I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Hope Alcocer. Hope is a Chicago-raised entrepreneur who now travels back and forth between the Windy City and NYC. At age 22, Hope began her entrepreneurial career in digital marketing. Now, she can add author to her list of achievements. I just finished reading Hope’s first novel, Where Hope Lies. I really enjoyed both the entertaining storyline and learning moments throughout the book.
Keep reading for a recap of our conversation AND make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!
1) You work remotely for a tech startup in Chicago. What benefits and challenges come from working remotely?
Hope: Benefits are being able to write a book like this. If I was at a 9-to-5 job, I wouldn’t be able to take off three weeks for a book tour. I don’t think the book would have been able to do this well if I didn’t have a remote job. Not having to worry about balancing health and family issues has also been amazing. A day when I’m not feeling the greatest, I can work home.
A struggle is because I’m such a social person, I miss the daily office life. So, I work at a co-working space whenever I can with creative individuals, or I’ll pick a new coffee house and work from there. I make sure that wherever I work from, I’m around like-minded people.
2) What was your process for teaching yourself social media and PR?
I started editing remotely my senior year of college for an editor in New York. When they asked me if I could promote their articles, I did Hootsuite University which was a big deal at the time. Then, I built on that with different seminars and by constantly reading articles. I would look at people online that I admire and ask, what are they doing? Social media is ever-changing and if you don’t stay relevant, you will become irrelevant.
Also, always have a mentor. If you don’t have someone who is three steps ahead of you, you’ll never grow. You don’t want to be too comfortable.
3) You’ve worked with a diverse set of clients. What are some digital marketing tactics that you found stay the same, regardless of the client’s industry?
I always do a questionnaire with clients about their preferred communication – email, text, or call. Clients all have a different communication language. I call it ‘dating the client’ – you want to understand their likes and dislikes. I always ask in a perfect world, what is their end goal. Then, I determine whether that’s realistic or not. And, I always remind them that a social media brand isn’t built overnight. We have to build an audience’s trust over time.
I also use the tool Mention, which alerts me every time a client is mentioned.
4) What have you learned since publishing your book?
Self-publishing has its good and bad points. I self-published because a publishing company wanted to change too much in my book. With self-publishing, all of the costs incurred were my own – the graphic designers, the ad dollars. Fiscally, it was more of an upfront project. Also, I still find typos after it’s been through three different editors. I’m a perfectionist, but I have to step back and realize that the next novel will only get better.
5) What lessons can we learn from your main character, Chloe?
Chloe is very much the 20-something-year-old me. It’s based on my life with fiction intertwined. It speaks a lot in the book that every woman and human has this gut instinct. A lot of people dull that instinct because of people around them or social media. You read Chloe’s inner struggles. She’s at war with herself because she is trying to listen to everyone else. And, you see this leads to her breaking point. I think if we listen to our instinct in the first place, we wouldn’t be at all these crossroads that lead to stress. We know ourselves better than anyone in the world.
6) Chicago v.s. New York… thoughts?
Chicago is a lot friendlier. It’s a mini New York – a little bit slower paced, but there’s just as much opportunity. Plus, it’s so much cleaner! Both cities have their pros and cons. New York kicked me in the butt to push this book out. If you pause in New York, it will swallow you and spit you out. You have to constantly be on your A game. I needed that to push me to the next level.
7) It seems like you do a lot of different things. I can relate. What would you say are the benefits of having multiple sources of income v.s. a typical 9-to-5 job?
I am type A personality, so I get bored very easily. I have writing, I work at music festivals doing marketing work, and I work at a tech startup full-time. My plate is full, but I am so fulfilled and happy because I love being challenged. At a 9-to-5, you trade your creativity for stability.
8) What was your college experience like?
I didn’t have a typical college experience because of health issues, but I was just trying to find my way in the world. I went to a public university, Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
I utilized what I studied in psychology for marketing. When you do marketing, you’re getting inside of the client’s head. It did teach me that while I think you should have some formal training, I don’t feel that college is always the answer. It’s definitely needed for professions such as lawyers and brain surgeons. However, our society is much more accepting now if you don’t have a degree, but you have equal experience. Example: I can’t remember the last time I used college math. I didn’t major in writing, but my professor told me it was a strong suit, so that’s how I got my first freelancing job.
9) What’s your top piece of advice to graduating college students and young entrepreneurs?
Do not compare yourself to everyone else’s highlight reel and career path. You’re on your own timeline. Focus on what you want to do. Network and have a mentor. Find your ‘it factor’ and harness it because that’s what will set you apart.
10) Since this is a fashion blog, I have to ask – what are your fashion/beauty must-haves on your busiest days?
Beauty – I’m a Drybar fanatic. They know my name and give me Christmas presents! Dry shampoo is my number one must-have since I travel 30 to 40 percent of the month. Also, a good matte lipgloss and Naked Palette from Urban Decay.
Fashion – I dress head-to-toe in black in New York. You just can’t go wrong with black, even in the summer.
Get 10% off Hope’s novel, Where Hope Lies by using the code allie10. I’m also giving away a signed book and tank top of your choice! Enter below.
Photos of Hope courtesy of Michael Buck of M-Buck Studio