Military Influencer Conference 2018 – A Gathering of Like-Minded Veteran Entrepreneurs

The 2018 Military Influencer Conference is back.

It will be held 23-25 September in Orlando, FL, at the same resort as FinCon, the conference for financial media.

FinCon is full of our people, but MIC is our tribe.

You’ll meet over 400 attendees like you: whether you’re on active duty, or optimizing your Reserve & National Guard life, or a military spouse, or a veteran. Some of us are real-life war heroes (with the medals to prove it) while others are helping more heroes. It’s the camaraderie you had in uniform (without the shared misery). For some of us, it’s a victory lap. For many of us it’s mutual therapy through our sea stories experiences.

MIC is much more than a military subset of FinCon. Attendees range from side-hustle entrepreneurs to CEOs of multi-million-dollar companies supporting military families. They’re people who’ve been through your transition (more than once) and have figured out life after military. They’ve founded non-profits and they’re still serving.

There’s even more collaboration. FinCon can help you meet fantastic people who inspire you to do great things. At MIC you’ll meet people with your background who understand the unique challenges of military life— and then they’ll inspire you to do more great things too.

Curtez Riggs, the owner of MIC, is leveraging FinCon’s contract with the resort. (It’s greatly accelerated MIC’s growth and reduced its ticket prices.) All of MIC’s and FinCon’s presentations & panels are professionally recorded for later YouTube viewing, so it’s also a unique chance for networking and exploring other aspects of finances & media. It really liberates you from the schedule to take advantage of chance encounters.

I think it’s a good fit for your business(es) too. It’s especially useful for expanding your social media marketing, client funnels, and fintech. You’ll connect with everyone in your local area for additional meetups & networking. The expense of the whole week (instead of “just” MIC) has a rapid & long-term ROI.

As Curtez says:

People value what they spend money on.

Image of Bernard Edwards with Doug Nordman at MilBlogging17 conference. |

You can always spot a local.

But you can decide that for yourself from his interview with Bernard Edwards. Bernard turns out to be another Oahu military veteran. We met for the first time at last year’s MIC when an attendee said “Hey, I saw another guy here with an aloha shirt like yours!” (Yeah, my branding is on point.) I’ve learned a lot from Bernard, and you can too.

USAA is a huge sponsor of Military Influencer Conference.  You’ll also learn from dozens of other military-friendly corporations and startups.  Curtez is an entrepreneur on fire, and he just retired from active duty a few months ago.  I can’t wait to see what he brings home to the community.

If you haven’t bought your MIC ticket yet, a fellow author is selling one. Contact me and I’ll connect you.

Your Call to Action – Will You Attend MIC18?

Have you been on the fence for a while? Don’t know how to get started? Tried blogging and got nowhere? We’ve all been there, and we know how to get somewhere. We can help you figure out a better approach.

These conferences (and their price tags) help you make the personal commitment to apply what you’ve learned and to grow your business. You’ll have the resources, the contacts, and the community to make it happen– not just at the conference but all year long. You’ll want to come back next year to show everyone what progress you’ve made, and to figure out how to level up.

Buy one of the FinCon tickets (or a virtual pass), buy a Military Influencer Conference ticket, and learn how to change your life. It’s still hard work, but you’ll be doing the right things in the right directions.

If you’ve been to FinCon or MIC, please share!

Let us know what worked for you– or even let us know why you hated it.

2017 Military Influencer Conference Overview – (Previously the MilBlogging Conference)

MilBlogging is back.

The next conference is 23-25 September 2018 in Orlando, and MIC18 tickets are on sale now. They’ll go fast. At the very least, sign up for the mailing list and learn more over the next few months.

Those of you who’ve been around military social media for a while may remember the original MilBlogging of the early 2000s. The last conference was in 2012. Ticket sales began for 2013, but then the conference was canceled and everyone’s money was refunded. None of the organizers would talk about it. 2013 was going to be my first MilBlogging conference, and I was mightily annoyed that I’d missed my opportunity.

The MilBlogging reboot

In 2016 the owner of The-Military-Guide, Curtez Riggs, mentioned that he was restarting the conference. He bought the domain name and other accounts from the former owner. We may never know what stopped the original gatherings, but USAA immediately stepped up to help sponsor the new Military Influencer conference.

Curtez set a break-even sales goal of 150 tickets. Over 250 entrepreneurs showed up from all types of blogging, military media, and startups. (Nearly half of the attendees were military spouses.) Appropriately, we kicked off the conference the evening before with a social at Honor Courage Commitment’s new Veteran Business Center. I had a chance to talk with their execs, a board member, and a few of the vets who were going through their entrepreneur’s programs. Over 200,000 servicemembers (and their families) transition out of the military every year, and HCC is doing a great job of helping them find their way.

Image of MilBlogging Military Influencer conference panel of entrepreneurs who have appeared on Shark Tank, along with a producer of the show. |

Shark Tank entrepreneur panel

The first official day of MilBlogging ran through eight hours of presentations, seminars, and panels on blogging, building a business, and running a military nonprofit organization. We heard from Emily Nunez Cavness, who somehow kept Sword & Plough going through her entire active-duty career and then returned full-time after completing her service. Jen Pilcher of MilitaryOneClick ran a panel on building your brand. Daniel & Diane Rau of Veterati explained their peer-mentoring model for military veterans and servicemembers. Ellie Kay reprised a new session on representing brands through blogging, social media, and radio/TV. (I saw Ellie’s first version of this talk in 2014, and several members of that audience have built her advice into a six-figure income.) At the end of the day, four veteran entrepreneurs described their experiences on the TV show Shark Tank. (That link opens the video of the presentation.) You could’ve been sitting in that MilBlogging audience to learn what happens behind the scenes.

The second day was another round of presentations and seminars. More importantly: you were sitting with these veterans & entrepreneurs in the audience, talking with them between sessions, and socializing with them over Texas BBQ and adult beverages. They didn’t just parachute in for a keynote and disappear.

Curtez expects to sell at least 400 tickets next year. Better yet, MilBlogging18 is a twofer at the same resort as FinCon18. You’ll get a full week of the conference experience.

The MilBlogging VIP and FinCon Pro pass perpetual debates

I answered the Pro pass questions about 82 gazillion times over the last year, so let me review the parameters here (and link to this post for the rest of my life).

You can learn a lot (and have a great time) without buying the VIP pass or the Pro pass. Yet when you spend the extra money, it’s more than just learning: you’re investing in your business. You’ll get additional one-on-one access to more entrepreneurs and corporations. You’ll have even more opportunities for coordinate freelance articles, to partner on projects, and to secure sponsors.

The trip can be relatively expensive when you’re flying to the conferences (let alone from Hawaii), staying a week in the hotel, and going out for meals & drinks. The additional cost of the higher-level passes is a small percentage of your sunk costs, and it offers far more value than its cost.

You can easily do both conferences in a very frugal manner. You can fly on rewards points, have several roommates (at the hotel or an AirBnB), and pack most of your food (especially breakfast). The savings from your frugal skills will easily pay for the higher level of pass.

At the very least, make sure your conference badge includes the video access. All of the sessions are professionally recorded, and afterward you’ll have the passwords. You can review the presentations and the advice as often as you want, and then you can apply them to your own business.

You’ll also gain a sponsor’s perspective on the conferences. They want to connect with motivated writers and creative entrepreneurs. The VIP pass and the Pro pass give them more opportunities to meet them during meals, socials, and other special events. It’s easier for them to mine the names and businesses on the VIP and Pro lists than it is to randomly invite hundreds of prospects.

One of the reasons I was so exhausted by the end of the week was from attending all extra-hours VIP/Pro extra breakfasts, lunches, cocktail hours, and pub crawls. (Pro tip: I don’t even drink alcohol.) Those turned into additional corporate meetings at the Exhibition Hall, several guest posts and podcast appearances, and a very long interview. (I’ll let you know when everything is published.) I also found a couple of new startup investment opportunities and even a very interesting surfing product. This was my fifth consecutive FinCon Pro pass, and I’ve received full value every time. It was my first MilBlogging VIP pass but I’m going to support Curtez’s plans (and say thank you!) every chance I get.

I give all of my writing revenue to military charities, but my marketing at the MilBlogging conference will generate more in royalties (let alone book sales) than the cost of the ticket. The VIP pass opened the door to meet those book buyers.

Here’s a final insight on the VIP and Pro passes. Behavioral financial psychologists have demonstrated many times that we show more commitment when we have to pay for an education. (Who paid for your high-school certificate? And then who paid for your college degree?) If you’re watching a free video series (even from home in your pajamas) then you might show up and complete the sessions. If you’re paying for a presentation, though, then you’ll make sure that your hours of labor (to pay for the tickets) are rewarded by extracting full value from your attendance.

When you buy the VIP pass and the Pro pass, you’re not only investing more in your business and creating more opportunities, but you’ll work harder to turn the investment into greater revenue. That’s the value of the passes.

Take a look at the “Related articles” links for more conference reports from other entrepreneurs. (Pro tip: Wow, look at all those keywords and linkbacks.) I hope to see you next year!

Related articles:
What I Learned From The MilBlogging Conference
What I Learned At The Military Influencers Conference
FinCon17: What The Hell Just Happened?
The Power Of Community At FinCon17
Five Themes Of FinCon17
Five Lessons From The FinCon17 FIRE Panel
#FinCon17 Via Twitter
Nine Game-Changing Blogging Takeaways from FinCon 2017

Update:  Get still yet even more FinCon recap posts here!

About Doug Nordman

Author of "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement" and co-author of "Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence."
This entry was posted in Entrepreneurship, Financial Independence, What Do You DO All Day?!?. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Military Influencer Conference 2018 – A Gathering of Like-Minded Veteran Entrepreneurs

  1. Wow, great post, Nords! I didn’t even know that there was a MilBlogging conference right before FinCon. I was beat just by the end of FinCon – I can only imagine how drained you must have been!

    This was my first FinCon and I was more than pleased with everything. Not only did I pick up a lot of good information to help grow my business, but I made a ton of new relationships which made it worthwhile in itself (great to meet you on the first night at the pub crawl!).

    I did only do the basic pass for this event because I wanted to get a feel for everything. However, I may step it up for Orlando to get the pro pass. I felt like I didn’t even have a free minute with the basic pass so I can only imagine how that would go with the pro pass!

    Great post and I look forward to seeing you again in Orlando!!

    — Jim

  2. Rina Downie says:

    Hi. My husband and I would like to join the Milblogging this year but can only be there Saturday and Sunday. Could you tell us whats planned for those days…and will we be able hear and maybe ask Doug a question or two? Thanks

    • Doug Nordman says:

      Thanks for asking, Rina!

      The rough-draft schedule is here:
      and that’ll update over the next few months.

      The only weekend events are on Sunday 23 September– nothing on Saturday. Sunday includes golf in the morning, workshops in the afternoon, and the kickoff dinner that evening. There’s plenty of time for networking and talk story.

      I no longer golf but I’ll be at the resort all weekend (and the following week) and I’ll be happy to get together to answer questions!

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