The Successful Coach

Parul Agrawal

Did you ever think about writing a book, but you don’t know where to begin?

It’s important to discipline yourself first. Make sure to dedicate a specific time in your daily schedule to write something or draft a paragraph. Write something every day.

You should know the reason why you want to write a book. Know your “why”, come up with an idea, create an outline, and figure out what the content of each chapter will be.

Don’t do any editing during the first draft. Finish it, then go back to do the editing.

Seek out reviews from people who don’t know you well, or at all. It’s the only way you can guarantee honest feedback and will help you find the right finishing touches before you publish your book.

Originally from India, she arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, to start her own family after having a “Big Fat Indian Wedding”. New country, new culture, new food, new education system…she wanted to explore it all.

Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in India, her first obvious step was to pursue her studies in a country that has one of the best higher education systems in the world.

She took full advantage of this golden opportunity to graduate with two Masters’ degrees, first in Electronics System Engineering Technology and then in Material Science Engineering from Arizona State University. Working hard to feed her mind, and partying even harder, she never really cared about what she was feeding her body. 

Her faulty eating habits took a toll on her health. Before she even realized it, she weighed 154 pounds, and at barely five feet tall, she had a BMI of 30.1.  It was time for a serious change.

During her pursuit to find the best possible solution for her health, she pursued a number of Holistic Health courses and came across the wonderful world of green juicing. 

Initially, she was appalled at the idea of drinking a glass of liquefied greens. But she tweaked her recipes (that’s the part she loves most about Juicing) to her taste buds and fell in love with this nutritional powerhouse in a glass.

Thanks to juicing, she lost all the excess weight she had put on in the last few years. She gained back her energy and her youthfulness. She was a New Parul and she was ready to make even more changes in her life.

Now it was time to take a serious look at her career choices and find what she was truly passionate about…

As a result of her newly engineered passion, she started giving workshops on healthy eating. People asked her for recipes, and as she was so keen to help, she printed her best recipes for them. Eventually, these handouts became a book about green juicing. 

Her book became an International Bestseller in multiple countries and categories. After its release, people started asking her the “secret” of what looked like an overnight success.

Within three years later, she had the privilege of working with over 250 entrepreneurs, helping to scale their businesses by using the right growth strategies, and guiding them to becoming published, bestselling authors.

Where you can find her:
Website: www.parulagrawal.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/authorparul

Where you can listen to this episode:
iTunes
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Parul Agrawal 0:02

The biggest advice that I could give to anybody is, do not start editing the first draft, finish it, and then go back and edit it. Because otherwise, if you keep editing your first chapter, then you will never move forward to the second chapter. Just write it down, no matter how bad it is, just write it down as soon as possible. And then go back and keep editing it and re-editing it.

Doug Holt 0:31

Hi, everybody. Welcome. I'm so excited to have my next guest here.

Parul Agrawal. Parul did I get that name right.

Parul Agrawal 0:38

You got it perfect.

Doug Holt 0:39

Oh, excellent. Well, we had a great talk before hitting the record. And you have such a diverse background coming in from engineering into coaching into book publishing. I can't wait to hear it on share with the audience. So, before I dive into it, can you please give everybody just a little bit of background on your journey so far?

Parul Agrawal 1:01

Thank you, Doug. I appreciate the invitation, and thank you so much for having me on your wonderful show. So my name is

Parul Agrawal. People call me whatever they feel like sometimes; I just tell people that it's Paul with R in the center; it's easy for them to remember. Either way, as you mentioned, I come from an engineering background. I did my bachelor's in engineering in India. And then I moved to the US in 2004. The obvious natural step was to pursue my master's degree in engineering; it helps me with the visa issue. So I came after I got married; I was on a dependent visa. But I had heard such wonderful things about higher education in this country. And my husband, he's a Ph.D. And he's like, "If you do not go to college here, you're missing something in life." So obviously, I went the college route, and some of the best years of my life I spent while studying and pursuing my master's degrees in engineering. I was so excited that I ended up doing two master's degrees and not just one.

Doug Holt 2:19

Wow.

Parul Agrawal 2:22

Then I started working. I mean, my levels in the master's program, I was also working. But somehow, the corporate lifestyle was not something that excites me so much. Going to job nine to five was not meant for me; I'm more like a leader, so to speak, instead of a follower. And so I started venturing into entrepreneurship. And at that point, of course, I was in college, I was a student, I was also a corporate employee, I had moved to America, I was living the American dream and lifestyle. So I ended up gaining a lot of weight. I ended up not feeling optimal when it came to my health. So I decided to take charge of my health. Because I had the student mindset, I became a holistic health coach and a personal trainer.

Doug Holt 3:32

I love it.

Parul Agrawal 3:34

And then, I started my venture into holistic nutrition as a coach. And through that process, I ended up writing a book on juicing. It's called juicing for healthier families. And that gave way to my new career, which I've been doing successfully for the last, I would say four or five years as a book publisher and a publicist for authors and entrepreneurs and CEOs and changemakers like yourself.

Doug Holt 4:06

We're such a fantastic story. As you know, we talked before I had my background in wellness and health as well. And coming full circle, we get a chance to meet and talk about all kinds of things coming through there. Now, a lot of our audience are changemakers, business leaders, and coaches on different parts of their journey. I'm going to pick your brain if I can get a little bit about collaboration and how books get published because I know they will be interested in this. Know at what point should someone start thinking about publishing a book?

Parul Agrawal 4:41

I think most people at some point in their life want to write a book because I work with people who are writing nonfiction books; I have some fiction but mostly nonfiction, and in the nonfiction or genre, we see that there is no new idea, of course, some ideas are groundbreaking. But it's mostly especially in the wellness field, right? I mean, it's the same, one-day coffee is good. Second-day coffee is bad, right? So it's all about finding and researching and knowing what works for you. But it's always about telling the same story in a new way and telling it in a way that resonates with your audience. And when do you think about writing and publishing a book? In today's time, I think publishing a book is relevant, really easy. So you should always, especially if you're a coach, CEO, entrepreneur, you should always look at it as a way to build your business, grow your clientele, or even maybe reach more people through your message. Some people, some of my clients, just have a message that they feel needs to be shared. And they don't care about growing their business with that, right. So when you know that there is a message. So coming back to my example, I knew that I had this juicing book in me. And of course, there were a lot of juicing books out there. And there, you cannot teach anything new in juicing. But I still had this belief that there was something new in my book that only I can tell. And I knew then that yes, I need to share that message with my general audience or the world.

Doug Holt 6:37

Beautiful, beautiful. Well, and it's top it off, you're a mompreneur that has caught that term has been coined, we are talking about getting kids to study in these crazy times, as we record this. We look at mompreneurs, or kidpreneurs, which is kind of a term that's being tossed around right now. But when we look at mompreneurs, coming into the business career, where they are successful CEOs and business leaders, coaches, or what have you. What do you say to the mom that's out there listening to you right now or watching you, and that has a book idea and has something in there, but he just doesn't know where to start?

Parul Agrawal 7:17

The first thing I would say is discipline is really important because you really cannot focus on your book if kids are screaming behind your back. So the first thing would be to discipline yourself. And even if you can chalk out five to 10 minutes from your daily schedule to write something, even if it's a page, an idea of the paragraph, depending upon your speed, I mean, some people can draft a paragraph or a page in 10 minutes, maybe some might be able to write just one sentence doesn't matter. But discipline yourself and write something every day. And that is a great starting point. Suppose some people have difficulty sitting down and writing. Moms are great talkers, right, because we have to talk with our kids all the time. So maybe a great way would be to record what you want to talk about in a voice recording app; there are so many apps out there these days. You could just record it on your phone and save it and then revisit it when you have time to sit down and focus on it. But that way, at least you're not losing your train of thought while it's coming to you.

Doug Holt 8:40

Fantastic. When I think about book publishing, we think about book publishing, especially for coaches that are out there. Obviously, a lot of coaches want to publish a book to share their thoughts. But it's also a great way to brand yourself and really stand out from the crowd. Can you talk a little bit about the benefits of that?

Parul Agrawal 9:00

Yes, absolutely. Most of the time, as I mentioned, it could be your best business card if there are 10 or 20 coaches doing the same thing in your field. It just puts you at the high pedestal because you are an instant credibility and instant expert because definitely writing a book takes effort. And one cannot write a book until then unless they really know the subject inside out. At least that's the general perception of the audience and readers. And that's why it's so important for your branding, because not only it gives you that instant expert status, instant credibility, but at the same time, you can use this book to really network with people. Later on, once you have released or launched the book, you could either give away the book as a free opt-in to your coaching programs, or you could give free some chapters or some summary of the book and get more people into your programs. If let's say, I need you tomorrow, whenever I can hand you my book, and that would be sitting on your shelf forever, right? I mean, if I hand you my business card, you will probably trash it sooner or later. But the book, either you will put it in your bookshelf, and somebody else who comes to your house will look at it, or you might read it, or you might pass it on to somebody else. It's not going into the trash bin right away. So in that way, if I hand you my book, whether you read it or not, every time you look at your shelf, you remember me. You remember Parul Agarwal. So that's a great way of also building that rapport and network with the persons or people that we really want to partner with in the future.

Doug Holt 10:59

I love that. What are some ways that you've seen coaches and thought leaders collaborate to either produce books and content? But I know you do a lot of other things as well?

Parul Agrawal 11:11

Absolutely, that's a great question. I love collaborative books because it becomes easier for people to first and foremost write a book and also to market a book. So the way it works is, let's say, ten people who are experts in a particular field, for example, growth hacking; I am a big believer in growth hacking and a publisher of growth hacking book series. So 10, 20, 30, or maybe a hundred, for my next book a hundred authors would come together, and they would talk about a particular topic on growth hacking or their expertise. The benefits for the contributors in that case are, they don't really have to worry about writing a big book, 20,000 words, or 100,000 words. And all they have to do is maybe submit a chapter which is worth 3000 words, depending upon what we decide, like publishing. In my first book, the growth hacking book one, each contributor submitted a chapter that was worth 2500 words. But this time, because we have more authors, and we need to make sure that each chapter is producing quality and also some benefits to the readers, the word limits are maximum of 500 to 800 words. So it's not difficult for people to come up with a 500 800 word chapter first and foremost. And at the same time, they're able to crowdfund this process, right. So publishing a book marketing a book is expensive, right, even if you have the money, then also you might want to put that money into a better view. Here, if people are crowdfunding, each contributor is paying a certain portion of it, then it becomes easier and to market the book and hire the top quality editors and cover designers and stuff like that. So you're not really cutting corners, in that sense, in any respect of publishing. Finally, marketing also becomes a little bit easier because here, it's not just your network that is promoting the book. But those 30 or 20 people who are co-authors are also promoting the book at the same time. And finally, the biggest benefit, I would think, is the collaboration and the network. Now, these 2030 people will be your collaborators; you may be partners for future projects, also. And that is what has happened to me and most of the books. The author's started collaborating with each other, and we ended up doing another book together, or they ended up doing a podcast together. Some of them, I think, two collaborators from one of my very first books, that was a book about mompreneurs, they ended up launching an online magazine for moms together. Of course, you might not wipe it all 20 authors, but there is definitely somebody in the book you really strike a chord with. And then you can really grow with that network from the book and outside.

Doug Holt 14:33

So interesting because book collaboration is something I'm personally interested in doing with other coaches and business leaders and moving forward. When you do that, are you aligning those people together? Or do you do those people, do they come to you? In other words, are you a matchmaker in this scenario? Or are they coming together to you to help get a book published?

Parul Agrawal 14:56

Both ways. So sometimes, when I do my book series, the growth hacking book, which is my kind of series, In that case, I have my partners in this business, and we would kind of reach out to people, we find out people who would be really both ways, like who would benefit from being a part of the book. The book will also benefit if they are a part of the book. So it works both ways. So we've reached out to them, we interviewed them, we have finalized them, or finalized their chapters. So it's a lot of work. It's not easy. On the other side, if somebody, let's say, you come to me and ask me, "Hey, Parul, I want to do this collaborative book," I'll say, "Okay, great." Or, "You go ahead, reach out to 10 people, and then close them, get them on the book, and then we can help you with the publishing process." So what I really help people with is the publishing process, bringing it all together, helping them write the manuscript editing, proofreading, finally getting it out there in the market marketing, getting it on to the bestseller list if God willing, but most of the time, that's what I do. But if it's my book, then obviously I have to do all the hard work there.

Doug Holt 16:25

Well, it's two master's degrees in engineering; I'm guessing you can handle that without too much of a problem here.

Parul Agrawal 16:31

I try.

Doug Holt 16:34

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One of the things I always find fascinating, and one of the reasons I like doing these interviews, is even offline you and I were talking and our sponsor, which is Biocybernaut, you started talking about wanting to know about the health elements and the technology. And you said, Doug, don't worry, I can handle this, give me the deep information. And I imagine you bring that to all the work that you do.

Parul Agrawal 17:55

Absolutely, I do. And I think even though I'm not really a practicing engineer right now, it's very difficult to take intake engineering out of an engineer. Especially because I live with it, everybody in my family is an engineer, right? So it's very difficult not to live in that environment. That is what I bring into my work, as well. And in fact, people call me that I have the magic of death complex procedures into small steps to make it very easy and workable. I think that is what excites me about technology because you really can understand everything if you just are willing to do the research.

Doug Holt 18:55

Absolutely. There's so much out there. I can imagine a listener right now thinking, Okay, I have a book in me. At least one person should have been telling me I should be writing a book. Can you take us through kind of a step process here of how somebody would even just get started? I know you said discipline. I know you said you could record in, but give us some of the basic steps to get started. Recommendations you might have so they can start taking action.

Parul Agrawal 19:23

A lot of people have too many ideas, right? Yes, but they're not sure where to start and what to do. So I always tell people, if let's say you are a business professional, or intrapreneur, or whatever change because of the CEO, whatever you want to call it. The first question to ask yourself is what your Why is? Why do you really want to write that book? Do you want to write that book as your business building card? Or do you want to write it because you're so passionate about the topic that you feel that you really have to get it out before you call it a day? Or some people do not have those two reasons; there is a third kind of person; they just want to write this book. Because it's therapeutic, it's healing for them, a lot of people have lost their loved ones or overcame a lot of challenges in their life. And they feel that it's best to write it down on a paper, and then they feel new. And I have experienced this first hand with some of my authors. So first and foremost, know your why, and then come up with one idea. Okay, I think most of the time, I can actually filter by authors in these three categories that I just spoke about. Once you know why you're writing the book, then comes the next step, which is creating an outline of the book. Some people call it the mind map. So mind mapping we do for our business. But Likewise, we could do a book map for our book. So start with the basic idea, and then kind of create its branches, and then divide into sub-ideas. So once you have this outline, so to speak, ready, and in terms of scope, it could be okay; your chapter one would be this chapter two would be titled this. So basically, creating a rough draft of all the chapter titles. Once you have that rough draft of the titles, then you come out with an inline, which is specifically. Okay, now I have the outline, I have my chapter titles. Now, what goes inside each chapter? Come up with the headings of that. So some people want to create it into a mind map or someone to just write it down; it depends upon them. But then figure out exactly what should be the contents of each chapter. At this stage, you're not really writing anything; you are just writing the mean headings and subheadings that go into your book. And once you have those headings and subheadings, then it's all about filling in the blanks, right. And once you have done your manuscript, the biggest advice that I could give to anybody is, do not start editing the first draft, finish it, and then go back and edit it. Because otherwise, if you keep editing your first chapter, then you will never move forward to the second chapter. So just write it down. No matter how bad it is, just write it down as soon as possible, and then go back and keep editing it and re-editing it. One time I attended a writing workshop by this author who writes novels, and his novels get produced into Star Wars movies. He was telling me you are in the workshop; he was saying that the difference between the first draft and the final draft that you see printed is only 50 additions.

Doug Holt 23:23

Wow. Absolutely amazing. Right. I was gonna ask you about what was gonna ask you where the common mistakes people make. But obviously, going back and seeing going back and doing that first draft over and over and over again, that first chapter. You don't quite get it right. And I am never proceeding, right.

Parul Agrawal 23:39

Yes, absolutely. And also, I would think Another common mistake is going to our loved ones for their review.

Doug Holt 23:50

Yes, always tough; I can imagine getting that advice.

Parul Agrawal 23:55

Either they're tough, and they will be really critical, which will demotivate us, or they will not be critical at all, which will not help us grow and improve our book. So most of the time, I tell my authors like "Yes, it's a good idea to go to your friends and family, get a review from them. But only send your book out to people who do not know you at all." And that would be like honest feedback from a reader's perspective and that you could incorporate to improve your manuscript before you hit the publish button.

Doug Holt 24:31

Great advice. Well, I've done that where I've sent it to friends and family who are editors, and I've gotten a mixed bag just like you were talking about. Different things that I've produced in the past and going through, and it's great to hear from you cuz I know you've published over 200 authors right at this point. Wow, I mean, 200 authors, you have to see the whole gamut of things, the good, the bad, and I imagine someone of that would be you almost become a therapist for them to help them along Their journey. Is that correct?

Parul Agrawal 25:01

Glad you asked. Because you wouldn't believe it, even after doing so many books, each book comes up with a new issue. I thought I would be single, the process is foolproof, how bad can it get? No, we just have to follow one step after another. But then all of a sudden, a new issue comes up like, there is this book we are releasing on September 4, it's a smoothie book. Actually, you might want to read it, because it's a younger, 14-year-old teenager who has written this book on smoothies because she's really into smoothies and healthy eating. And she's like an advocate of healthy eating for teenagers. So she has written this book, and she has also incorporated some research that she has done in our lab on flavonoids and antioxidants in the book. So I'm like, Okay, great, you know, we're launching it on September 1, everything is going fine. And then, I upload this book on Amazon. And for some reason, Amazon is not reading the ISBN number correctly. And like, wow, I have never faced this issue at all in my life. So, of course, we figure out I mean, there is, eventually, everything turns out for the better off the author. But coming back to your question, at that point, when things are not moving correctly, and the author has to launch the book in a few days, that's the time when they panic the most. And they feel that their world is falling apart, nothing will come together and oh, my gosh, what is going to happen and then there you have to sit down. And this is like just one incident, but you actually have to sit down and tell them things will be okay. Just keep calm, just be patient. Sometimes people like this another author of mine, she's a single mom of two children's lives somewhere in Oslo, they were on lockdown. She couldn't move forward with her book, and she was feeling guilty that she didn't give her a hundred percent to her book. And then you have to sit down and be their life coach, be their mom coach, be there. I don't know all these kinds of coaches, spiritual coaches, and tell them things will take time, but it will happen when it has to happen. So yes, it does boil down to being that coach for your clients also.

Doug Holt 27:30

Which all the coaches that are watching this now or listening to us right now can relate to, right. Yeah, it's such a book. And I've been fortunate to be published quite a bit. A book is almost like having a child right. Your ideas, your thoughts? Yes. And when you're putting it out into the world, you're kind of like, putting your kid to school for the first time maybe or dropping them off somewhere, and you're hoping everything will work out? Well. I gotta imagine having somebody like you in that corner would be something I'd be so reassuring.

Parul Agrawal 28:02

I hope so. You know, I mean, my clients tell me that I have the technical skills of an engineer, but the patience of a mom, because I'm a mom, so it helps them because otherwise, some coaches might not have that patience. And sometimes I work a lot with spiritual people, also, people who are writing books in the spiritual genre. And I realized one thing with them; they're excellent in what they do. But sometimes these technical things are not easy for them. So sometimes I have to literally sit down with them. I mean, imagine this is like a 50-year-old person or a 40-year-old lady. And I have to actually tell them how to open a Facebook page and an Instagram account and guide them step by step. So those things also we have to do. But in the end, as long as the book is giving them the happiness that they truly deserve. It is all worth it.

Doug Holt 29:02

Beautiful, absolutely. Great. Well, Parul, you've been so amazing with your time; if people want to find out more about you and what you do, where's the best place for them to go.

Parul Agrawal 29:12

So my website is paddle ParulAgrawal.com. And I'm all on social media everywhere by Author Parul, author as an author, and Parul as in P A R U L.

Doug Holt 29:25

And What's also great is you have an amazing TEDx speaker speech out there, which I think people get a chance to go check out as well. And definitely check out Parul. She's amazing; I had such an enjoyable time talking to you off of the call but also on a call. And everybody, we will put this down in the show notes, so you have a direct link directly to the rule. Thank you again for being here.

Parul Agrawal 29:48

Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.

Doug Holt 29:50

Thank you for joining us at the successful coach podcast. Please hit like and subscribe so we can bring you more great interviews like these. Until next time, Have an amazing day.

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