I spent the past weekend in Toronto, attending Canadian Personal Finance Conference 2016 (CPFC16) with a bunch of personal finance nerds err experts. Although I have been blogging anonymously for roughly two and half years, I have never met up with anyone in the personal finance community. Earlier this year I was debating between FinCon and CPFC. I ended up deciding on CPFC after Barry Choi at Money We Have convinced me. (Actually the real reason is because CPFC turned out to be cheaper due to no exchange rate involved and 2 less days).
When I introduced to Barry and Krystal at Borrowell's pre-conference party on Friday night using my real name, I saw a moment of "Who the heck is this random guy?" facial expressions. It wasn't until I introduced myself as Tawcan a few seconds later they realized who I was.
I knew a lot of well-known personal finance experts were attending Canadian Personal Finance Conference but I had a few starstruck moments this past weekend...
- I talked to Kerry Taylor from Squawkfox!!! I have been following and reading her blog for a long time now. Can you believe we talked about cloth diapers? FRUGAL NERDS!!!
- I met and talked to Melissa Leong from Financial Post. She gave an amazing session on Saturday and lit up the room with her funny remarks.
- I met and talked to Jonathan Chevreau, the co-author of Victory Lap Retirement. Very cool considering I have been reading Jon's articles for many years and had the chance to review the book.
- I attended sessions from Rob Carrick, Preet Banerjee, and Bruce Sellery. It was unfortunate that I didn't get a chance to talk to them one-on-one. But it was really cool to be in the same room as these PF celebrities at the same time.
Overall the conference was a lot of fun and I gained valuable knowledge on blogging, freelancing, collaboration, and creating an online business. It was great to finally meet people whom I have been talking for a very long time and connect with other bloggers that I have not communicated prior. Two things became clear to me during CPFC. First, everyone is very friendly and very helpful. You would think that personal finance bloggers are competitors and wouldn't share secrets with each other. In reality, this was far from the truth. We shared lots of tips and ideas on how to grow our blogs/businesses. Some collaboration ideas were hashed out after a few drinks too. Second, I received many inquires on why I have been blogging anonymously. After sharing my concerns and hearing other people's experience, now I am re-considering about blogging anonymously. It certainly helped to get feedback from a few people who used to blog anonymously and came out of the woods later. I learned that associating my name and face with the blog will improve my credibility and allow me to build a stronger brand. So I'm now debating whether to go ahead with this or not...
I am really glad that I attended CPFC16. Having already signed up for FinCon17, I'm super stoked about meeting up with more bloggers. I am also looking forward to more information about CPFC17. Attending two conferences next year isn't out of the questions, as long as I plan to save for these trips ahead of time.
Note: Pic from Tom Drake.