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

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

Fix, Prevent, or Improve?

There’s three kinds of value a business can deliver: Fix, Prevent, or Improve.

When something in the world or business of our client is failing, we can offer to fix it.

If there’s an immediate, painful problem, you need to offer your buyer a fast, practical solution.

Then there’s Prevention, where there’s fear or a threat, because of a current or future risk.

Disruption in the marketplace, changing laws or treaties or algorithms…

For that kind of client, you use trusted, reliable, proven solutions. You solidify what’s going well, and remove bottlenecks and obstacles.

And then there’s Improvement, where you help your client go from good to great.

You upgrade things.

Here, you bring knowledge, skills and creative thinking, in order to identify assets to be leveraged, and you bring them together to take a client to a level they couldn’t have reached on their own.

The reason I’m sharing this, is because it’s a handy model for choosing what to work on in your down business as well.

Often, we double down on trying to fix something that’s failing, hoping that once we’re done, life will be good.

Which may be the right choice, but what if you’d ignore the failing part for the moment, and instead improve something that’s already working, to start with?

There’s things in your business that are working well, that if you were to push forward on them, might end up working awesomely terrifically well.

And sometimes, it just make more sense to let something that’s broken be broken, and maximise on something that’s already pretty good.

(Especially if you know, in your heart of hearts, that you’re going to procrastinate the hell out of the fixing you say you need to implement anyway.)

Sometimes, it’s better to do what will work, rather than do what you tell yourself would be right.

And if the thing you want to improve, is the number of qualified prospects who say yes to your offer, then I made this for you. 




Building or running a business can be hard, but it should never be complicated, because that’s just no good for the mind.

Simple is good.

The fewer moving parts in anything, the easier it is to run the thing, test it, find flaws or bottlenecks, and fix and optimise.

Same thing goes for business. You can make your business as complicated as you like, with teams, advertisements, funnels, infrastructure, franchise – you name it. A world of options.

But the more you add in, the more complex it gets and the harder it gets to figure out what’s broken and needs fixing, or what works and merits more resources.

So here’s a model I came up with, which you can use to analyse your own business, and keep it as simple as possible:

Step 1: Values.

These inform your purpose and your mission. And, they enable you to identify and find people who share your values, so that you’ll have rapport with them.

Step 2: Assets

These can be tangible, like a list of names, hardware, office space – or intangible, such as your network, your skillset, your footprint and visibility, or the amount of goodwill and buy-in your audience has for you.

Step 3: Systems

This is where you tie the first two steps together, and build structures, frameworks, standard operating procedures – and points of measurement, so that you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

Now as a framework this is useful, but how do you make it work?

Simple: ask yourself these questions (longhand brainstorming is best, for this kind of Q&A).

1: What are my values? What would I stand on a barricade for? What do I not accept, what change am I willing to fight or stake things for?

2: What assets do I have in place? What tangible value does each have in my business, what economic value if applicable, and what potential does each asset have, provided I leverage it in a smart and strategic way?

3: What systems are in place, and in what way can they be simplified or improved so that they work better, or become easier to measure for output and results?

4: What outcomes are my systems producing?

Because everything is a either a system or part of one, and every system is perfect for the outcome it produces. So if you see outcomes you’d like to change, you now know which system to improve.

How to improve it? By looking at how your values and assets can be combined and leveraged so that the system, again, becomes simpler and more measurable.

Yes, this is an exercise that can take a few hours, but it’s super useful, because it gives you clarity, direction, and purpose.

Or, we can have a conversation, to have a look at your values, assets, and systems, and to see what’s the quickest way to get you to landing more clients and making more money, with the values, assets, and systems you have.

Let me know if you’d like to talk…






Or, You Could Stop Blaming Money

Money can bring out the best in people, and it can bring out the worst.

For example: When centuries ago Lisbon was hit by an earthquake, then a tsunami, and then a fire all in one day, the place was in ruins – and it was a very wealthy citizen who donated fortunes in order to rebuild.

As for examples where money brings out the worst… well, examples aplenty. Like the dude who bought a patent to an Aids medicine and raised its market price by – what was it? 3000%? Something crazy.

Where’s the difference?

In the person. Not in the money, because money is agnostic of right and wrong. It’s just a placeholder for value.

But, the more of a good guy or good gall someone is, the easier it is for that person to blame money, and call it – or subconsciously consider it – something inherently bad.

This is a problem, because if you Do Good Work, eventually money will start coming your way, especially if you think big and work long & hard on doing that good thing you do.

But, if you have a secret or not-so-secret hangup about money being bad, you’re going to constantly find ways to keep it out of your life, sabotaging whatever development is bringing the money closer.

That’s silly, and it’s a disservice to the people you want to serve, because the more you make, the more you can scale and reach more people.

So, stop blaming the money, and instead: want the money.

If you’re generous and your needs are covered, you can always donate, or support social good companies, and make money work for good.

But never, ever, blame the money – because it has never done anything wrong. People may have done things wrong with it, but as a tool, money itself deserves no blame.

And if you agree, and you want the money, and you can’t wait to get more of it so that you can use it to increase your impact, then let’s talk.

Because helping people make more is something I’m pretty damn good at.

Want that help, from me?

Then let me know…



Are You Trying to Push a Rope?

Further to last Friday’s article about ‘units of you’ and prioritising growth-driving activities in your business…

What if you try with all your might, and results just won’t show up?

Instagram, Facebook, outreach, proposals, trade shows, networking… you know you’re doing the right things, and things should be working and improvements (or at least: promise of results) ought to manifest, and yet… it’s like you’re treading water?

As if you’re trying to push a rope…

When things aren’t working, it’s easy to get disheartened and conclude that it just isn’t going to get better.

And when you reach that point, it’s easy to stop trying, give up on your efforts, and go back to the day-to-day activities that give a false sense of achievement. It’s happened to me, and you’ve probably had it happen as well.

But what if you step back for a moment, and look at your activities (the ones that aren’t getting you the results you want), and analyse the results that you do get?

There’s nothing you can do that does not have some sort of effect.

But because we expect Activity A to brings us Result B and that result isn’t showing up, we nearly always ignore the small results that are showing up. The progress indicators, the ‘metres clocked’ on your marathon.

And yeah, those probably don’t bring clients through the door… yet.

But they are an indicator of what could happen if you intentionally try to amplify those small, easily overlooked, results.

That holds much more promise than pushing on, trying to push a rope – or, by contrast, cancelling your efforts, throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and going with the next shiny object.

There are times when you need to take stock, and radically reinvent and replace your strategy.

But those moments are rare, and in most cases, all you need is a clear hard look at how results and indicators measure up to effort; and make subtle, strategic adjustments to your strategy and/or approach.

There’s a difference between doing the right thing, and doing the right thing correctly.

Small changes and strategic shifts can have a big effect on your outcomes, but dropping your growth-driving activities will likely cancel all the positive outcomes you’re working towards.

This is why I created the Strategic Accountabiliy Coaching programme: to help smart, driven entrepreneurs stay focused on, and executing on, those activities that will ultimately cause you the hard-number results you want.

Check it out here…






Units of You

Any given day, you have a finite amount of energy to spend, both mentally and physically.

Once used up, it’s time to rest and recover, and the next day you get another batch of energy. Kinda fun to be alive, isn’t it?

I call this energy ‘units of you’.

How much an actual unit is, isn’t relevant, and it varies day by day.

But, the number of ‘units of you’ that you can spend is finite.

Even if you crank yourself out of a dip with copious amounts of coffee (or – god forbid – energy drinks), you’ll still run out.

The problem is that at the start of a day, with a whole new batch of ‘units of you’ at our disposal, we tend to vastly overestimate how many units we have, and how much we can accomplish whilst spending them.

And so we fill our tasklist with items, far more than we can possibly do in a day.

In other words: we task our future self with a level of commitment and performance that’s wholly unreasonable, and completely unattainable.

Put differently: we bankrupt our future self’s store of ‘units of you’.

And by the time our future self runs out of ‘units of you’, it sees the remaining tasks, sees the deposit empty, and there you go: let’s procrastinate, let’s put it off until tomorrow.

Come tomorrow, you see how much you didn’t do, and you start out your day feeling bad about yesterday, and schedule even more unreasonable expectations, just to make up for yesterday.

And so begins (and continues) the downward spiral of procrastination.

And to make it even worse: a lot of the work we schedule is hardly relevant, in that it doesn’t actually do anything to drive results.

They might be useful things, but they’re busywork instead of growth-driving activities.

You’ll agree that this is no way to run a business, or indeed to live a happy life.

The solution?

Be stingy with your units of you.

When planning, know that your actual reserve won’t reach to complete everything you want to get done, and schedule only growth-driving activities, and:

Only schedule a few, or even just one. What you put on your tasklist for today should be 100% attainable, even if you run into complications or setbacks.

That way, you’re far more likely to reach your goals of accomplishment – and when you do, you get a powerful bit of neurological feedback, because hey now! I did what I said I’d do!

And, bonus: you’ll have energy left to do another thing – look at me go!

This way of planning – strategically and reasonably – is what makes the difference between annoying & frustrating slow progress, and steadily moving forward to your business goals.

And, strategic accountability coaching is exactly what helps you plan – and execute on your plans – in this way.






Every Business a Publishing Business

It’s said that every business is a publishing business, but I’d say it goes further:

Every individual is an independent publisher.

We publish all the time, it never stops.

We publish our thoughts, the food we make and share, we publish our helpfulness and our embrace, we publish our values and our goals and our tweets and our care and concern…

It’s all there, for everyone to see, so long as they pay attention.

Now why is it that so many businesses don’t get the attention they deserve – people just don’t seem to pay attention?

Because those businesses don’t make publishing a focal point in their marketing. They just do it willy-nilly, or as an afterthought, or as ‘content strategy, guys – we need a content strategy’.

At the far end of doing it wrong are the companies you bought something from 3 years ago, you never heard from them since then, and suddenly they mail you to say ‘We’re still open, despite the virus!’.

Yeah, wow. Man I suddenly love that company SO MUCH! *clicks unsubscribe*

A little bit better but still not the kind of publishing people really pay attention to: companies who only mail their list when they have a sale going on or something new to offer.

And then, there’s pretty much the holy grail of publishing: Seth Godin, who has been sharing a useful idea with his list 7 days a week, for years running.

And while your humble narrator isn’t quite as steadfast as Seth, I can tell you that sending daily emails is magnificently powerful.

It takes 20 to 30 minutes a day, and clients show up to work with me, when they’re ready, and all I need to do is share something that I hope is useful, daily, and publish it.

What could be easier?

Meanwhile, the process automatically creates a library of articles – actual assets – that I can repurpose and turn into books, trainings, slideshows and so on, creating more assets that I can then publish.

Whatever it is you do, you’re a publisher.

And whether you write daily, or publish videos on Instagram or Youtube or articles for an industry publication:

It pays dividends to take your publishing seriously.

And that is one of the things I help people with: building a lightweight, easy to maintain publishing strategy that creates visibility, a loyal audience, sales, and revenue.

Are you ready to get serious about publishing your business, strategically, with minimal effort and maximum efficiency?

Then let’s talk, and see if we ought to work together…



Archetypes and the Case for Being a Technologist in Business

It’s useful to think in terms of archetypes: roles and identities that you can adopt, to achieve specific results.

For example, the E-myth says that someone who’s awesome at doing something people pay for, isn’t necessarily also good at running or scaling a business: the doer archetype vs the owner archetype.

Which makes sense, because when you go from being the operator in your business, to operating as the owner of the business, things get easier.

You stop exclusively working in your business, and start to dedicate more time to working on your business.

But a level up from the Owner archetype, is the Artist.

The visionary, the architect, the designer, the maker… that’s the archetype that turns a good, fun, and profitable business, into a dream machine.

But there’s a level above the Artist archetype, and that’s the technologist.

Technology comes from the Greek ‘Tekhne’ (art, craft) and ‘Logion’ (oracle, discourse), or:

Systematic treatment of an art, craft, or technique, and as such can be understood as:

The precise, deliberate, measured and intentional application of skills&knowledge in the art of building a business. Systematically.

And that – creating systems – is what enables you to get a lot more return out of all the time and energy you put into your business.

So long as you don’t create measurable systems, you’ll always be operating in your business.

But once you start putting systems in place, that’s when you’re working on your business, and that’s when the fun begins.

And building systems is what I help people with – so if you’re tired of always having to do the hard work and you’re ready to start getting better results and enjoy your business more, let me know.

We’ll schedule a short call to see what your goals are and whether or not we’re a good fit, and we’ll take it from there.






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 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…



He Not Busy Being Born…

I never got into Dylan, but I do know he’s an awesome poet – and I love me some good lyrics.

Saw him quoted the other day – you may know it: “He not busy being born is busy dying”.

And at times like these, that’s truer than ever.

If right now you’re not reinventing how you operate your business and marketing and sales – if you’re not working to reinvent yourself or rebirth your operations – you might end up in trouble, or end up unable to fix the trouble you’re already in.

Of course this isn’t new.

A business is either constantly being innovated and optimised, or it should expect ‘shock by change’, at some point in the future.

Soon or later, problematic or disastrous – trouble ahead unless we reinvent.

And if, at this moment, you’re trying to figure out how to reinvent things and you’re asking ‘How do I keep selling?’ rest assured that you can stop doing that.

If you want to keep selling, the question should be:

‘What are my people’s needs, right now, under these circumstances?’

This, too, applies to business under any circumstances – but if right now you want sales keep to keep rolling in, that empathic way of approaching your market will a) give you answers as to what solutions people need, and b) make you stand out from all the tone-deaf competitors who simply keep pushing out their offers, as if nothing has happened.

If you want to be busy being born, be busy learning people.

What do your people need?

What if you’d be in their shoes?

What’s it like to be them?

That attitude, the answers to those questions, and a recipe for having conversations with people that identify those needs and that position you as the single best source to fill those needs, is what you’ll learn in this 1-hour training.



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