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

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

Oh, the Places I’ll Go…

Don’t know about you, but I’m EXCITED about the new year.

Pumped, as the American colloquialism goes.

I have no idea what’s all going to happen, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot and a lot of fun.

See, all that stuff I wrote in the December LEAP about habits, planning, strategy and so on, I’m putting that to use.

I’m building and fortifying habits, creating new products, recording and publishing art marketing expert interviews, creating ebooks and planning live seminars…

There’s a new website (still with a few broken bits and bobs, but that’s getting fixed) and there’s even a new logo.


Cute, no?

That one was made by Emma Plunkett, who with her partner also builds websites.

And as an artist herself (plus a real good designer) she knows what an artist website should look like.

If ever you need a new site, or work done on your current site, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

But yes.

It’s going to be an exciting year.

And if not for all the new plans and projects, it’s because of this:

I’m no longer busy.

Used to be, I was always very busy.

Or at least, I thought so.

In reality, I procrastinated on all kinds of things, which only made me feel busy.

But now I have a coach who’s keeping track of my progress, and procrastination, that old but deceiving friend, is long long gone.

I’m no longer busy, but I work harder than ever before.

Progress. It rocks.

Credit goes to systems and habits.

Yes yes, it’s going to be a fun year.

Lots of interesting stuff, including a special book that Anook and I are going to make.

Especially for artists, and not for reading.

A very special book, for special artists.

Details to be revealed at a later date.

Oh, why do I tease you so?

Cuz I can, maybe.

Anyway, if you’re reading this on my blog and you’re not subscribed, you might want to do so now.

Otherwise, if you already are and you want to learn how to get free publicity and do outreach like a pro, get on board for the January LEAP.

It’s going to show you how you can get bums in seats and viewers at your shows, in the real work.

Signup is here –>



Do This: Simple ‘Trick’ to Get Journos and Influencers to Your Art Show

Some things are so simple that you don’t even think about it.

So today, let me give you a tip that just might get you high attendance for your next show, and with a bit of luck it’ll get you press as well.

And, it’ll hardly cost you any time or effort.

Two concepts to work with:

1: Other people’s audience and

2: What are you for?

See, I spoke to an artist yesterday.

She’s having a solo show in a few weeks, and obviously she needs bums in seats.

But her own list is quite small, and Facebook only gives you so much reach.

So I told her this:

“Your art is about children, education, and the way we adults influence the child during their formative years.

“I know for a genuine fact that you’re not the only one who’s interested in those things.

“There will be bloggers, authors, journalists, editors, radiomakers and podcasters and filmographers, all with the same focus.

“These people all have their own audience.

“And that means they’ll want to find new material ongoingly, to communicate with that audience.

“And you, your art and your show: you are new material.

“So what you do is spend a few hours googling, and create a list of people who work with the same topic, who have a reasonable sized audience, and who seem approachable.

“Then you write a template email that tells them you like their work, that your work has overlap and why, and that you’re about to have an exhibition.

“You explain why you feel their audience might be interested, and you invite them to the opening, while also telling them that you’re open to doing an interview.

“You slightly modify the email for each person, adding in comments that show you’ve actually seen their work, and you hit send.

“Do that 30 or 40 times, and it’s entirely likely that you’ll get three or four people to reply.

“Probably even more.

“And suddenly, you are in front not only of your own audience, but theirs as well.”

And that’s how you use your ‘why’, the thing your art is for, combined with Other People’s Audience, in order to get more visibility for your work.

And if you want to have that email template ready and written?

Then sign up for the next LEAP, because it’s included and ready to use in your own marketing.

Along with a whole lot more tips for getting more of your art seen and sold in the coming year.

Sign up here –>




Am I Really That Crazy?

I don’t know, you tell me.

I’m in Africa, never been here before, meeting people and seeing things and having a tremendous time…

And yet, I’m working.

Wtf Martin, are you really that crazy?

Is there no offtime for you?

Oh yes, there sure is.

But there’s a couple of good reasons why I’m still
working, even if it’s only my daily email and a replying to the most urgent emails that come in.

For one thing, to show you something, namely: business goes on, even if you’re on holidays.

Which doesn’t mean you can’t take time off – just that you need to make sure you have things in place to keep working while you’re not working.

For me, that’s the daily email.

That’s something so easy and so fast, now that I’ve been doing it for almost two years, that it literally takes me less than 20 minutes a day.

So I don’t consider it work – rather, it’s maintenance activity.

Aside from that, there’s the fact that yes, business goes on even if I’m not working.

Sure it would be fun to just completely disconnect, have 100% downtime while I’m away.

But actually?

I don’t want to.

Not fully.

Because I’m in the business of being a fixture in your life, and that doesn’t just stop when I stop.

Of course I could have pre-written my dailies, and scheduled them to go out automatically.

But that’s not how I work.

These emails, they’re baked fresh daily.

Pre-writing them just wouldn’t be the same.

For you, perhaps – you might not notice the difference.

But it’s exactly this ‘getting down to it daily’ that is the core of my work.

And that’s why I’d rather miss the odd one out, like last week, instead of having them all pre-written and set up for send in advance.

I need to stay in this groove, you see.

It’s how I work, how I live my life.

And then there’s another thing, something I need to show you.

And it’s really really important.

See, right now I’m at the Rabat train station, and our train to Fes is delayed.

Well ain’t that just perfect?

I had no idea what I was going to write today, had not had a chance yet, and whoops: suddenly there’s a 40 minute void in my day.

What better to do than to grab my laptop and rap out a little message to you?

It’s perfect.

And that’s another lesson today: you might be really busy.

I believe it when you say your days are frigging full.

But even in days like that, you’ll find small slots, tiny spaces of vacuum.

And to be more effective and more efficient in your art business, it’s exactly a matter of making use of those when you have the chance, that you get to put in small but important bits.

Could be jotting down a writing idea in a notebook.

Maybe a quick sketch of something you want to paint.

Reviewing your calendar, or perhaps simply tweeting a bit while standing in line at the supermarket.

There’s more time in the day than you think.

And while those slots might seem like downtime, they usually aren’t because you feel unproductive.

That’s why I prefer to use those.

That way, I get to have more, and actual, offtime – which means I enjoy it more and I get more rest from it.

Your mileage may vary.

But I say it’s worth your time (get it?) to look at it, and see how you treat your time.

Anyway, learn the ins and outs of this kind of thinking for your business, in the monthly LEAP newsletter –>



Blame Game vs Ownership: "It's Because of the Crisis!"

A vernissage last Friday, some very interesting abstract work in a small Danish gallery.

Talking to one of the visitors – herself a painter – she laments:

“Used to be my work sold really well, all through galleries.

“But it’s because of the crisis, that’s when everything fell to pieces and sales were decimated”.

I see what she means but it’s not how things work.

Sure, things were easier in the past.

And yes, the economy broke the back of many a business – art and otherwise.

But let me ask you this: If you’re out for a walk and it starts to rain, do you just let it rain on you?

Or do you flip open your umbrella…?

When traffic clogs up ahead of you, do you just motor on without slowing down?

If the cheese in your fridge has gone off, do you eat it anyway?

Of course not.

Any sensible person will react to change, and adjust their own attitude or actions to match the new status quo.

Of course it’s a pity when external circumstances reduce the output of what you’ve carefully built up.

But it’s going to happen sooner or later, one way or another.

Life is composed of an endless series of changes.

And your life in it is composed of an endless series of choices.

When things change, you have the option to choose to change as well.

When you do, you keep moving.

If you don’t, things stagnate, and you end up stuck longing for the good old days.

I say listen to life, and adjust your actions and strategies to what life presents you with.

When sales drop, choose to own your business, and learn what you need to know in order to crank them up again.

That’s how you build and sustain a business.

Here’s a strategy for you to consider: learning how the psychology of your buyer works, and what methods of exposure and communication work for you and your art business.

And here’s a choice to consider: signing up for the LEAP art marketing newsletter, so that you learn exactly that, and more.

More information here –>



Art Marketing Interview With JohnnyBTruant of the SelfPublishingPodcast


Alrighty, so here’s the interview with JohnnyBTruant, about writing as a marketing tool for artists.

This is the first one in a series, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a looong long series of interviews.

In this one, you’ll hear:

•    Why Johnny thinks writing – or some sort of content creation – is essential for artists

•    The reason people need to know about you and not just your art

•    Why a little bit of egocentricity is unavoidable for artists, and why that’s not a bad thing at all

•    Why talking about yourself is simply an extension of your art and your belief that it should be out there in the world (you do believe that, don’t you, artist?)

•    Why you can talk about what you do – and what Johnny observed about how interesting that is to people.

•    Why art is in a way like telepathy, and you can’t control the message people receive. BUT you can control the context of the message (You paint a picture with words but they perceive it through their own lens)

•    What traffic can do for traffic and visibility, and what Johnny and the SPP boys learned from their blogging experiment

•    Why writing isn’t the only way to attract attention and traffic

•    Why the artist John Unger does what Austin Kleon teaches: show your work

•    Why you must target people who are interested and why you must be always find ways to be relevant to them

•    Why you can easily talk about yourself, so long as you keep it tied to them.

•    Why you should give people a reason why they should care

•    Why transparency is so important

•    Why you must be explicit about inviting people to take action after they read or watch you

•    Be yourself: stop trying to sound like someone else, that’s when you find your own voice

•    Why for self-publishing books you absolutely must publish more than one book

•    Why in nearly all cases it’s a bad idea to design your own book cover

•    Why you should write faster in order to silence the internal critic, and how this enables Johnny to publish 1,5 million words each year.

•    Resist the temptation to go back and make it better

•    An experiment I’m running with a painter friend who writes about his paintings and what Johnny thinks of it

This is a good one. Don’t miss it.

Some Artists I Just Can't Help

Kitty Harri, for example.

That chick, she don’t need no help.

Yesterday I visited her in her sculpture garden.

I was blown away.

One terrace after another, filled with fantastic and beautiful sculptures.

All kinds of styles, artists, nationalities, meanings – it was breathtaking.

Originally from Sweden, she’s lived in many countries and done many things – from psychotherapy to sculpture, and on the way she became a bestselling novelist.

Current project: two 7-meter totem poles.

Talk about guts and grit.

I’m going to have to call her and ask if she wants to do an interview, because there’s a lot we can all learn from her.

See if I can pry the secret of her success out of her.

My crystal ball though tells me I already know: persistence mixed with adaptability.

Oh, and hard work: she is just unstoppable.

But I’ll let her tell me for herself.

Meanwhile, do pay her a visit if you’re ever in the Costa Tropical area, and see the sculpture garden for yourself.

There’s nothing like contemplating art and life while looking at a sculpture called ‘The Universe’, consisting of a 5 by 4 meter slab of Indian marble and a tiny figurine eyeing it.

You pluck an apple from the tree beside you, and chew on it and your thoughts.

Sure is good to be back in the world.

What an experience.

Meanwhile, here’s another kind of experience: Being turned into a highly proficient email writer, and selling your art that way.

That experience awaits you on the other side of this click –>



7AM, Staggering Home Like a Drunken Hobo

But I hadn’t had a drop to drink.

C’mon – 7AM?

I’d not been on any all-night bender either – I had simply been out on my morning walk.

Problem was, the day before I had taken a walk on the pebble beach at around 4PM.

And I don’t know if ever you’ve been to Andalusia, but things get HOT here.

Especially the pebbles on the beach.

Sure it felt refreshing once I’d crossed the beach and reached the surf, and yes I’d practically done ballet getting over there.

But I had no idea I had worked up blisters the size of my thumb on the soles of my feet.

I only discovered that later on.

So obviously my feet were quite painful the next morning.

But a walk in the morning is what I do, and there has to be some pretty damn compelling reason for me to skip it.

Wanna know why?

Because it’s good for me.

Because if, like last Sunday, I don’t go, my entire day is off.

It’s something that has become part of my day, and it must. be. done.

Blisters or no.

Or, in the words of the great philosopher John Rambo:

“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”.

The reason I’m telling you this:

Sometimes, you don’t feel like it.

Some days, you just want to slack off.

Give it a miss, do something else, get to it tomorrow.

Like writing a daily email: you may have noticed that last Monday, there was no missive.

And it’s bothered me all week, like a pebble in your shoe.

Today, I also had ‘stuff’ going on.

Which is why I’m writing this so late in the day.

But it’s something I do, and must do, and here we are.


What about you?

What are the things that you skimp on, especially the things that you know are good for you?

What do you do to make sure you do do them?

Cheers, happy weekend.


Eyes Wide Shutter

I’ve never noticed exactly how much vegetation actually bursts out in blossoms here on the coast, in May.

It’s amazing: the colours, the shapes, the sheer tenacity of things clinging to the side of a rock, broiling in blistering heat – yet flowering.

One reason I started to notice could be that it was only last year that I developed a habit of going for walks.

But that wouldn’t really make sense – I did go out often enough, just never noticed.

Maybe this year I noticed because I walk different routes, instead of to the supermarket and back.

Or, it could be because I started experimenting, taking photos.

It’s really odd though:

It’s not just the flowers.

It’s the very way I look at the world – it’s changing.

The more I look for views and details that inspire me to whip out my phone and snap a shot, the more I see things.

Shapes. Colours. Lines. Spaces. Harmony.

It’s very different these days, to walk along the beach or through the narrow streets.

Quite a beautiful experience.

So yeah, I um, I’ve decided I want to be an artist.

And no: while there’s no sane person in the world who would say Martin is devoid of arrogance, I’m not about to call myself a photographer. I know my place.

Nor do I have the inclination to become one, or learn what it takes.

All I want to do is develop a habit of looking, of seeing in a different way, and to record things that inspire me.

In other words, I’m giving myself permission to not be a pro, and to not sell.

I’m doing this for its own sake, for my own enjoyment, and for the one or two people who might come across a pic on Twitter and say ‘Hey, nice one’.

Maybe one day I’ll give myself permission to become Really Very Good.

Permission to sell.

But not today.

Today I just want to enjoy the process, notice the scenery.

Smell the flowers.

I have permission for just that without anything more.

Just like you have permission to not sell, and to simply enjoy making art.

You don’t HAVE to sell.

But if you want to, and if you want to be successful, you have permission for that too.

Question is, are you willing to learn to love selling and marketing and being in business as an artist?

What’s that?

You are?

Hey now, then why not LEAP? –>



Why I'm About to Turn Down a $2000 Gig

martin_091b“Martin, how much for a handmade suit?”

A phone call, last Friday.

A British gent in Marbella – we were in touch way back when, in my tailoring days.

Friendly man, runs a business real estate business.

I explain that actually I don’t have my tailoring company any longer.

He presses on: “But do you still make suits?”

“Very occasionally, and I’m very picky about the kind of job I take on”.

I’m just short of telling him that if I stitch at all these days, I take it as a work of art.

That in reality, the only work I do at a sewing machine these days is for my former abbot or his assistants.

“But how much would it be, if you would take on the job?”

Clearly, the man knows sales. Clever, that ‘would’.

“2000 Euros”, I tell him, and he goes “Oh, that’s fine”.

“But”, I tell him, I’m not sure. I have to think about it. It would take a lot of time away from my current work”.

Mentally, I calculate how many podcasts and webinars I can study during the 100 hours a suit would take. I’d learn a lot, and get paid for my time too. Not a lot, but still.

Part of me is decided: NO. Stay focused.

Another part says: “It’s money, Martin. And you tell everyone you miss tailoring. And you could treat it as art, instead of work”.

Oh the dilemmas we face, right?

As my abbot used to say: “Choices… life is all about choices”.

And so I’ve made my choice: I’m not doing it.

If Mr. Marbella phones back, I’ll decline.

Because yes, I’d love the work. Truly.

But I am focused, I’m building a new business, I’m here to help artists. Not to make art.

Besides, there are plenty of things I don’t get around to as it is.

My novel, for example.

Or the 3-part art-marketing manual I want to co-author with Helen Aldous over at Artonomy.

So, no.

I want to stay right here, work with artists, and serve you guys with daily emails and the best possible newsletter I can write.

Maybe once the April newsletter is ready next week, I’ll take a day off to put together some nice linen trousers for myself, to ease the pain.

The moral of the story?

Temptations abound.

Money gets offered, shiny new objects appear and boy are they tantalising.

Opportunities arise, and wouldn’t you just LOVE to jump in?

Sometimes it’s a good idea, other times it isn’t.

But I think that focus and concentration win every time.


I’m going to focus on the Twitter issue of the newsletter.

Which you can get here –>

Catch you later.



Act With Confidence: Let Me Show You How It's Done

Scaffolding of the next LEAP, ready to fill in…

Last night, Jimmy and I did a little test drive for this week’s upcoming call, during which I’ll answer questions from last week’s survey.

I found it… difficult.

Unnerving, actually.

I mean, usually I’m not easily lost for words.

But with a camera staring at me, it wasn’t quite the same.

I felt self-conscious: aware of my um’s and ah’s, my stammering, my looking off-screen while thinking…

Not at all the kind of ‘professional webinar’ type stuff that other people make.

And if it were completely up to me, I’d probably skip it and write something instead.

But, that takes a lot of time (just the 16 pages of LEAP take anywhere from 5 to 8 days each month).

And I just don’t want you to wait until I have enough time for that.

Besides, my intention isn’t to produce a highly polished, professional looking, semi-informational-but-50%-sales-pitch event for you.

I want to answer your questions, as many as I can, as fast as I can.

So with the help of Jimmy I’m just going to go ahead and do it, whether I’m confident or not.

Whether I feel like it, or not.

And to be completely honest, I don’t 100% feel like it.

But guess what?

That matters nought.

So to make sure I actually do it, I’m telling you about it in advance.

What can I say? I know myself…

Anyway, that will be next Friday.

Will I answer all questions?

Probably not, since we have one hour but I have 15+ pages of questions.

Besides, I simply don’t know all the answers. Nobody does.

But anything that I can answer, I will.

And whether I feel confident that it’ll turn out right, I’ll do what Seth Godin preaches:

Ship it. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, go here to get on board LEAP in time –>
Only a few days left to get the email marketing instructional…



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