Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Why Being an Entrepreneur Means Having Built-in Failure – and What to Do About It

It’s awesome to be your own boss, right?

Nobody looking over your shoulder, nobody telling you what to do…


Except, when you do not have a boss because the boss is you, there’s a really crucial thing missing, and it’s the cause of much struggle and even business failure – and research backs that up.

The missing element?

Being watched.

As nice as it is to not have a boss looking at your performance and output, it’s that very ‘being watched’ that causes the self-awareness we need to stay on task and keep moving forward.

Now here’s the fun part that psychologists have discovered:

The watcher doesn’t have to be a boss.

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a real person.

Simply a face – or even just the image of an eye, drawn or cartoon style, or stylised – directed at you and watching you, triggers self-awareness on a subconscious level, and measurably changes your state, and influences your way of operating.

So if you struggle to stay on task, get yourself a portrait of someone, or of an eye, draw something, or find an image online, and place it on your desk or wall, in your field of vision.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a good drawing, or a face, or just an eye, or a good portrait – so long as someone is watching you.

The effect is subtle and incremental over time, but it’s powerful.

And, this might sound weird, but if you want to take it a step further, make it a mirror, so that the watcher is you. Even more powerful.

Most powerful of all, of course, is getting yourself accountability coaching.

Ain’t cheap. Is effective.

More information here…



Why Do People Give You Money?

Do you know why people do business with you, and not with someone else?

In other words: Do you know why people give you money?

You might answer:

“Because we’re the best”, or:

“Because of our customer service”, or:

“Because we’re an award-winning XYZ”, but:

Unless you’ve done your homework and the answer is what your customers have told you, you’re probably mistaken.

If you want to grow your company, then you can’t afford to go with what you think your people think of you.

You need to get out there and talk to them, and figure out *their* reasons, and not the reasons you *think* they have.

It’s called market research, and it’s the very first thing you should do, if you want more customers like the ones you have & love.

We all know this, yet hardly anyone does it.

So we throw more money at ads.

Hire more sales reps.

Create more offers.

Build more websites.

Do more content marketing.

Causing an enormous levy on resources, when we don’t even know the horse’s mouth facts about why people pay us.

A losing proposition.

Get the foundation in place first. THEN build up and out.

Because how does it make sense to spend resources, when you don’t even know your differentiator, your USP yet, don’t know what sets you apart and makes you desireable, in the eyes of your buyers?

Know your differentiator.

Not in terms of what you think – but in terms of what *they* say.

How to talk to your people, and how to figure out your USP – and what to do next in order to grow your revenue – is what I’ll show you this Thursday, at the training Helena Demuynck is hosting for you all.

Register here, and learn a complete, growth-driving marketing system:




20% Growth… Guaranteed…???

TL;DR: Register for a free live training session this Thursday, where you’ll learn how to increase your revenue by 20% or more, without raising your ad spend. Here’s the signup page: https//

It’s something I’ve not mentioned much here yet, but I run a marketing implementation programme, that guarantees that my clients raise their revenue by 20%.

And very often, people ask how I can make such a promise.

Good question too.

After all, there’s so many moving parts, so much uncertainty, so much to figure out.

So how, Martin? How do you guarantee 20% growth?

The answer is surprisingly simple, because this marketing system is based on leveraging marketing assets that you already have, but aren’t utilising.

But if you do leverage your marketing assets, generating 20% more revenue can be pretty easy.

Especially if a) you use a tried and tested system, and b) if that system is based on the fundamentals of business and marketing.

See, the trick is to look at the synergy between metrics. (do people still talk about synergy? Anyway).

Most businesses who want to grow, make ‘more sales’ the goal.

But increasing sales by 20% is a pretty tall order.

And, more sales usually also means ‘more cost’.

So yeah, how do you reach 20% growth without increasing cost?

Business fundamentals, and looking at three metrics for growth:

1: The number of leads you generate: how many people do you enter into conversations with?

2: Conversion rate: How many of those convert into paying customers?

3: Purchase value or customer account value: how much money does each client spend with you?

These three all influence revenue.

So here’s a thought exercise:

Could you, conceivably, raise your leads by 10%?

Probably yes, right?

And conversion rates – could you crank that up 10%?

Bet you can.

And having a buyer spend 10% more?

Not too difficult in most cases.

And now it’s going to get fun:

What if you raise each of these by 10%?

Then you get exponential growth, raising your revenue to 33% in total.

And that, my friends, is why – for the right kind of company – I yes, absolutely, guarantee 20% revenue growth.

Because literally every business has assets that aren’t being put to use – from expertise, to network, to intelligent messaging to different segments of your database of past, current, and potential customers…

There’s a LOT that can be done, when you use a systematic approach and base your growth efforts on data and metrics, and you allow those underused assets to drive your growth.

And this Thursday, at 7PM CEST / 1PM EST, I’m giving a live training, hosted by Helena DeMuynck, founder of Oxygen4Leadership.

You’ll get a training on a tried and proven system, showing you exactly which steps to take and in which order, to get all you can out of everything you’ve got.

Registration is here: https//

See you on Thursday!



How to Win Entrepreneurial Battles

Because hey, every entrepreneur is a hero in their own right – we all battle against challenges and crazy odds.

So: People tend to think that Napoleon was a great strategist, and it’s probably true.

But, strategy is nothing without implementation.

Proven by the fact that he never won another battle, once his marshall Davout had died.

Davout was the man who translated Napoleon’s strategies into marching orders for the troops, or however that works in the military.

Davout only ever lost one of old Nappy’s battles, and according to the internetz, after him it all went to hell in a handbasket.

Why would you care?

Because a) you absolutely, most definitely, need solid strategy if you’re going to win your own entrepreneurial battles.

But, you’ll also need to translate that strategy into the right actions, set the milestones and end goals, and get your head in order so as to actually get the actions and tasks done.

Or, what psychologists call implementation intention. 

Just taking action won’t cut it. Neither will strategy without implementation intention.

It all comes down to decisions, based on questions like ‘what matters most, right now’ and ‘what should I focus on’ and ‘what should I avoid at all cost’ and, very importantly:

‘What needs to be DONE?’

These are the things we focus on, in my Strategic Accountability Coaching programme.

We won’t be fighting wars, but we sure as hell will get you set up, every week on Zoom, the right way, to make sure you choose the right tasks, and execute on them.

This is a powerful programme, and inbetween calls it gets you daily access to me by email, for any course correction or feedback you need.

You can go it alone, and you know how that works out.

Or, you can get my help, and be amazed at how focused, results-driven, and ‘DONE’ your performance can be.

More info and an application form here, if you’ve had enough of spinning your wheels:



Why You Must Outsmart Your Intelligence

I bet you’re an intelligent person.

Experienced, read up on important things like business and self-improvement and people and so on.

But, everything has a flipside. Each boon comes with an Achilles’ heel built in.

And where it comes to intelligence, it turns out that it puts you at risk of making unwise decisions – or, as researches like to call it: dysrationality.

For example, intelligent people are more prone to fall victim to the gambler’s fallacy – thinking that if a coin toss gives tails ten times, #11 will also be tails, for example.

And, people who score high on cognitive tests often have more trouble seeing their own flaws, which makes sense, because:

If we’re intelligent, then logically our thoughts and decisions and plans are correct. Right?

Except, no.

Intelligence enables you to see a bigger picture, to connect dots, to see opportunities others don’t.

But because it makes you automatically believe that you’ve got it right, it’s very easy to make unwise or unsmart decisions.

For example, if you’re currently getting traction with a particular promotional campaign, it might make sense to ad in advertising.

Got results, let’s get more!

Sure. But placing ads is extremely costly – both financially, as well as cognitively.

So you’d rob time and energy from something that’s working, in order to start something that you need to figure out.

Not wise, not smart.

This is why intelligent people so often get stuck.

And, it’s why intelligent – and smart! – people put checks and balances in place, to make sure their intelligence doesn’t lead them astray.

So, are you intelligent – and you want to be wise as well…

Meaning, you want to outsmart your intelligence?

Then get yourself strategic accountability coaching: I’ll be there weekly on Zoom, and daily by email, to make sure you choose the smart and intelligent projects and activities to work on.

More information here:




Mind the Gap

You break the egg now, but it takes a while before it’s cooked and you get to eat it.

That’s the action-results gap, and it’s the cause of much entrepreneurial struggling.

Of course nobody minds having to wait for an egg to fry. It would be insane to expect it to be ready the moment we crack it into the skillet.

But with our work, we’re not quite as rational.

We put in a ton of work – be it creating a course, launching a funnel, or doing outreach…

And then we enter the gap, we don’t see immediate results, and then we get all frustrated and demotivated.

Because hey – what about all the work that went into it?!

Wasn’t that meant to get results?

Yes, but they show up when they do – not when we want them to.

And that moment, when we hope to see results for our actions but they’re in the future, that’s where (certainly in my case) we very often stop pushing forward on the actions we set out with.

And I can tell you: it’s tiring.

Starting something, expending ourselves, getting demotivated and then starting something new… such a waste of energy.

Which is annoying

So what’s the solution – how do we get through the action-results gap?

You set specific milestones that build up over time to the final outcome, then you carefully choose the actions that get you to the milestones, and next you relentlessly execute on those actions.

Because without consistent, strategically chosen actions and a commitment to working only on those things that drive you towards that singular goal, you’ll be flinging spaghetti all over the place, and you’ll burn up your most scarce resource: your time.

Pick one outcome.

Break it down into milestones.

Break those down into projects, then into subprojects, then into tasks.

Do those tasks, and if any idea, project or tasks shows up as a ‘great idea!’ but doesn’t directly contribute to your outcome: shelve it for later.

The only way to get through the action-results gap, is sticking with one plan, and ignoring everything else.

And if you want help in choosing the right actions and staying on track, check this out…





Upgrade Yourself, Tune the Human Machine

For the last two weeks, ending last Sunday, I’ve been on a mad drive to build a new website. (check it out – I think it looks really spiffy and I’d love to hear your feedback)

Now, you know me: I’m not the kind of company that brings out trumpets and banners, to announce ‘look, we built a new website, don’t we look cool now!’

Instead, I’m talking about it because the experience was deeply transformative, and the lesson I learned might be relevant to you.

The process wasn’t just an upgrade to my website: it involved an upgrade to the self – to my self-identity.

And when you’re trying to sell your services, that self-identity is massively important.

Are you a mere provider, someone who needs the client to please ok you and give you money?

Or are you the holder of specific, unique-to-you skills, and you qualify the prospect just as much as they need to qualify you?

In many, many cases, it’s the former.

A coach or speaker or expert positions themselves as a supplicant.

“Please mr prospect, will you please validate me?”

That’s wrong on many levels.

For one thing, where’s your self-esteem, your positioning, your confidence?

But also, it’s wrong because it gives the wrong signal to the buyer.

It shows neediness, and that drives people away.

When you seem needy, the buyer will have alarm-bells ringing in their subconscious.

Instead, show confidence.

There’s a million potential clients out there.

But there’s only one of you.

So that self-image you have – what does it look like?

How do you perceive yourself, what’s your stance, what’s your attitude?

Would it need an upgrade?

If so, maybe it’s time to ‘tune the human machine’ and upgrade yourself and your self-image.

And, provided we’re the right fit, maybe I can help.

More info here…



Ever Have Days Like These?

You reply to your final email of the day, dot a few more i’s, and shut down your computer.

Another day done – the life of an entrepreneur.

And it’s been a good day, too: you’re tired, you can tell that you’ve worked hard. Sure deserve a nice relaxed evening.

But as you close the door on your home office and you look back on your day, an uncanny notion creeps up:

For all the time, effort, and exertion you’ve put in…

What, actually, have you been working on? You know that you checked off a bunch of stuff, but for the life of you, you can’t recall the details of it.

Things got done – but which things… no real recollection.

Ever have that feeling?

If so, it’s because you didn’t pick the right things to do.

You were taking care of business, but not building your business.

You were working in your company – even doing client sessions, perhaps – but you weren’t working on your business.

Days like that, they give us a false sense of accomplishment, and it’s that voidy-kind-of-feeling when looking back, that tells us exactly how false.

But days when you crank on, working on the big things, the stuff that brings in opportunities and sales and money, those are days when you remember exactly what you’ve been doing.

And those days are the days that you grow your enterprise and your empire.

Far too many entrepreneurs have far too few days like that.

You too?

Then this will help. Have a look…




Someone to Tell Us What to Do???

The other day, a client (an architect) quoted Steve Jobs, while reflecting upon the effect of our coaching progress.

I couldn’t find the quote so as to know if Jobs did or didn’t say it, but the message was “The important thing for people in a leadership position, is to find people who can tell us what to do”.

Given Ole’ Steve’s reputation in terms of management, you’d think he couldn’t have said that.

But if you think about it, he very likely did have people advising him (in fact I can’t imagine he built what he did without advisors. And yes, I could research it but whether he did or didn’t is not the point today).

My client, he runs a company with staff, handling large architectural and urbanistic projects. And while he works on a different scale than Apple, he too is a leader.

And it’s interesting to see someone with that much business experience and acuity, realise that despite his experience as a leader and business owner, he too needs sound advice.

In that sense, working with a coach is a bit like working with a CEO. Not in terms of having a boss (whether you do or don’t do the things we discuss isn’t an obligation, and I’m not here to enforce anything).

Instead, a coach is like having a part-time CEO who can see and oversee the totality of your business: notice trends, start procedures and the building of systems that prepare for coming changes and growth, who can recommend focus on some area or abandoning something else, advise about the management of energy and resources or the allocation of funds, recommend strategies that increase visibility, invent campaigns that generate sales and repeat sales… whatever your business needs in order to grow, and for you to thrive.

All from the point of view of the ‘owner’, except I’m not the owner of your business – I’m just here to point the way. Like a navigator on a ship: I help you plot the course, and then you sail that puppy.

Also, it’s not a matter of “Now you *have* to do this”. There’s no coercion. It’s not a matter of me telling you what’s best, but rather it’s showing you different options, with different outcomes, to help you make a decision about what will serve your business best. I’m not the boss.

Are you seeing the picture?

What I’m painting here, is the notion that while you are really good at running your business, working IN your business, your CEO-for-hire is keeping an eye at which things need to happen, in which order, so that you also keep working ON your business.

Because working IN your business helps makes sure you get a sale today, but working ON your business means you’re preparing to also get a sale tomorrow and the day after and so on.

Creating systems and methods that get my clients those sales is what makes coaching a lot of fun, but the best moments are when clients come back to tell me that it’s working, and they’re getting the sales.

If you want that too, I’m just one reply away – whether for group coaching, deep-dive coaching, or action-focused, accountability-based&affordable spot coaching programmes.

One click, “Hi Martin”, and let’s talk to see what we can do.



How to Create Clarity, Focus, and Purpose

Phone calls, emails to answer, products to ship…

Social media and blogging and learning and fixing up your website…

If you’re like most people, you have a washlist of tasks and todos and goals… and you just might find yourself overwhelmed by it all.

So here’s a very simple exercise to help you create clarity.

It’s based on the concept of urgent VS important, as you can see in the diagram above.

Point is, it’s very easy to always be dealing with the urgent things, and never getting to doing the important, non-urgent stuff. But it’s exactly those things that will ultimately drive your business forward.

The things that are important but not urgent, they typically have to do with building assets.

Things like the body of articles that I’ve written over the years – that’s an asset.

Or your network, or your skills in writing, or actually turning your writing into books…

These are the things that will have a big impact in the long run, but they’re never urgent.

Which is why, if you never get to them, your progress will be annoyingly slow.

By contrast, reserving time each day to work on the important things will ultimately move the needle on your business.

The principle of the exercise is beautifully simple.

Take your todo list, and for each item ask yourself in which of the 4 quadrants it belongs.

Mark the number of the quadrant next to each item.

Next, it’s time for action.

First, the lowest number: those things that are both urgent and important.

Before anything else, work through them, fast as you can.

Take a break.

Come back to your list, and have a go at the items marked #2.

Not so as to execute on them, but to plan them in your calendar.

The best is to only take a short block each day – maybe one to two hours, three at most.

Because you’ll always have to reserve time for dealing with things that suddenly become urgent and important, and the last thing we want is for those moments to push the important/non-urgent off the agenda.

There you go: A simple and beautiful system to help you create clarity, tranquility – and forward momentum that pays off.

Or, get my help on making the best strategic decisions – AND making sure that you get the right things done.

More info and application here.



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