Hope Alcocer, Chicago born, Michigan raised, is a Midwest export who fell in love with New York City 3 years ago and currently resides in Brooklyn. At age 22, she launched a woman’s empowerment online magazine while simultaneously managing a remote based media firm servicing international clients in the music, fashion, lifestyle, and tech industries. Her newest project is the release of her first novel, a fictional story inspired by true events in her own life. The book was released on International Women’s Day and has sparked national attention, capturing the hearts and unbridled spirits of women from all walks of life.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I started running and maintaining a digital media firm about six months after finishing school. At the time, I was unable to hold down your typical 9-5 job due to the aftermath of a brain injury. Most would take some time off and heal and recalibrate, but I refused. I had bills and student loans that would begin to drown me—I needed to think of something that I was good at, but also a work situation where I didn’t have to be expected to be at an office in case I seized, or woke up sick, or had a debilitating migraine. Those were my typical, daily situations and I had to rise above. My one client stint of editing for a client in NYC (ironic, cause I live there now) ended up having me servicing over 100+ client accounts internationally within my first couple years. I had to hire freelancers to delegate the work the busier we got. Long story short, one of my most recent clients asked me to move to New York City for a full time role with him and his team. While nearly 3 years later, I’ve parted ways with the company (which is now a part of Sony), it propelled me into the life I’ve always wanted.
Tell us about your business.
My “one stop shop” of a media firm included anything and everything digital media related—blog writing, social media, creative assets for social media, event planning (I’m event planning certified too), administrative/executive assistant tasks, website content and basic design, and press release writing + Distro. I’ve been referred to as the “Jill of all trades” being multi-faceted in all of this, and it’s worked out quite well. People, if they can help it, like to have one point of contact person for all of the above and that’s me.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Something special just for LadyBossBlogger readers! Get 10% off your copy of my book “Where Hope Lies” with promo code: ladyboss10. Grab your copy here: www.wherehopelies.com/shop.
- Forbes Acclaimed “I Want Her Job Leading Lady” in both 2013 and 2017
- Certified Event Planner
Where is your business based?
My main company/full time job is based out of Chicago, but I live in NYC. My additional “gigs” are in NYC and also serve clients around the world. I guess the best answer to this question would be my apartment or favorite coffee shop (shoutout to Stonefruit Espresso in Brooklyn, NYC). Being able to work from virtually anywhere is a beautiful thing.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Getting people to believe that a 22 year old knew what she was doing. Years ago, people didn’t take someone fresh out of college who said she ran her own marketing business seriously. As a freelance marketer and content writer, I was essentially expecting people to trust me with the internet’s version of their storefront window: their brand. I had to prove myself. Once I had a couple client success stories, I was able to build on that. Building a website and portfolio is equally important. People just can’t take your word for it, they need to see what you have done for others and what you will be able to do for them.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
- For the book: Social media. I had built up a strong social network of fans, friends, family all waiting for my next move with this project.
- For independent contracting: Social media (I’ve gotten many clients through Instagram!) and Upwork. Highly recommend Upwork for anyone looking to start slow with a couple hours per week with a client as they build their clientele and business.
- For my full time job? Social media. They (my team at Xamin) actually found me on Linkedin and asked to interview me.
So when your mom or boyfriend gives you crap for being on social media… just let them know it can lead to launching your career ;)!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
While I have made plenty of decisions that led to some less than positive circumstances, life has not dealt me an easy hand—from the moment I was born quite honestly. It’s been adversity after adversity, trial after trial, but I would do it all over again and press through it all over again because I like the woman I see when I look in the mirror now. I know I’m strong, and I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I owe that strength to my mother—I’ve watched her combat life’s greatest demons since I was a little girl and she always does so with such grace, strength, and class.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I have the most incredible family. Now, I know everyone says that, but I mean it whole heartedly. I come from a very strong, Armenian family where my battle is their battle. Their pain is my pain. We are a unit, we are unbreakable and when one falls, one of us will pick the other up. They have been my mainstay as far as me overcoming my challenges. I’m forever grateful.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
This may sound silly, but quotes of people smarter, more successful than me. Usually they’re dead iconic figures (lol) and so I figure “well, at least they got it right before they left earth”. I’m serious though. If I’m struggling with ANYTHING I will go on to Pinterest, Goodreads, or Tumblr and type in what I’m struggling with like:
- Strength quotes
- Successful women quotes
- Heartache quotes
- Adversity quotes
…you get it. Usually a couple minutes in I’ll find a verse, a poem, a quote, or a paragraph that pulls me out of my funk.
And when all else fails, I call my mom and she gives me a pep talk. We’ve had our differences and battles but that woman is my #1 fan.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I pride myself in a no bullsh*t policy. This pertains to me being transparent in who I am and what I can do for a company/brand or an individual in any sort of capacity. I am confident, but I am willing to admit when I don’t know enough to give something my usual 200%.
Being upfront with a no bullsh*t policy has been a key point as an author as well. My fan base is saying “thank you” for being so raw, real, and transparent.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Don’t read the comments.”
A friend of mine, Jonathan Diener (former member of the band The Swellers), saw me a couple days after my first stint of media interviews after my book was released and he gave me the most simple yet poignant advice. “Don’t read the comments.” I just looked at him with a blank stare. “No, I’m serious… don’t read the comments.”
The internet is full of people who sit there, on the other end of their phones or computers, and thrive on getting others riled up and brought down with their negativity. Maybe it’s because they wish they could be somewhere else in life, maybe they’re jealous, maybe they just flat out hate you – but you know what? It’s not my business to care about what others think about me. I haven’t read one comment since my book came out on any sort of press opp. It feels good. I’m still walking on sunshine. Do I know things in my life, or writing, or career need improvement? Absolutely—however, I’ll take that advice or criticism from people who I respect and look up to, thank you very much.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Stop comparing yourself to everyone else’s timeline—everyone else’s set of goals—everyone else’s Insta-story or feed. Just stop. This is your life, your journey, your story. Stop trying to align with what is “normal”—who depicted and defined normal anyway?
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Asana. Asana. Asana. I have lists for my lists, which have lists too.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I wish I had time to read! I listen to audio books whenever I can, just because I can get things done while I listen. I know, I know, I need to learn to chill. “Why Not Me” has been pretty inspirational for me especially as I have entered this new chapter of my life with the book.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I truly believe that there will always be someone better than you, and no matter how successful you are or how high you climb up the career ladder, you can always do a better job. This being said, I’m always looking to be better and learn from others who are far more successful and accomplished than I am. I have spoken many times on the importance of having a mentor in your life – I’m always looking for help on how to be a better leader, better at my job, and a better employee. You can always DO better, you can always BE better.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- Promoting the heck out of “Where Hope Lies”
- Finish my second book and push it out by my 30th birthday (March 2018)
I have (finally) learned the art of delegating and proper time management. In doing that, I have been able to allocate more time to things that truly matter and benefit my future self.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.