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

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

Now More Than Ever: Go To Where the Puck Will Be

Spoke with the owner of a transport company yesterday.

You know: the people who made sure we have food in shops, regardless of crisis or lockdown or whatever happens.

Pretty essential workers, but it’s an industry that’s under massive pressure.

Regulations, middlemen, corruption, clients who insist on the lowest prices – and of course, the drivers end up getting the short end of the stick.

And it’s only going to get worse for them: in a few years we’ll have self-driving trucks on all roads, and algorithms will enable large companies to create hyper-efficient delivery routes, and let’s not forget automated drone delivery.

In other words: transport is an industry that’s breaking, and very fast too.

Now you might not be in transport, but there’s a lesson for you as well.

It’s said that you need to ‘skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is now’.

That applies to anyone in business, because while right now it might look like the world is changing fast, it’s only going to change faster and faster.

Which means that if you try to fix what broke, you’ll endlessly be chasing the puck, and you’ll never reach it.

But if you take a wider perspective, and ask yourself ‘if this continues…’ you end up with a vision of the future that might not be how the future will pan out, but you’ll be much better positioned to deal with the new and surprising changes that we’ll all be facing.

Yes, things have broken, nothing is the same, business is unusual – so instead of trying to catch up, see if you can get ahead.

If this continues… where will your industry be in 6 months, in a year from now?

What will your buyers need, what kind of new or different problems will they face that you can solve for them?

Go there.

Those who benefit and grow when things break, are the ones who take the time to project into the future: they envision where the puck will go, and they position themselves to knock it out of the rink once it arrives.

Put differently:

The entire world has been hit with entropy.

I say don’t try to fix it, but build something new instead.



Are You Torturing Your Future Self?

On any given 8-hour workday, how much is on your todo list? And, can you reasonably expect yourself to get it all done?

Before you answer, keep in mind the inevitable distractions: a phone call, an urgent email, a task you forgot about but it’s urgent – and also, the human need to eat, rest, or sit back and reflect… that’s easily 2 to 3 hours out of your day, right? At best, you’ll be able to spend 5 to 6 hours doing actual work.

Now look at your usual pile of tasks again, and consider: how many of your work hours need to be spent in states of high-focus and high-productivity, in order to get your work done and get it done right? And, can you actually work at that level for that many hours?

Unless you take your coffee intravenously, you probably can’t.

Most people can work for 8 hours, but we can only work at our highest level for 2 hours, maybe 4.

So here you have a workday that’s effectively 5 or so hours, with about 3 hours of deep work.

Now look at your todo list again: are you seriously expected to get all of that done, in what’s effectively a 3-hour day? Are you really that super-human?

Obviously neither you or I are super-human.

But here’s the trap: on a subconscious level, we think that our future self actually is superhuman.

Unstoppable. Driven. Radically committed, terrifically hard-working, able to concentrate and stay on task for hours on end.

In other words, we allow our now-self to create a massive problem for our future self.

“I, here, now, decide that X and Y and Z need to get done today – and given that the ‘I’ that I’ll be later on is some sort of productivity demi-god, we can give him another todo! He can handle it!”

3 Hours later, your future self has exerted themselves, checked things off the list, happy to have done so much – but the list of task and chores is almost as long as when the day started… and still no end in sight.

This is how a lot of procrastination starts: saddling our future self with a job that is, if not impossible, highly unreasonable.

So if you tend to find yourself overwhelmed, and frustrated that there’s not enough time in your day, and annoyed that you didn’t get more done, maybe try to be a little more compassionate with your future self.

Instead of saying things like:

“Tomorrow, I’ll catch up on all the work I avoided last month!”

“This afternoon, I’ll write that proposal that normally requires 12 to 14 hours!”

“I’ll have cake today, because starting tomorrow, I’m going to be 100% on the strictest diet of my life”.

This will never work, because your future self isn’t a magical ninja-level fixer of everything that your past self hasn’t done yet.

Your future self is – surprisingly – exactly like you.

So why do we overload and torture our future self this way?

Because psychologically (and this can be measured in brain activity) our mind pretends that our future self is a different person, not us.

But once you realise that it’s the same person, you can decide to set tasks not for ‘that other dude called future self’, but for you, yourself.

Be nice to your future self. It’s the easiest way to getting things done.

And if you want to be REAL nice to your future self, Strategic Accountability Coaching is one of the ways…



Outcomes, Questions, Control

You can create a lot of change by asking the right questions, but it’s easy to ask the wrong ones instead.

If your sales aren’t going up, or if you’re constantly putting out fires, or you never have enough time or enough money, it’s tempting to throw up your hands in frustration and exclaim ‘why isn’t this working better?!’

But that question won’t help you nearly as much as asking “Why am *I* not working better?’

That’s not because you’re to blame, but because you are the only thing you can control.

Money, time, sales, prospects: none of those are under your direct control.

You can exert influence in those areas, but there are so many moving parts involved in it all, that you’ll never be able to control them.

But yourself, and your thoughts and actions and choices: that’s fully under your control – if you want it to be.

Sure it’s frustrating when results are lacking, but asking yourself why doesn’t help.

Instead, ask yourself questions like ‘what can I change in my decisions, behaviour, or performance, in order to make results more likely or quicker to show up?’

Suddenly, you go from being the one who suffers from getting bad results (i.e. the victim subjected to life’s unfairness), to being the agent responsible for creating change.

It’s being agile with questions like these that brings grit, productivity, proper decision-making, and ultimately: results.

And it’s the kind of question we deal with weekly, once you enroll in my Strategic Accountability Coaching programme.

More information here: 






The Face, Not the Logo (Making a Case for Being Different)

There’s a thousand reasons why someone ought to buy your work.

And, there’s dozens, hundreds or even thousands, of others who people could also buy from, and get an equally good solution to their problem.

So when someone decides to buy from you, and not from another provider, why is that?

Could be your credentials, experience, expertise, price, availability…

But in all cases when someone decides that you get the money and not someone else, there’s one thing at play that you can leverage:


You’re different from all the others. That’s why people want you, not them.

But if you’re different, then everybody else is also different. So how does that set you apart?


Most everybody else is out there looking to sell to people who want what they do.

But those who see a spike in success, those are the ones who only look to sell to those buyers who want their kind of different.

As Daniel Priestley says: People don’t remember the logo – they remember the face.

If you want to make marketing and selling easier, then you’d do well to connect with – and sell to – those who like your kind of different.

Suddenly your total market has become a LOT smaller & easier to wield, and suddenly your market is filled with 100% of candidates who totally dig the kind of different that you are.

What really makes for a differentiator in business, and what sets you apart from the competition, isn’t how different you are – it’s how far you’re willing to go in terms of aiming for people who want just your particular variation of different.




Should You ‘Pay to Play?’

Following on from yesterday’s ‘be the prize’…

One of my clients contacted a podcaster: “Got a story, your audience might like it, want to interview me?”

Podcaster replies: “Sure! My guests sponsor me, and the price of admission is $160”.

Obviously, when my client asked my opinion, my reply sounded very much like “Hell no!”

For one thing, if a podcaster charges money for interviews, they either don’t know how to run a business that’s profitable enough to cover the cost of hosting a podcast.

Or, it could be that they are profitable, but they’re simply greedy. Grab what you can etc.

But ok, that’s their problem.

Our problem is an erroneous valuation of self and time.

If your story is interesting and good enough to go on a show, you bring value to the host, who gets to amplify their audience, visibility, and profits, by the value that the guests provide.

The guest is the prize, the asset who brings value.

An interview guest shouldn’t pay for the privilege, just like an artist shouldn’t pay a gallery, nor should a public speaker pay to be on a stage, like that lady in Malaga tried to get me to do last year. Hell no.

What’s next, journalists charging money to their interviewees? Sheesh.

You’ve got the value. You share it and they benefit.

So if yesterday’s message didn’t land, I’ll say it again:

Be the prize.




Be the Prize

When it’s your mission to find a client, or enroll a prospect in working with you… what kind of position do you take?

If you’re like most people, you take the small role, the position and attitude of a supplicant.

“Please mrs. Buyer, would you please buy this thing from me?”

But wait a minute… how many potential clients are out there?

Probably thousands, right?

And how many of you are there?


Which makes you into a super-scarce resource, with only 24 hours in your day.

And that means that your needing to win over the client is only half the story.

The other half, that’s the client winning you over. Getting your ok on working with them.

Because not every client is an ideal client, and you want to be deliberate and intentional with how you spend your most precious resource (i.e. your time)

If you work with someone who isn’t right (micro-manages, or drains you, or keeps changing the scope of the job), you’re in a bad situation: you have to put up with things you don’t like, AND you have less time to search for better, more fun clients.

This is why we need to qualify clients, just as much as clients need to qualify us.

So if ever you feel like you need to win a clients’ approval, remember this:

There are hundreds, thousands, of potential clients out there, but:

There’s only one you.

You’re the prize.



Choice (Best Make Sure You Make This One)

There are entrepreneurs who make things happen.

They make the plans, do the work, measure the results, and continuously iterate and optimise both self and systems, in order to reach best performance and outcome.

That’s the kind of entrepreneur who grows themselves, their business, their impact, and their revenue.

There’s also those who, instead, watch what’s happening.

These are people who do try to stay in control of things, but because they don’t plan, execute, or measure enough, they kinda stay stuck. They watch things happen, or not happen.

And then there’s those who wonder what the hell is happening.

That’s what you get when you’re aimless, trying various things, never sticking with something that works, never executing on the things that truly drive growth.

Which group you belong to is the result of a choice, conscious or not. And you’d better consciously make that choice, otherwise it’s unlikely you’ll be in the first group.

But that would be the group you want to be in, right?

Good. That’s why I created the Strategic Accountability Coaching programme.

Have a look here, and fill out the questionnaire if you feel it’s for you…



Careful: Don’t Major in Minor Things

Whatever it is you want to achieve, improving your knowledge and skills are a great way to make it happen faster and with more ease.

But are you majoring in minor things?

Yes, it’s useful to learn the ins and outs of managing your website, but once your site is ready, how much will it add to your bottom line to become a WordPress ninja?

Taking a course in how to use social media for your business: yes, totally.

But spending days researching what hashtags to use and learning what kind of posts and images to use… how much ROI will that bring you, given that social media isn’t a platform for selling, but for building visibility and audience?

It’s not that such things are unimportant, because they can be.

But are they so important, that it makes sense to reach expert level, whilst the skills that bring in sales remain underdeveloped?

You only have so many hours in a day, so it’s wise to consider what are the small things to improve, and what are the big things.

So far, so good.

But here’s where it’s easy to make a mistake:

To develop things at which we’re bad, or mediocre.

In many cases, it’s a lot better to leave them as is, and instead spend our time on things that we’re already pretty good at.

For example: I (used to) sing in a band, and I play rhythm guitar – and as far as the guitar goes, I’m somewhere between capable and reasonably good. Now I could spend a lot of time upping my guitar game, and it would be useful. But it would steal time from my vocal training, and I’ll never be as awesomely terrific as our lead guitarist anyway. So becoming GOOD at playing the guitar would mean I’m majoring in something minor. Meanwhile, I’m the lead singer so I’d better be as good as I can at singing, and leave the guitar-y awesomeness to Phil.

It’s all about efficiency.

To go from zero or sub-par skills, to reasonable ability, can take a long time and a lot of hard work. And you’ll still be only reasonably skilled.

But to go from ‘pretty good at this’ to expert level is often a lot easier to achieve. AND you’ll end up being highly skilled in it, which beats ‘reasonably skilled’ any day of the week.

Besides, if your modus is to constantly develop skills you don’t have or that suck at, you’ll end up what they call ‘a bag of highly developed shortcomings’.

Again, it’s not bad to learn things. By all means, make learning and training part of your world.

The question is though: what is the one thing that you do fairly well, and that if you dedicate yourself to it, you could do terrifically well?

What major things should you major in?

Everything is strategy, and knowing what to choose, strategically, makes all the difference.

Which is exactly what the Strategic Accountability Coaching programme is for.

Extremely helpful for smart people who want to major in major things. 



Three Pillars Required for Business Success

When trying to create clarity and fun and growth in your business, there’s three core areas to pay attention to – fundamental pillars, in my opinion:

Mindset, method, and skillset.

Mindset is about how to think, how to look at the playing field, the decisions to make, the things to say no or yes to.

Mindset is the overarching ‘how’ of the way you run your business.

Method, is straightforward, hands-on, measurable. It’s about planning, strategising, and steps to take, in such an order that one thing can build on another.

In other words, it’s the ‘what’ of being in business. What to do, in what way, what next, what not to do, what to measure, and what assets to leverage in order to create a thriving business.

Skillset is, as the word says, about capabilities: the specific skills you need to bring to your game in order to actually make things happen.

It’s really important to work with all three, because it’s like a three-legged stool: if one leg is missing, the thing will fall over.

You may have an excellent method and strategy, and crazy good skills at marketing or delivering your work, but if your mindset says ‘it’s pointless, the economy sucks, people just don’t pay what I deserve’, then method and skillset don’t do you much good.

If your mindset is ‘I can do this, and I know I can find the people who do want to pay good rates’, and your method for finding them is great – but you don’t have the skills required to actually find those people, it won’t work either.

It’s useful to assess where you’re at with each of the three pillars, so you get a view on where you’re at, where you want to go, and what needs to happen inbetween the here and the there.

If mindset needs improving, work on yourself. Read books, get a coach, go to workshops and retreats. Learn to make your mind work for you, instead of against you.

If method is undefined or underdeveloped, straight-up learning is in order, especially in terms of strategy, measurement, and systems.

If skillset is lacking, train yourself. Be it in copywriting, or selling, or SEO, or using social media or building your list: there’s things you can do and do well, provided you train yourself.

So whenever you feel things aren’t working the way they ought to, take yourself through a little thought exercise, and ask:

Is my mindset configured correctly for reaching my goals? Is there any belief or elements to my attitude or showing up that I can change, improve or replace?

Do I have a well-defined, hypothesis-based method in place for growing my business, that allows me to test, iterate and optimise?

Do I have the skills required to actually make it work – or do I need to acquire new skills?

Either way, if you want to make it in business, you need the three pillars: mindset, method, and skillset.

And, if you have them reasonably in place but you just want to be sure you’re working on the right things that get you to your results, then this will help.



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…



get the book

and discover how to sell the way nice people do

You’ll also receive a short daily email on ethical selling and business growth.

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy