Prepping for a Brand Photoshoot with Nicole Otchy

Prepping for a Brand Photoshoot with Nicole Otchy

I am so excited to speak with my good friend and stylist guru, Nicole Otchy, on how to prepare for a brand photoshoot.

Nicole has been a stylist for more than a decade and her clients include some of America’s elite. Her mission is to help women create memorable brands by using their wardrobe to confidently share their work.

You’ll hear about how you can get yourself ready and feel confident for your next appearance.

What would be your advice for people who are getting prepared for a book cover photoshoot?

Books covers are very different from branding photoshoots. The book cover is one of the most important ways to showcase your business, more than social media. The social things go away but the book cover outlast you. Sticking the balance between where you’ve been and where you are going.

This is an expensive piece that effects so many things not just the cover of the book. The images of the book will be used from speaking engagements, to appearances and more.

It’s also important to know how you’d like to be photographed for the cover but more important to know what your book cover is going to look like before the photoshoot. This is the number one mistake I see people make throughout the years.

What is the one thing that most people forget when planning their outfits for a brand photoshoot?

People forget they are two-dimensional in a photo and what looks good in real life does not necessarily look good in a photo.

There is a way to test to see if something would work in advance. If it is more than a handful of extra material it’s probably not a good idea.

Options are also a great idea for day of shoot, to help eliminate some pressure of what to wear.

Trends, colors and patterns can be tricky but white is a good option. Key here will be if it’s a book cover or an author photo.

What does it mean to align your personal brand with your wardrobe?

Think about how long things are going to be around, the context, more in depth of what your brand stands for, where you want your brand to go, if all your book dreams came true how would your brand change – all the things!

What are the real factors in your marketing?

Get an experts’ advice, nothing wrong with asking your friends, but they don’t see you according to what you are desiring for your target audience. They aren’t looking at you in the marketing eye.

Script FLIP

Questions from Nicole to Hanneke:

Most unexpected lesson from writing the book?

How very sensitive I’d have to be my language, making sure its inclusive.

AND, how much work the post-production piece is KICKING MY BOOTY

How do you make it more accessible for people to be a personal brand? What factors are you thinking about?

Becoming okay with being visible. Taking the light off you and putting it on whom you want to help. When you are thinking too much about what people are thinking about you, you are taking away serving them.

I am my brand. My brand is an extension to who I already am, but I do amplify what is already there when I am in the public.

I’m thinking about writing a book, what do you think?

Make sure you know where that book fits into your business. What purpose is the book going to serve?

Remember if you’d like to get a free copy of my book, you can do so by joining us in the VIP Launch Team here.

What I’ve had to believe to write my book

What I’ve had to believe to write my book

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Walt Disney

You get to choose.

Just like we are what we eat, we are what we think and believe. Our mindset shapes our ability to achieve. It’s with this knowledge in mind that I knew to start and finish writing my book, I’d had to work on a few beliefs.

In this blog entry I’ll share four beliefs I’ve cultivated and/or actively worked on (and continue to work on) while writing my book.

I continue to say them when I feel doubt creep in or I occasionally write them out. Having these mantras helped speed up the process of writing my book.

1: It is possible for me to write a book.

I used to think that I didn’t have that much to say and everything’s already been said, so why bother? And because of these thoughts, the prospect of writing 50 000 words would completely overwhelm me.

In order to embody the belief that I could write a book, I knew I needed help and accountability. Hiring an editor who pushed me to outline the entire book in more detail than I thought possible helped me to believe that yes, it was indeed possible for me to write a book.

Which brings us to the next two beliefs I had to work on:

2: Whoever needs to hear my message will find this book helpful.

3: What needs to be heard is what I’ll be guided to write.

I also knew that I didn’t want this project to turn into something I resented doing. Like most business owners, I, too, tend to grind and push to get things done. Experience has taught me that when I do this, I suck the joy right out of a project, AND I end up burning out.

So the next belief I worked on is:

4: It’s possible to have fun while writing this book.

Writing from my back yard has made things more fun!

I continue to uncover limiting beliefs and experience fear as I move through this process. And when they show up, I also remind myself that it’s normal to have anxiety and limiting beliefs. And then I remind myself of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert’s quote from her book Big Magic:

“There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote.”

And I get right back to writing and taking action despite the presence of fear and doubt.

X Hanneke


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    How I wrote a book in 90 days –  Part 2

    How I wrote a book in 90 days – Part 2

    Welcome back to part 2 of the 4 strategies that helped me write a book in under 90 days!

    As I mentioned in the first section of this two-part series, I wanted to take you behind the scenes to show you what it took to write this book.

    I know that you have big goals too, and so I wanted to share this journey to you, to inspire and motivate you to achieve YOUR big ambitions too!

    Click here to read Part 1 where I share two crucial steps that helped bring clarity to my creative process and got me to finally start and finish a book I’ve been trying to write since 2017.

    After implementing those two strategies, I did the following to further help me focus and stay accountable.

    3: It’s all in the table of contents

    Being the little aquarian that I am, I like to walk to the beat of my own drum. And I don’t like following conventional constraints. In my creative process, I like to leave things as open as possible to adjust and change plans when I see fit.

    That was also the approach I took in the past when I wanted to write this book. Yep, I have actually been sitting on several book ideas, none of which came to fruition, for various reasons. One of those reasons was that I never had a structured and detailed enough table of contents.

    But thanks to my editor, I was able to pull my aquarian creative process together with a more structured format.

    Once I had a detailed table of contents the book practically wrote itself.

    4: Set aside time and know yourself

    The process started off a little scattered. I wrote the first chapter of this book in the L.A. airport while waiting for a delayed flight in December.

    I planned out the table of contents in South Africa over a couple of days, spending an hour or so a day on it. And I think I wrote three chapters down there as well.

    Once I was back at home in Massachusettes, I decided to set aside time in the morning and committed to writing for 60 – 90 minutes at least five days a week.

    I also wrote a few times over the weekends but I never wrote more than 3 hours a day.

    Why? Because I wanted this process and experience to be FUN! Something that I would never have thought was possible back when my friend first suggested I wrote a book back in 2016.

    “When you understand the intricate workings of your personality and how your body interconnects with your soul, it unlocks a whole new dimension of what’s possible for you to achieve.” ~ excerpt from Chapter 12 in the first draft of my book.

    Once again, applying one of the strategies I share in the book, I was able to work with myself and work faster and with more ease! And the best part: I NEVER had one day of writers’ block ever!

    Want to know more about the book? Subscribe below and stay tuned for more behind the scenes information coming soon, including the name, and how it’s going to help you grow a business you love!

    A special gift for you:

    I also have a very special gift for you today that will further help you to lead from your values with more confidence. As you know – I’m currently going through the editing process of my first book. And I’m giving away a free chapter   – that’s right – when you visit: – you can download my chapter A leader is born.

    • You’ll become part of my VIP Book Club that will give you access to:
    • An exclusive PRE-SALE DISCOUNT CODE when pre-sales start later in 2020.
    • A special invitation to the book launch parties.
    • Other opportunities to win prizes when you help me spread the word about my book.
    • BONUS you’ll also get behind-the-scenes insights on all things book-related, my writing process, publishing, and more!

    Sending you lots of strength and courage! Until next time

    How I wrote a book in 90 days – Part 1

    How I wrote a book in 90 days – Part 1

    That’s right! I wrote a BOOK! And I’ve decided to take you on the behind the scenes journey that leads to this miracle I once thought would not be possible.

    But before I share more on how I wrote a book in 90 days, a mission impossible cum miracle.

    I do want to acknowledge that now is a hard time for A LOT of people. The idea of celebrating something may feel completely wrong or may fill you with guilt. You may even think: “Hanneke – really!? How tone-deaf can you be!?”

    I hear you. I sat with that guilt for quite a bit before sending this email.

    It took me back to my morning walk today. I spotted a nurse in a parking lot, walking to work and I immediately started clapping for her. I completely caught her by surprise and it brought a huge smile it to her face as she walked into her office. That, in turn, brought tears to my eyes.

    And it solidified something big for me: my role now (and always) is to inspire and be a beacon of hope when others can’t see it. That’s the vision I hold for my clients and that’s the space I hold for you too.

    I’m here to inspire and give hope – despite the hardships and odds we face. I am here to allow you to feel whatever you need, and then help you find the solution that’s gonna get us out of this mess.

    AND that’s why I wanted you to share in this celebration with me.

    My hope is that what I’m about to share with you, will inspire you too.

    Here’s how I know my news can do that for you: When we see others do big things, it pulls us into action to do big, scary, and hard things in our own lives as well. Other’s accomplishments inspire and motivate us – when we choose for it to do that for us.

    May my celebration be that source for you today.

    Ok, ready to celebrate?

    Today’s blog entry is the first of a two-part series where I take you behind the scenes of how I wrote this book so darn quickly!

    I remember the day back in 2014 when I told one of my closest friends in Boston that I was going to get my coaching certification. She was so excited for me and told me that just that morning she had been watching the morning show and they were interviewing a life coach who had written a book. 

    “You’re going to write one too!” She declared. 

    I immediately felt my insides contract. Me? I suck at writing. There’s no way that I’ll be able to write a full-blown book – EVER. 

    It turns out that limiting belief that I had about myself and my abilities were completely false! 

    Not only, did I write a book, but I did it in under 90 days while traveling to South Africa for three weeks, and Florida for five days. I wrote while still running my business, and serving clients full time. And during the last month of writing the pandemic was in full swing, by then writing became my happy escape from it all, and that helped to finish it in record time.

    So, how did I do it!? 

    Through the powerful toolkit that I’ve amassed since hiring my first life coach over 13 years ago, and the coaching expertise I gained when I became a certified coach. Yup, I used all of the strategies I use daily with clients on myself. It’s also the very process I share in my book! It helped me stay as focused as I could be and as a result, I was able to finish the first draft of my book in under 90 days. 

    And here are TWO of the FOUR ingredients that helped me write a book in 90 days: 

    1: I made a commitment to myself. 

    This is actually the very first step in the process that I share in my book too. When you commit to doing whatever it takes to overcome obstacles, you empower yourself to do the hard things. The things that you once thought would be completely impossible. Which for me was writing a book!

    “that’s what makes the commitment even more important, without the commitment to do whatever is necessary to achieve your goal, you won’t get up and face the music. You won’t do the hard things. You won’t stand up for yourself. 

    Making this commitment will help you to expand into your fullest creative potential while you’re here on earth. You’re here to grow and achieve everything that you’re capable of.“

    ~ an excerpt from Chapter 1 in my first draft of the book

    And as I explain in my book, that process starts with a very clear commitment to yourself.

    I committed to writing a book no matter what tin 2020.

    2: Get a good editor

    Back when I was still running my Pilates business, I had the pleasure of meeting a music critic at the Boston Globe, who became a very close friend over the years. And he ended up being my editor for a while when I first started blogging and writing newsletters.

    When I had the idea to write a book, I immediately knew that I wanted him to be my editor. 

    My book is a combination of a memoir that meets self-development books, and due to the very personal and vulnerable stories I share, I knew that I would want someone who knew me to be my editor. 

    So at the end of 2020, I sat across from my friend, who has since become an editor at The Los Angeles Times, who had immediately agreed to help me when I called him. Over a very L.A. brunch, the two of us brainstormed the framework of the book.


    First meeting with my editor in L.A. over breakfast.

    Don’t miss part two, containing two more strategies that practically had the book write itself. I’ll also be sharing other behind the scenes stories of my book, including the name, meet my editor, and most importantly – learn how this book is going to help you grow your business with confidence and ease too. Sign up below!

    Be the first to know EVERYTHING about my new book!

    Subscribe and you’ll get all the inside scoop first.

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