set up a few meetings beforehand. I like to keep my conference schedules flexible with only a handful of meetings pre-scheduled. I do this because I have my list of people I know I want to meet but I don’t want to feel constrained. I don’t want to feel like I’m going from meeting to meeting to meeting.

Save on your ticket for Digital Colab with discount code.

This flexibility gives me the structure of a few scheduled meetings but also the freedom to continue a fun conversation I’m having with someone on the coffee line.

Research your target list. This makes the most sense for big brands but knowing what big announcements they have can go a long way in showing them that you are aware of their work, their goals, and might make a good partner. If there is an opportunity to work together, knowing what they’re doing and being educated can help.

Prepare your blog for your absence. You’ll want to make sure your best content is published on your blog when you’re away. You’ll be meeting a lot of new faces, telling them about your site, and you’ll want the best stuff on the homepage for them to see should they load it up.

Conferences can be tiring and you’ll find that your ability to write good content will be compromised. It’s much easier to write it beforehand and schedule it to appear when you’re at your busiest.

I hope those tips help you prepare for your next conference, I know they’ve treated me well over the years.

Do you have any conference prep tips I missed? I’d love to hear them!

Jim Wang is the founder of Microblogger, where he teaches readers how to build a small business empire they can be proud of. In a few short years, he was able to turn Bargaineering, his humble personal finance blog, into a $3 million business and he shares all he knows. For actionable advice on how to build your own business, join his free newsletter.