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

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

Offer Ends on Wednesday: First Come, First Coached (at no Cost)

I’m curious about you.

About what you’re like, and what you do, and the goals you have in life.

I wonder what you want your legacy to be.

I’d like to know what drives you, what your specific view on life is.

In other words: I’d like to meet YOU.

And above all: I’m dying to discover what your biggest, boldest dream is.

Because life is too short to dream small.

And it’s the people who dare to dream big, and take action on those dreams, who inspire others.

And to me, there’s nothing more inspiring than meeting someone who is driven, on a mission, and willing to do whatever it takes to make their dreams real.

And: if you have a dream that will benefit the world, you deserve all the help you can get.

Which is why I’m inviting you to a coaching conversation, at no cost.

We’ll take a few hours, to uncover your biggest dreams and above all: those elements in your worldview and self-image that prevent you from moving towards those dreams.

There’s no small print, no obligation.

All it takes is for you to answer a few questions…

But I only have a few slots available in my calendar, so it’s first come, first coached.

Want to play?

Then tell me your big dream here:



Should an Artist Ever Pay a Gallery to Show Their Work?

If you know me, you might think I’d answer with a hearty ‘NO!’

But things are not that simple.

Let’s look at a few cases:

My friend Gym Halama, for example.

Paid hundreds of Euros to participate in a group expo in a European capital.a lady in Italy, in order to participate in a group show in Rome.

But when she arrived, she found that the lady who organised it (and had taken the money for it)  was far more interested in taking selfies with posh visitors, rather than talking with the artists or indeed selling any art.

So in a case like that, you absolutely should not pay for exposure.

Another example: Last year a guy asked me to write part of a book, together with a few other authors – nicely big names, too.

“And, you can be published along with them for just $5K, Martin!”

To which I replied: “Yeah, I used to be a copywriter, you know. I don’t pay to write – I get (rather: used to get) paid for it”.

Should I have done it, would it be a fair proposition on his part?

Maybe yes, maybe no. But I didn’t know the guy, and I wasn’t in the mood to spend all that money just to find out if he’s a good egg and if he knows what he’s doing.

But here’s another example:

A good friend of mine recently paid several 1000’s to be part of a group expo in a small but wealthy town.

When she told me, I was quite skeptical.

That much money, for others to show your work… I… don’t know if that’s a good idea.

But now she tells me the tail of the story:

While the owners of the gallery didn’t sell any of her work, they did something else for her:

They keep inviting her to events in circles of very affluent people.

Tight-knit, exclusive groups, where normally you don’t get in unless you’re very affluent yourself.

In other words: a target market most of us would love to reach, but the chicken needs to lay the egg first, before the egg can hatch the chicken etc.

But now, she’s part of the in-crowd: she’s made friends, gained connections, and now she’s in a domino effect of meeting more and more very interesting people, who have spending power too.

She now has connections and conversations with an excellent art-buying audience.

So basically, the fee bought her access to a market upgrade.

And that’s not bad.

As for other options, and the now-common ‘Lots of galleries charge money these days!’…

Be careful.

If a gallery takes 50%, that means they need to work to earn it.

They build the audience, pay for press, maintain premises, and bring buyers through the door.

You lose 50% of your earnings, but you are given access to a buyer list.

So far so good.

It’s the business model of the gallery, and I’m not against it.


If a gallery also charges an entry fee, for them to show your work, that’s when things become hairy.

It changes their business model, and selling your work (and earning the commission) is no longer a live-or-die issue.

They’ve already made money, so the incentive to work hard to earn from sales is much much lower.

And who’s at risk if they don’t sell?

The artist.

And if they don’t sell, and they don’t include you in their social circles either, your investment becomes null and void.

So watch your step when it comes to investing in exposure.

Do your homework, ask tough questions, vet the people who are asking you to pay.

Don’t just jump in because their salespitch is so good.

Which leaves us with a tricky issue:

How do you decide which opportunities to grab?

Who do you ask for advice?

If you ask your spouse, you likely won’t get an unbiased opinion.

Your friends might not fully ‘get’ all that goes into it.

Other artists may advise solely based on their own experience – positive or negative – and that advice might not serve you.

And this is why I created The Cabal.

For you to not go it alone, but to have a team of smart, helpful, and experienced peers that you can throw questions like these at (and at me too, of course).

You’ve gone it alone long enough.

It’s time to get yourself a team to support you.

Sounds good?

Then apply for membership here:



How a Rubber Duck Can Debug Your Creative Career

The programmer stared at the screen: still not right.

He’d been working on this application for days, and he thought he’d found and fixed all bugs, but nope.

There was still something wrong in the code, and for the life of him he couldn’t find out what.

Annoying, frustrating, aggravating!

He calmed himself down, and suddenly remembered some debugging advice from a friend.

Went into the bathroom, and grabbed his daughter’s rubber duckie.

Back at his desk, he told the duck:

“Listen, I need your help, ok?

“This program isn’t working, so I’m going to go through it with you, line by line.

“I’ll explain what each line is meant to do, and you let me know if I say anything that doesn’t make sense”.

And he started: “This line here does xyz, then that line does abc…

“The next one is there to have the user enter his name…

“This one makes the button turn green…”

On and on, one line after another, one explanation after another.

Until: “This line takes the data and puts it in…”

He stopped, stared, mouth open.

“Oh hang on a minute… it doesn’t!

“That’s why it’s not working – the data isn’t going where it needs to go!”

He tapped the keyboard, ran the program again, and boom: it worked flawlessly.

He relaxed and leaned back in his seat, looking at the duck, which didn’t smile at him and didn’t say “You’re welcome”.

In the programming world, this is called ‘rubber duck debugging’, and most all of us have used the technique in our lives.

It works for all kinds of issues and problems and dilemmas.

And we do it often, most of the time unconsciously.

Simply articulating an issue, will very often allow you to identify why something isn’t working.

That’s also why journaling can be so useful: it helps you structure and formulate things, which often leads you to insights that you won’t reach by merely thinking through the problem.

This is why I say that everybody needs to have a rubber duck.

Or a friend who knows how to listen, that works too.

Try it, next time you’re struggling to come up with an answer or a solution.

Talk to a rubber duck, or a friend, or write out the problem.

Good chance you’ll solve it, or reach a crucial insight.

Because here’s the thing:

Any answer we need, any solution we seek, it already exists inside of us.

We have all the answers, we just need to trust ourselves and find a way to access the inner wisdom that’s ours.

Yes, yours too.

This notion, that you already have the answers, is the crux of my work as a coach.

I’m not there to tell you what’s what, or what to do – you already know that.

I’m there to listen, and to ask you the right questions, to help you unlock your own insights.

And I ask lots of questions, to get you to explain – just the way a programmer would explain the lines of code and what they’re meant to do.

And as we speak, and you uncover ever-deeper insight, it’s like peeling away the layers of an onion.

Behind this insight hides that one, underneath that one yet another…

On and on, until you yourself turn on the lightbulb.

Ever wondered what coaching is like?

This is it. This is how it works.

You talk to a ‘rubber duck’ named Martin, who asks deep-dive questions, and then you get to find the answers.

Ever curious to experience that for yourself?

Then I have an invitation for you…

IF you can send me a BHAG – a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal – that you have, then I will give you an hour of my time to help you crack it.

No fee nor obligation. (And no obligation on my part to coach you further afterwards, unless that’s what we both want.)

The first step is to answer a few questions that will help you find clarity about your goal, and the obstacles that stand in your way.

They will also give me an idea of your situation and ambitions, and get me thinking about how I can help.

It will be first come, first served when I allocate the appointments, so the sooner you send me your goal, the sooner you get my help.

Tell me your ambitious goal here:



Brilliant New Book By My Coach – Get a Copy for Free!

If productivity, motivation, and that tricky money issue has ever been something you want to get better at:
My coach, Mark McGuinness of has just released a new book that will help you. A LOT.
I read a preview copy a few weeks ago, and it’s GOOD. Highly recommended.
Oh, and do the man a favour: leave a review if you like it?



What to Do When It Just Ain’t Happening

Sometimes, lack of results can be confounding.

Especially when you’re taking action, and stepping out of your comfort zones, and doing all the right things.

By all expectations, people ought to be getting in touch, making inquiries, buying your work…

And yet, something must be wrong, because it just isn’t happening.

When clients present me with such a conundrum, I have a very simple method for finding solutions.

It involves getting a bit analytical, and looking at the totality of your work and business as a system.

As I’ve said before: every system is perfect for the results it produces.

So if the results are lacking, the system needs to be modified.

Where most people go wrong is in changing the most obvious element.

When sales are lacking, it’s so easy to decide that you need to lower your prices, but in most cases that’s the wrong choice.

See, sales are an end result, and price is only one of many factors involved in getting that result.

There’s also presentation, and showing up for the right people, and frequency of communication, and so on.

So before changing a price, you want to look at the system, and all the elements in it, and see if there’s anything there that can be optimised.

With such an attitude, you’ll very often find that there are underperforming elements in your system.

So fix those, and then observe the changes in the outcome of the system.

Here are some of the system-analysis questions I use, in no particular order:

Are you getting enough traffic to your site?

Are you having enough conversations?

Is your list growing?

Is your optin incentive compelling enough?

Do you follow up with potential buyers?

Do you go out to meet and connect with people often enough?

Are you part of relevant communities, online or offline?

Do you mail your list with consistent frequency? (and no, once a month is not often enough)

Is your website set up for conversion? (as in: calls to action in place, easy checkout process, optin forms in the right place?)

Does the copy on your site convey the right message, to engage people and motivate them into action?

Try these questions for yourself… see where you find bottlenecks or weak links, and then get to fixing them.

Really look at the totality of your business, and check that every aspect and element is performing.

Fix the parts that aren’t optimal.

Because you’ll never get different results if you don’t optimise your system.

And as for the issue of copy on your site:

I know, I know.

You were meant to change the copy, it’s on your todo list.

But because writing just isn’t your thang, you keep putting it off.

Understandable, but it means you’re leaving money on the table.

If you don’t connect with visitors, they won’t take action.

They won’t sign up or buy.

And you deserve better than that.

So if you know that your site copy is a bottleneck: stop putting it off.

I’ll fix your copy for you.

Details here:



Beware the Marshmallow – It Will Make or Break Your Success (Seriously!)

More specifically: your attitude to marshmallows – or any other fun and gratifying thing.

Yes, I’m being serious.

This matters, so I urge you to read this one today.

In the 60’s and 70’s, two Stanford researchers performed a series of studies designed to test the willpower and ability to delay gratification on a
group of children.

Pop culture came to call these ‘The Marshmallow Experiment’, and the study revealed something amazing.

Here’s how it went:

A child was sat in a room, and a marshmallow or other treat was placed in front of them.

The researcher said:

“I have to step out for 15 minutes. If you want to eat the marshmallow, go ahead. But if you don’t, I’ll give you a second one when I’m back”.

Predictably, a number of the children ate the thing immediately.

Others would leave it good and well alone, and get the second treat as a reward.

Nothing special there, right?

Some people are good at delayed gratification, and others want the instant joy.

The next four decades though, there were very interesting.

The researchers followed the children as they grew up, got their education, got a job and a partner and children, and what they found constitutes an almost binary difference between successful people and people who never get to play big.

Those children who had waited for the second treat, all of them, outshone the others who had eaten it right away.

Higher SAT scores, less childhood obesity, less substance abuse in adult years, higher income, better careers…

In other words: people who are able to delay gratification have a massive, unfair advantage to become successful and prosperous.

Which instantly raises a problem:

What if you don’t have all that much self control?

What if you’re not good at delaying gratification?

Does that mean that you’re doomed for life, to never go beyond mediocre or average results?

Absolutely not, my friendly attentive reader.

You too can change, if you want to.

Because the ability to delay gratification can be trained just like a muscle.

Very simple, and quite effortless.

All it requires is that you build a habit out of tiny tiny moments of delayed gratification.

When you do that, your subconscious experiences that yes, it’s worth it, and that yes, you can do it.

That direct feedback loop is the thing that will strengthen your ability to wait.

Guaranteed or your money back.

Here’s how to do it:

1: Start incredibly small. Make the delay so small, it’s impossible to not do it.

For example, maybe your habit is to check your email first thing in the morning or go to Facebook, and 2 hours later you re-emerge with a whole bunch of actual work not done.

So start with waiting one minute, from the moment the urge comes up.

You can hold out for one minute, can’t you?

Of course you can.

2: Play this game with one thing only, and increase daily by 1 % or 1 minute, depending.

3: Use the Seinfeld strategy: print off a calendar page, and make a big black cross through each day that you played the game and won.

Keep it visible in your work area – the visual feedback is important because it tells your subconscious that you can do it and that you’re making progress.

4: Make the habit something that you can start in 2 minutes or less.

So if you want to lose weight, deciding to go for a short run each morning isn’t the way to go.

Dress up in your running kit, get your shoes on, out the house… far too easy to skip on your resolve.

In such a case, make the decision to start with one jumping jack, at home, and add one each day.

There you go: your success-building strategy, backed by 40 years of research.

Another good tip:

Get an accountability partner.

In person, on skype or by email:

Each week (or each day), tell that person what you plan to do.

At the end of the term, report your results.

If you didn’t manage to get it done, that person asks the following questions:

(not: ‘why didn’t you?’, but):

What was the reason that prevented you from doing it?

What change can you make to remove that obstacle?

That simple. Very powerful.

Accountability is one of the best ways to make sure you keep moving the needle on your work and ultimately your success.

This is why accountability is such an important part of The Cabal group coaching program.

It’s not just me, but the other members too, who support you and hold you accountable on the things you want to do.

(Aside from the fact that it’s enormously useful and fun to have a team that’s always routing for you).

So if you want to belong to a small, intimate and powerful group, check the details on The Cabal here:



Confidence Sells: Why They Didn’t Hire Me as a Guitar Player…

It’s the 80’s, and a young Stellar has been practicing the guitar for a few years.

At some point, an established local band called The Hit is looking for a guitar player.

So, brazen as I am, I apply.

Tote my guitar over to the singer’s house, and take a seat on the sofa, my axe on my lap.

The singer, a nice guy with a big blond head of spikey punkey hair in front of me.

As we chat, I tickle the strings, warming-up style.

A few riffs, some bits of solo, a few scales…

Waiting for him to tell me to show off my chops.

I wasn’t a great player by any means, but I could hold my own.

So I was a bit nervous to find out if I was good enough.

But he never got to giving me the cue to start ‘the audition’.

Instead, he casually mentions:

“Your playing is fine, that’ll work”.

I’m surprised and pleased, of course.

But then he asks:

“Point is, what we’re looking for is a real stage animal, someone who can really work the crowd.

“Like Stevie Vay, you know him?”

I nod.

“Of course you don’t have to be that big, but what we really need is a guy to front the band.

“Is that you?”

I mumble that yeah, I guess, sure.

A few weeks later, I heard they’d hire another guitar player.

They were doing a gig, and afterwards the guy came up, saying:

“What you guys need, is me”.

Boom, right in there.

Confidence, it sells.
I was even told his guitar skills weren’t as good as mine, but because he had the confidence, he got the gig instead of me.

So yeah, once again:

Confidence sells.

Same thing applies when we’re talking about writing.

The information you put in front of a reader needs to speak in a carefully balanced, confident way.

Not by being boastful, that only instills distrust.

It’s got to be just right, just attractive enough for the other person to resonate with you, to feel the same confidence that you display.

That’s a measured and tested effect, by the way:

If a confident person speaks to another person, that other person’s brain centers light up in the same way, reflecting the experience of confidence the speaker has.

So your writing – be it an about page or press release or event invitation, needs to trigger the confidence that yes, it’s worth to spend time with you, or sign up, or visit your show.

And, sadly, listing your pedigree doesn’t do the trick.

I see so many pages, online and offline, where the info is mostly a listing of achievements, devoid of personality.

Doesn’t work.

So what are you to do when writing isn’t your strong suit?

Stellar to the rescue:

I’ll rewrite your copy for you, and make it so that the confidence is perfectly balanced.

Details on this subscriber-only offer here –>


Resonance, Zone of Genius, and of Course: Fun

He picked up the acoustic guitar and sat himself down on the edge of the drummer’s podium.

The crowd was silent: this was where the band played the one – and beautiful – romantic song they had.

He flexed his fingers and played the first chord.

Instantly, his face lit up.

His eyes found mine, he smiled a big smile, and mouthed ‘Perfect!’

And the song began.

This was over 20 years ago, and I was a roadie for a local band.

And of course his guitar had been tuned to absolute perfection.

I wasn’t just a crate-carrying, cable-connecting roadie – I was a guitar player myself.

So I knew how to fine-tune the thing, unlike our other roadie who was a drummer.

He could tune a guitar adequately, but not the way another guitar player can. And yes, there’s a difference.

Why this story?

Because there’s a difference between the zone of competence, and the zone of genius.

And why does that matter?

Because of something a client told me last year:

“An artist should write their own copy”.

And in a sense, that’s true.

But for most artists or other kinds of entrepreneurs, that means working in their zone of competence.

Which can yield passable copy, but it’s not the same as copy written by a skilled and experienced copywriter.

A pro writer works in his zone of genius, not that of competence.

And that brings completely different results.

Besides, why would you want to do manual labour on something that’s not in your zone of genius?

There are things that you and only you can do – be it painting or teaching or making photos.

I say it makes much more sense to do that, and outsource things like copywriting or building your website or learning how to run Facebook ads.

The genius work, the thing that nobody can do quite the way you do it, that’s what you get paid for.

That’s the work you do that makes people resonate with you.

So it’s only logical to focus on doing that thing.

“So Martin, can you write copy for me?”

Alas, I can not.

I could, but I no longer do copywriting work: it was fun for a while, but at some point I was fed up with lengthy projects, and spending weeks or even months stuck in subject matter
that wasn’t ‘mine’.

The fun had gone out, and you know that I’m a firm believer in doing things that are fun.

So here’s something fun, something that I do I really like doing:

Fixing up and re-writing copy.

That kind of work, where you feed me a piece of copy and I whip it into shape?

Absolutely love it.

So: if you have copy that needs to shine and perform, I’ll re-write and fine-tune it for you.
Can be for different purposes.

For example:

– a Press Release

– Artist Statement

– About page

– Landing page

– Sales page

– Brochure copy

– Show announcement

– Online or offline ad

– Event invitation

Or any other type of writing that needs to convey a message and call the reader into action…

Send it over and you’ll have it back in 7 days, ready to go out into the world, with bells on.

And you better believe it’s going to give you a piece of copy that works, and gets people into action: whether that’s buying from you or contacting you or showing up at your show.

I might be retired as a copywriter, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get my hands dirty and fix your copy for you.

Because it’s fun.

Need your copy fixed and tuned up to perfection?

Then send an email to and include the URL, or paste in the piece you need to have fixed.

I’ll reply back ASAP with further instructions.



*Facepalm* + Get Your Ass in the Studio

That slapping sound when your palm hits your forehead?

That’s what resounded in my house yesterday, when I received emails saying that the event page on Facebook I asked you to share… has no share or like buttons.

So am I the fool for not knowing Facebook well enough, or is Facebook the fool for not having those buttons?

I don’t know, it doesn’t matter. It’s just yet another reason why I don’t enjoy Facebook, and rarely spend time there.

So anyway: before we get into today’s meat&potatoes:

Here’s the correct link – would you please do us a favour and like, and share, our Facebook page?

Thanks ever so much.

Right, so today’s missive is different than normal.

In that, today I don’t have any big ideas to share.

And, today I’m speaking to anyone who has a strong artistic drive, but for some reason hasn’t yet reached full artistic identity yet.

Kind of like me – I’ll call myself an artist and have done all my life, but it’s only in recent weeks that I actually want to *make* real art, and show it.

So what happened?

My dear friend Jessica Serran happened, is what.

She’s a coach and educator for artists, and an artist herself.

And, she’s leader of a movement called ‘Becoming Artist’ and, well, she’s got an uncanny ability to help people identify as artist.

I mean, if she can get Martin to step up to the plate, she’s got to be good. Real good.

So, if you want to make art, but resistance or insecurity or childhood programming or whatever, is keeping you from living the artist life, maybe you want to see what Jessica can do for you.

She’s currently running a 5-day challenge, specifically designed to get your tush into the studio.

So if that’s what you want, best saunter over to her site and join in the fun:



I’m Excited! (And I Need to Ask You for a Helping Hand…)

calibrating-reality_martin_stellar_photography_art_webYou know how I’ve always said that I don’t have any ambition when it comes to showing people my photos, or to sell them?

Well… things change.

That group of local artists I’ve been spending time with the last few months, they triggered something in me.
And my friend Jessica Serran, who runs a ‘Becoming Artist’ program, she played a big part in it too.

So, I’m going to show my photography, in less than two weeks, at our inaugural group exhibition.

But not just the photos… after all, I’m a writer, so I’m combining the images with words (see link below).

So right now I’m busy post-processing images, and writing for them, and doing layout… pretty exciting.

Pretty nerve-wracking too, I’ll tell you that!

Do I expect people to buy my work?

Not really – but I do expect to have some interesting conversations with the visitors.

And that by itself is plenty reward for me.

Who knows, maybe somebody will buy a piece.

And who knows, maybe next year I’ll discover the ambition to make sales happen.

But for now, none of that matters.

What does matter, and a lot, is that the ANA group gets bums in seats for our show: visitors through the door.

And that’s where you come in.

Would you do The Artists’ Network Alpujarra a big favour?

All I’m asking is for you to Like and share our Facebook page, to help with our visibility and SEO ranking.

I’d be so grateful if you do, and so will my artist friends.

Three simple steps:

1: Click the link…

2: Click ‘Like’…

3: Share it with your network…

Which link?

This one! Artists’ Network Alpujarra Inaugural Exhibition


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