Hope Alcocer was pretty much a writer from the time she figured out how to put pen to paper. What began as journaling at the wise age of five turned into a career at the continued instance of a professor. So Hope, who wasn’t one for the typical 9-to-5, began her literary career doing freelance work.
While Hope was successful, even branching out into marketing and PR, she found herself examining her life and her impact on the world around a year after graduating. “I was living within myself … focusing on the wrong things.” It was a low point that lead Hope to scribble the idea for KHLOE magazine, written for women by women, on the back of a napkin and never look back.
KHLOE, an acronym for Klothes, Health, Love, Opportunity and Empowerment, launched in 2011 and is entirely reader contributed — from stories to models and everything in between. It’s a magazine meant to give young women a platform to both be heard and inspired. With KLOHE’s seventy-five contributors spanning 13 countries, Hope is achieving her goal of making a difference in a big way.
What inspired you to pursue a job as a freelancer?
I’ve always had a love for writing. At five years old, I was “journaling” my thoughts, feelings and findings. When I got to college and took various writing classes, I knew the field was for me. During my last year of college, I noticed a continual trend that college graduates and qualified professionals were not able to get hired anywhere. This scared me! The economy was in a very poor state of affairs, but I knew I needed work immediately upon finishing school (hello, student loans!) and looked into world of working for myself as a freelancer.
I was also dealing with continual health issues, making a 9-to-5 day job impossible to ever obtain or keep, for that matter. One of my creative writing professors suggested I write for a living after reviewing my work week after week and his encouragement to pursue such a thing really influenced me.
You mentioned that you’ve gone through a disruptive turning point? If you would, can you tell us what happened and how it impacted your career?
After a year of a successful freelancing and moving in the direction of marketing and PR, I found myself examining my life more and more. What was I doing to impact the world? What was I doing to better myself? How was I giving back to the community? I was living within myself. I was focusing on the wrong things, in a very toxic relationship and surrounding myself with people who didn’t bring out the best in me.
In March 2011, I was at one of my lowest points in my life. Various things in my personal life had dragged me down and I did not like who I had become. I remember sitting on my apartment floor with a takeout napkin doodling. Somehow, that night, the idea for an empowerment magazine was born. On the other side of the napkin, the acronym “KHLOE” was created.
What inspired you to found KHLOE?
Much of the story is discussed above, but one of the biggest reasons for launching KHLOE was to give young women a platform to let their voice be heard, while inspiring others in the process. I had struggled with self-love, self-esteem and body image issues my entire life. I had always struggled with my weight, my appearance, fitting in and the (unfortunately) very “normal” issues young women deal with on a daily basis. KHLOE has similar categories that a traditional women’s magazine has, but we take it up a notch. The content is interlaced with lessons of self-love, inspiration, empowerment and encouragement.
I began campaigning on May 24th, 2011 for this magazine. By July 24th, I had raised $4500+, was at the top of the reports on iCNN, a top campaign on Kickstarter and had created worldwide online anticipation for this new and refreshing young women’s community. It went viral. KHLOE launched on 11/11/11 with 60+ contributors around the world. There have been many challenges and bumps in the road, but at the end of the day, it’s still something I’m very proud of.
What is your favorite part of your job?
As you can see by my all of “titles,” I work on an array of projects in numerous aspects of the industry. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. My favorite part of this job is that everyday, there’s a new project. In three years, I’ve never been bored once. There’s always a new challenge, a new client, a new goal I need to reach. If I want to learn a new skill or expand my horizons, I have the ability to learn the skill, own it and make it my own. The world is your oyster in this business. I love it so much. It’s such a great feeling to wake up and say, “YES. It’s Monday. YES. Another workday.” I truly love what I do.
What is the toughest part of being a freelancer?
I think the toughest thing is that being your own boss can get tiring sometimes. I don’t recommend this job to someone who isn’t willing to push themselves and stay motivated. As a freelancer, YOU find the work (most of the time — sometimes it comes to you through referrals and such), YOU schedule, YOU oversee everything, YOU invoice and YOU make sure they pay the invoice. My mind never stops. I’m always thinking of a new way to expand my career and find new ways to succeed. I’m continually trying to find that delicate balance between working too hard and enjoying life and I’ll get there one day.
Many people might want to work for themselves as a freelancer, but they are scared of the thought of losing a steady paycheck. What is your experience with this, and what is your advice?
I can see how this would be a worry for some. However, in this day and age and economy, I look at it like if I were at a company, I hold the risk of being let go, due to a decreaded budget or decrease in staff. Life happens; things happen. It’s important when you have really good weeks — and you aren’t on a contract with a weekly or monthly stipend — to spend wisely. Save what you can and budget accordingly. That way, when you have a “dead” or “dry” season with few projects, you won’t be as poor as a church mouse.
Also, always be on the lookout for smaller contracts or odd jobs to provide some additional income when it’s a quieter season. If it’s a quieter season, I’ll sometimes hop on Fiverr.com and make an additional couple hundred dollars per month editing to make sure I’m still on track fiscally while I wait for another contract or project. Every job has a “con” and I suppose this could be looked at as one of those. There are ways to be smart and make it work.
What are some of the rules you live by?
I love quotes; those are my rules to live by. Every morning, I find an inspirational quote and make it my mantra for work that day.
My favorite would have to be: “Without struggle, there is no progress.” (If I ever stop being a chicken, I’ll get that tattooed on my side someday). I’ve faced a lot of adversity the last several years and this quote keeps me going every single day.
My second favorite would be: “The two simple rules for success: 1. Never reveal everything you know. 2. … ” I love this quote because, while I love to share, collaborate and network with others, there’s still a need to have boundaries and make sure you won’t get burned in the process.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
I’d say motivation, self-discipline, the ability to take harsh criticism or work with some really cutthroat people. Also persistence, creativity, leadership and a Type A, go-getter attitude. It’s the only way to get ahead in this world!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Still a coffee addict for sure. A best-selling author (novel is due out at the end of this year!), happily married, a superwoman mother who balances her businesses and motherhood. I know being able to do both is possible. I plan to continue working in the world of writing, media, weddings and, of course, working with KHLOE. I hope and pray this passion for what I do continues, and if I can inspire other young women to do the same, then I’m doing my job right.
Every job has a 'con' ... There are ways to be smart and make it work.