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

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

Here’s What to Do Next (NEVER Miss This Opportunity)

I’ve written about this before, but it turns out not everyone got the memo.

So here goes again:

One of the most important opportunities as a business owner, and one which nearly everyone overlooks, is the…

“Here’s what next” moment.

With any given contact, you have a very small window of opportunity, a short moment where you get to tell the other person:

“This is what I suggest you do now”.

And it’s massively important – both online and offline.

Website, phonecalls, Facebook, real life meetings or the emails you send to potential buyers –  they all have in common that the reader or visitor or viewer gets to a point where
they’re open to your suggestion.

Not always and in all cases – but you’d better make sure you keep your eyes open and never miss the moment when it comes.

For example:

Someone sent me their new website.

A nice clean look, putting the focus squarely on the art.

So far so good.

But the homepage, where everyone lands, had a problem.

It showed a painting, with on it some text: “Exhibition, date, location, welcome”, more or less.

For the rest, the homepage had no text, aside from the navigation menu at the top.

At first site, it looks intriguing.

A sparse look can’t help but raise curiosity, but I guarantee that every visitor will get to a decision point: What next?

In general, there will be two choices: More, or leave?

Now here’s the problem: for reasons to do with psychology, the percentage of people who leave will be higher if you don’t clearly give a ‘this next’ suggestion.

You may think people are old and wise enough to decide for themselves what to do next, and yes.

Of course they are.

But don’t forget that there can be a 1000 reasons why someone chooses to leave.

Busy day, distracted, headache, tired, on a deadline and aware they’re procrastinating, or…

Simply not aware that reading or seeing more might be something they’d enjoy…

… unless you give them the suggestion.

Like it or not, sometimes people just need a little nudge – after all, we all end up tired and unfocused, from time to time.

Your being there with a question, request, or call to action, might be the difference.

Why this matters?

Because it’s hard work getting traffic to your site.

And if they visit and they don’t find what they want at that particular moment, they might leave and be gone forever.

Which makes your time and money investment in getting traffic a loss.

So, always invite people to do something next.

And the most useful next thing to do, when a person hears about you?

Them giving you permission to stay in touch.

Ideally, getting people on your email list.

But think further, think beyond that.

For example, last week at the art walk, I was talking to an artist, who said a visitor that morning said she wanted to buy the painting he was working on, and would be back later.

“So did you finish it?”

“Yes”, he told me.

“So you’re going to call her to come pick it up”.

He blushed: “I’m not a very good student of yours, Martin. I didn’t ask for her number or email address. I just hope she returns”.

My hear sank: what a missed opportunity.

All he would have had to do, is say: “If you give me your phone number, I’ll text you a picture once it’s done”.

The perfect ‘this next’ given the context, don’t you think?

Good chance she’d have agreed and given her number.

Which doesn’t guarantee a sale, but it sure gives you more opportunity than having no way to stay in touch.

Watch people, listen to them, observe closely: they always get to a point where they’re open to a suggested action.

When they get there, don’t miss your opportunity.

Online or offline: tell them what next.

Like so, for instance:

If you want to have your website get more subscribers or buyers, I’ll create a custom optimisation report for you.

Next, go here to get it, if you know you could get more results from your traffic –>



Art Makes Many People Rich. So Why Not Artists?

The other day, after I posted the interview with Mark McGuinness, a new reader writes in:


To be truthful, I was skeptical about you and your page, thinking: This is another person who wants to profit from art, just like so many gallerists, framers, shippers, storagers, museums, etc.

It amazes me how so many people want to profit from art, and still think that artists don’t have the right to do so.

Art really does provide a living for many. Why not artists?


Wow, so very to the point.

If you look at the world, you’ll see rows of people who are involved in the art industry, and who make a fine living or even a fine fortune…

But if you look closely, you’ll see there are far more people who are not artists who get to make a living, then there are artists.

At least, I think so. I haven’t done any research.

But there’s framers, gallerists, printers and canvas makers, there’s Winsor & Newton and FineArtAmerica, curators, musea with employees on payroll, agents and collectors, you’ve got your UPS shipping canvases and sculpture and let’s not forget, the government earning taxes on everything gets sold…

In other words, the fullscale industry that makes the art industry possible earns millions of people a living.

So why not artists?

Last time I checked, buying a Tesla is more easily achieved owning a gallery or building an online art sales platform, than it is being an artist.

And that just ain’t right.

Sing, dance, paint, write. Just live, for all I care – it doesn’t matter to me what your art is, as long as you live if at the top of your lungs.

And, earn a decent or even very fine living doing it.

So if my favourite ‘the world needs more art, you deserve to live well’ hasn’t rung true with you so far, try this one on for size:

Everyone else is making a living with art.

So why not you?

You’re an artist.

Why not you?



SHOCKING Exploitation of Artists…? (You’d Get Only Ten Percent of Sales!)

One of my coaching clients is working hard trying to find the best way to get her artwork printed on objects.

Clothing, pillows, canvases, etc – which sounds like easy, given the many Print on Demand companies on the internet.

But so far, none of the platforms is right for her purposes though.

So last week, she forwards me an email from yet another POD company.

“Is this a good deal?” she asks.

I recognise the company: they pitched me too.

I know – weird, right?

I’m not even a professional artist – all I’ve done is I started uploading my photos to Instagram.

They probably have a system in place that automatically sends emails to people when they do that, I don’t know.

Anyway, my client asked so I went to investigate.

Now this company handles all printing and shipping, so that sounds like a pretty sweet arrangement.

But… they only pay the artist a trifling ten percent of net sales.

Shocking, yes.

So, I write an email to the company: “What is that about, why would I or my clients use your service?

“At ten percent of net sales, the artist is getting the short end of the stick”.

The next day, a reply:

“We researched the industry, and 10% is the industry standard”.

Makes me wonder what industry that is: the one where savvy business people capitalise on exploiting artists?

Shameful, is what it is.

The reply also contained the remark that their service:

“…covers all of the manufacturing, page creation, ordering, packaging, charity donations, etc.”

Oh very nice. Plenty of places online where I can get that done, and get 50% or probably more.

And here’s the kicker:

It says nothing about actually handling the sales, or attracting buyers, or actually getting stuff sold.

Which probably means the artist is responsible for building an audience, getting traffic to the vendor website, and… putting 90% of the money in the site
owner’s pocket.

But you know what the biggest disgrace is?

Without you, the artist, that company wouldn’t even have a business.

Without artists creating stuff that people want to own, they’d have nothing to sell.

So yeah, I think it’s a pretty crap deal, and I’d never work with a company like that.

Maybe in some industries it’s a normal deal.

Maybe licensing works that way, I’m not an expert.

But I don’t like it, not in a setup where traffic and sales are not THE primary purpose and effort of the company.

Just like a gallery: I’d be happy to have them sell my photos and take 50% for it – but they’d BETTER work damn hard and clever to make those sales

Ah well.

In the end, you don’t even have to go with companies like that, or indeed with galleries.

You can have your own list, your own marketing, and your own sales.

With 100% of revenue going to you, instead of a slice.

The best way to do it?

Ok, simple steps:

1: Get people on your email list, by asking them in person and online (and give them a free gift in return)

2: Relentlessly communicate with them. Once a day, once a week, whatever you want, but be consistent

3: Don’t be shy: be in business instead. AKA: ask for the sale

Repeat steps 1 to 3 until your list is big enough to earn you however much you want to earn.

Bonus: in the meantime, you’ll start to have conversations with your subscribers, and build relationships, create fans and ambassadors…

In other words: the professional part of your business will become more social and fulfilling.

Marketing will become fun, because it will humanise itself more and more.

And you can’t beat that.

One on one writing training, for those who want to get serious about email marketing, is here –>



Clients Handed to You On a Silver Platter (Oh the Temerity of Entitlement)

There are people who think that the world owes them success.

That just because their work or their art is high quality, people should simply flock to them and pour cash over them.

But (and if you know me, you also know I’m good for a few harsh truths) that just doesn’t work.

You’re not owed success or wealth, no matter how good you are.

Back when we still had VCRs, Betamax was way better than VHS, but VHS won and became the standard, quality or no.

The story behind that is long and convoluted and has nothing to do with art, so let’s take Van Gogh as an example.

Good art, no?

Earned him nothing though, and he’s not the only artist in history who never got famous until after passing away.

If you want success as an artist, you’ll have to work for it.

You’ll need to earn it.

The quality of your art, that’s part of earning it.

But it’s not enough, not by itself.

You’ll have to get out there and get seen too.

In a sense, you can call that marketing – and I completely understand if that’s not what you want to be doing.

But seen differently, marketing your art is an act of service.

It’s a way to bring your vision of beauty, inspiration, or meaning, into the world.

And when you do that, you make the world a slightly better place.

Whether you sell or not, you do get to put something meaningful in front of people who just might feel better because of it.

And that in a nutshell is how you earn your success.

Because, like the poet and author Mark McGuinness told me when I interviewed him:

Artists perform an important public service.

So if you haven’t listened to it yet, please do.

It’ll change the way you see yourself, your world, and your place in it.

Not to mention the importance of your art and the solid fact that you deserve to earn well for it.

Listen to it here, if you haven’t yet –>



Tell Me If This Hurts

Sometimes, people tell me “I don’t have time to do any marketing”.

Whenever I hear that, I wonder: If that’s the case, then do you actually want to sell your work?

I know, this is harsh.

But if you want to build a living for yourself, as a self-employed and independent individual, you need to make tough choices.

In fact, the very decision to go it alone is a very tough choice – if not in the sense of deciding it, then certainly in terms of sticking with it.

So if that’s you, then you have my respect.

But beyond that, there’s also the very real fact that you can only build your enterprise into a success if you’re willing to face your demons.

You know, the little voices inside your head…

The ones that tell you the pie isn’t big enough…

… that you’re not worthy…

… that others have it better and are more lucky than you…

… that you’ll never manage to compete with other artists and become successful…

… that – worst of all – you can’t…

Because here’s a truth:

Whether you think you can or think you can’t: you’re right.

And this isn’t some airy-fairy new age thinking.

It’s solid fact, and it comes to you courtesy of the world of positive psychology.

Because that lump of grey matter you carry around, that’s a massively powerful tool.

But, only if you use it right, and most people don’t.

Myself included, but at the very least I’m trying and (hopefully getting better at it).

What I’ve learned so far might help you:

You need to pay attention to the way you think, because how you think determines your actions, and they in turn cause your results.

Your results confirm the way you were thinking in the first place, and hoopla:

The self-fulfilling prophesy is born.

But if you start to pay attention to that thinking, once you become aware of the nature of your constant internal dialogue, you can start to change it.

When you do that, you’ll start to choose differently, act differently, and you will start to see different consequences in your life.

And then?

Then those new observations and opportunities and happenings will confirm that – holy crap! – once you change your thinking, your external reality confirms that you’re right, that it’s a good thing to think differently.

And thus, you start to fulfill a different prophesy.

Again, this is simple human psychology.

And, it works if only you give it a serious, committed try.

This is why, when coaching people, I like to challenge them on their beliefs.

It’s so very useful to experience a different viewpoint and test it.

And it can be so easy – provided you dare to let go of what you’ve always thought of as true.

So I dare you, I challenge you:

Are you willing to change, really change – from the inside out and on into your world?



Art Marketing Expert Interview 4: Feed Your Art, With Mark McGuinness


In today’s interview, I’m talking with author, coach and poet Mark McGuinness.

Now there’s an artist who actually knows how to run the business side of things.

Mark has authored several books, the latest being Motivation for Creative People – How to stay creative while gaining money, fame and reputation – which is a terrifically inspiring read, and you can get it right here (highly recommended –  it’s a good one!).

But, there’s more to Mark, because he’s got a thoroughly wholesome view on the economics of being a professional artist.

So in this interview, you’ll hear me grill him about… yes, money.

Specifically, why artists deserve to earn money for their work, and:

•    Why there’s actually something self-involved behind not wanting to earn more

•    How you can experience a different reality if you let go of your beliefs

•    Suppose you had the belief that you could be happy and financially comfortable, and create even better art – what would that be like?

•    Mark says test it, and you’ll hear Mark’s simple trick for taking that test

•    Take it from an artist like Mark: we create for love, but we need to keep feeding the art  too

•    You’ll hear Mark’s tip for setting prices, which he calls ‘emotional pricing’

•    Why Mark agrees with me that as an artist, as someone who performs an important public service, you absolutely deserve to earn well

•    The thing about money: think of it as paint for the walls. It’s just stuff you need in order to do the job – think of it that way and you don’t have to do any emotional agonising about it

•    And when it comes to pricing, it’s not about the hours you put in, or the effort. After all, the value of materials in the MOMA is much lower than the prices. Listen to this interview
to discover what should really determine your prices

•    To put it differently: it’s not about you or the suffering you put in, but about the other person

•    People have all kinds of reasons to buy art – and you as the artist can’t even know what the criteria are that go into the decision

•    And as I always say: selling art is about the conversation

•    Here’s an interesting thought: You as an artist, don’t know the magic aura that you have for people

•    The story (your story) is in some ways as important as the actual art

•    When you have those conversations, you’re helping the potential buyer to understand what they’re looking at and to see things in it that they didn’t see before

•    Don’t put pressure on yourself to sell – instead, get into conversations – that by itself often naturally leads to a sale

•    You’ll hear Mark’s biggest piece of advice for artists

•    And the most important question: what does your art need?

This interview was a real eye-opener for me – I definitely recommend you listen to it carefully.



“Are You an Artist Too?” – “No, I Work”

That’s an actual conversation I had last week during the Competa Art Walk.

The husband – a very skilled painter – was sat, busily working on a very detailed piece, and his wife stood by the table.

And she just casually dismissed ‘being an artist’ as ‘not work’.

Now to be fair, it was a tongue-in-cheek remark, and I doubt it caused a domestic dispute that night, but still…

It’s an attitude that far too many people have.

Artists and non-artists alike, in fact.

The idea that it’s not work, to create art and build a living around making things.

When in reality, being an entrepreneur of any kind is harder work than having a job.

Especially if your entrepreneurship revolves around actual creation.

It’s comparatively easy to, say, design websites or to write articles for a living.

I used to do it: clients would brief me on copy for their website, I’d do the research, and hammer-hammer-hammer went my fingers on the keyboard.

Also work, but incomparable to the process and business of making ART.

To me, you artist guys are brilliant, all of you.

You have all my respect, and you deserve it too.

And, in case you find it difficult: you deserve a whole bunch of self-respect too.

Like Mark McGuinness told me in the interview I’ll publish today or tomorrow:

As an artist you render an important public service.

And, you deserve to be paid well for it.

So think about that.

Whether making your art is work or play to you, being a professional at it is every bit as respectable as having a ‘regular job’.

And don’t let anyone tell you different.

Hey, and if you’re not yet getting paid as well as you want or deserve?

Then maybe your website needs some help.

Specifically, in terms of tweaking it in order to convert visitors into subscribers and buyers.

Too often I see beautiful artist websites, where it’s all form, but no function.

But form and function should support each other, not compete.

Neither of the two should be put second place.

So if you want me to give you a full 2-page report custom written to help you keep the form and design, but improve function?

Then go here and get a custom site optimisation report –>



You Did WHAT to Your Prices?

The art walk has been walked, the artists have returned home, and in some cases, good money has been made.

In other cases, not such good money, and in some cases none.

But what a spectacular event.

So fantastic to see artists pitch together, support and uplift each other, joined in a communal effort.

And, yes, kudos to Lieuwke Loth who put it all together.

Brilliant example too of the abundance mindset:

Where some people see others as competition, the people at this event – consciously or not – acted from the notion that ‘the rising tide lifts all ships’.

Anyway, got something to contemplate for you today:

I asked one of the artists if she’s happy with her prices.

“Well… I’m not sure. I think I should go at 50% of the gallery prices.

“Makes it more attractive for the buyers, and since I don’t have to split the sale with any galleries…”

Ah yes… but does it really work that way?

First of all, if a gallery buyer finds that he could have gotten your work at 50% off, I wouldn’t blame him for being upset.

Secondly, think for a moment about what a gallery does – the very thing they take their 30 or 50% for…

They take that cut because they work for it (no, I’m not against galleries per se – I just don’t like the fact most of them own your list).

The work a gallery does is renting premises, hosting events, doing marketing, and… talking to potential buyers.

Like them or not, a gallery that sells your work does work for it.

But if you’re at a show, guess who’s doing the talking?

That’s right, you are.

And spending one or more days at a show is tiring, I saw it with my own eyes.

Then there’s your travel expenses, and your time in preparation and travel, not to mention time at a show – all time that you can’t produce your work.

So basically, if you slash your prices just because you’re selling without a middleman, it might make sense.

No middleman you need to pay.



Guess who’s also not getting paid?


I’m not saying what you should do (for a change).

But I do want you to think about your prices long and hard, next time you’re spending your hard earned cash and valuable time to be at a show.

Oh, and hey: here’s another thing to think about…

Teaming up with other artists, in order to share networks and build something bigger than the sum of the parts.

Remember, the pie is big enough for everyone – scarcity can only exist in your mind.

The many success stories you hear about prove it.

Another tip?

Alright, since you asked:


Don’t be dependent on only galleries, but create your own permission based email list.

And if you already have a list of a few hundred or even a few thousand people, and you want them to buy your work?

Well, then you hire me to teach you email marketing, of course.

Details right there –>



She Took ONE of My Tips and Sold SIX Paintings in a Day…!

***Note: If you’ve sent me an email or bought from me in the last few days: my computer crashed which means I can’t access all my email accounts. Please bear with me until then, and I’ll get back to you ASAP, thanks.***

Had a thoroughly interesting and satisfying run-in with an artist yesterday.

She attended my art marketing masterclass last month, and told me this:

“It was brilliant, and what’s more…

“I implemented just one thing of all the advice you gave:

“To talk about my process.

“Guess what happened?

“I sold SIX paintings on the first day of the Competa Art Walk!

“Just because I started telling people about my process.

“Thank you!”

Obviously, I was well pleased:

I just LOVE implementation and the results it brings.

Not that I was surprised, mind you: this kind of advice is universal for anyone who runs any sort of creative business.

When they say “People buy the artist as well as the art”, that’s no joke.

Buyers want to know you, connect with you, share in your experience and taste your inspiration.

And the fact that it’s harder every day to get into galleries, that only makes your life easier.

Because without a gallery, there’s no middle-man running the conversation on your behalf.

Without a gallery, it’s you the artist, facing them the buyer.

Which gives you a beautiful opportunity to let people into your world, to share and to inspire them.

Whether offline at a show, or online with your mailing list, you have the privilege and opportunity to start direct, one on one conversations with people.

And if you want to sell your art, you could do worse than to grab that opportunity and have those conversations.

When you do, your buyers will thank you for it.

And, they’ll be far more likely to buy your work.

So if you want to do what this artist did, and also increase your sales, the link below is where you can get instant access to the full 2,5 hour masterclass.

I’m not going to twist your arm – it’s all up to your whether you want to learn the strategies that work for others.

But I’m rather convinced that if you watch the videos and you actually put the learnings into practice, you’ll see a massive change in your thinking, your communications, and very likely in your sales as well.

Ready to have your mind filled with tested and effective art marketing advice?

Go here, open the tap, and let the knowledge pour into your brain –>



How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Unsubscribes

Last night there was a live performance in Lieuwke’s gallery.

A British singer/songwriter, who picks his guitar as if he’s making love – and the way he sings hits you right in the feelz.

Really impressive.

Chatting with him afterwards, he tells me that he’s got a mailing list of 10.000 people!

I pick my jaw up from the floor, and ask him if he actually sends his list any updates.

Tells me that yes he does, but every time he mails about a new concert or other news, people unsubscribe, and that it really hurts him to see that.

“You’ve got to be careful and not email too often, that’s the problem”.

So I tell him: “But what if I told you I email my list every single day, sometimes even two or three times a day…

“… and instead of unsubscribing, my readers actually love me for it?

“… that people thank me for writing each day, and that sometimes people tell me things like ‘you’re a blessing in my life’…?”

His turn to drop his jaw, hehe.

But it’s true.

You (and he) can totally get away with emailing your list frequently.

Not only that, the more often you send missives, the stronger the connection with your list will become.

And even more than that, the more often you write the more of your work you’ll sell.

Sure, people advise you to only email every once in a while.

But most of the time, the people dishing out that advice only send emails when they’re selling something.

And yeah, if the sole reason for emailing is to get buyers (or bums in seats at a show) then of course people will unsubscribe in droves.

But if you look at the emails that I send (or other people who really get how to do email marketing right), you’ll see that it’s not about selling.

Of course I’ll have something available for purchase, just like anyone who operates a business.

But the first and most important reason and purpose for these emails is to deliver something valuable to my readers.

Teaching, inspiration, motivation, a new way to look at something, or sometimes simply a bit of entertainment or instructional self-mockery…

I write so that you may benefit.

Plain and simple.

And it’s only by virtue of that purpose, that I try to earn permission to write each day and, yes, offer something for sale.

So what I want you to take away from today’s message is that so long as your mission is to improve your reader’s life in some way or other, you can totally write frequently.

Once a week, once a day, whatever.

Write so they may benefit.

And of course, there will always be people who unsubscribe.

Especially at the start, you’ll see a spike in unsubscribes.

But that will only last a few days, and then it levels off and you’ll find that unsubscribe rates actually go down.

I’ve seen that happen with  every single student I’ve had.

And those people who do leave?

Not to worry.

If they’re not interested in you or your work, or if they are upset that – God forbid – you want to sell your work, why do you want them on your list anyway?

Write for your reader’s benefit, and you’ll earn the permission to pitch.

This stuff works, you know.

And believe you me: it’s intensely fulfilling to start each day with the mission to shine a light into your reader’s day.

And, yes, you can totally do that.

And, if you don’t know how?

Why, then you get me to train you on writing emails for fun, relationships, sales, and yes: profit.

It’s a 3-month intensive training, where you commit to drafting an email every day.

Once a week I review one of those emails, line by line, and send you back instructions on how to make it better.

12 weeks, 12 reviews – and 60 pieces on your hard drive that get better as each week goes by.

By the time you graduate from Starship Mentorprise writing academy, you’ll be unstoppable.

You’ll churn out highly engaging, art-selling emails with absolute ease, before you even finish your morning coffee.

You’ll see your list clean up and leave you with only the people who really want to hear from you, just like my previous students saw happen.

You’ll receive thank yous and kudos, and yes, provided you keep your list growing, you’ll receive money for your work too.

But, a writing mentorship is only for people who are serious about training their abilities to communicate.

If you want to sell more of your work…

And you’re a stick-with-the-program kinda gal or guy…

Then go here to enlist my help –>



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