Are You Giving Your Clients Onions or Parfaits?


As a writing coach, I have the distinct opportunity to wax poetic about all things writing and editing, but I also delve into related topics of personal development, marketing, business, philosophy… basically anything that tickles my creativity bone. Today, I talk marketing, reputation, credibility, and things with layers.

Things with Layers

Do you know that Shrek was released in April of 2001? It seems so long ago! If you are reading this, it is likely you saw it. I had the joy of seeing my daughter’s high school drama department put it on as a play last year, reminding me of its humor. One scene I remember is when Donkey and Shrek have a conversation about how complicated Shrek is as he describes himself like an onion, with layers. Donkey reminds Shrek that parfaits also have layers, and are much more enjoyable.

It got me thinking, as my creative mind does, how life is complicated, and how we see it, our perspective, is everything. In business, our perspective isn’t the only one to consider, however. Our clients really should be our primary focus, which means we need to consider them even before ourselves.

Excuse me while I offend some folks

I’m going to be really honest here and it might hurt some feelings, and that isn’t my intention. Rather, I intend to speak freely, as a writing coach. I have found some business owners were more excited about adding the title of “author” to their resume, than to focus on providing an excellent product to their clients.

Do crappy books sell? Yes, but do they endure? No.

Do poorly written pieces still add value? Yes, we can all learn from different people and perspectives, but when we treat our readers poorly because we don’t give them our best, we are playing small and tell our readers that mediocre is ok for us.

Now, I don’t know the intentions or inner workings of anyone, and certainly not these authors, but when I see people discredit themselves by providing onions, rather than parfaits, it hurts my heart.

What’s the point of having a book with your name on it, if it doesn’t bring you long-lasting results? What is the reason behind spending resources (we are talking time, more time, and money), to create a great marketing piece to not get customers?

Here are some examples I’ve seen as a writing coach:

Onion: A speaker with a great presence when speaking can’t get gigs because she uses poor grammar in her written communications. She wanted to speak to educated women, but didn’t give the impression that she was one.

Parfait: A business coach with a college degree knows she’s not a good writer, so uses other professionals to write a book and coaching program that excels her business.

Onion: An author gets a news interview, but not subsequent ones because his book is poorly written even though his presentation skills are high.

Parfait: An insurance salesman hires a ghostwriter to create a book targeting his ideal client base, focusing on growing his business while his manuscript is done for him, creating a marketing tool to give away, an additional income stream, and increased credibility as an industry leader.

If you have considered writing a book to grow your business and/or speaking career, be sure you are building a parfait, not an onion. Leverage professionals, such as a writing coach, editor, layout, professional cover designer (and more) to help you create a product that adds value and builds your credibility.

Dreaming of leaving your legacy? It’s my honor to help you write your book, but first read about my values before you decide if I’m your writing coach.

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