“When Creating Art, Buyers and Sales Should Be the Furthest Thing From Your Mind!”

Thus spake an artist friend the other day.

And while I commend the integrity of the statement, I do have my doubts.

Before I go on, do note that I have little authority to issue an opinion on the matter, given that I’m not a professional artist myself.

But here goes anyway, less pontifically than normal.

To start with, there’s the question ‘when creating WHAT?’

If, say, you design T-Shirts, or postcards, or you’re a portrait artist on the street, then obviously you want to sell them.

Which logically means you’ll need to ask yourself if people will want to buy it.

But actually, the more I think about this, the more I disagree with my friend.

Here’s the deal: it all comes down to your own integrity as an artist.

And to me that means that choosing to make something that you know buyers will pick up isn’t necessarily wrong.

Or think of it like this: You make art for the love of it.

And you sell it for the money.

Anything wrong with that?

Course not.

Anything wrong with making something you know will sell?

You tell me.

But, it’s a narrow line to tread.

It’s a very small step to commercialising or selling out.

And the idea of ‘I’m not selling out – I’m buying in’ doesn’t hold water, in my opinion.

Sure, it’s smart to ‘do more of what works’.

But should you become formulaic, start repeating the same tricks just because you know it sells?

I really don’t know.

Probably not, unless you want to turn your art into a personality-less company.

So today, I’m handing over the question to you.

Is creation while thinking about sales or buyers ‘allowed’?



The Return of Scuzzy McSalesface and His Amazing Exploding Audience

A few weeks ago, one of the entrepreneurs whose list I subscribe to sent an email with a subject header that made me think.

I forget what it was exactly, but it was along the lines of ‘Use this trick to explode your audience!’

And I thought: what complete hogwash.

For one thing, what’s this ‘explode your audience’ thing?

Why would you want to explode your audience?

Sounds pretty messy to me.

Sure, I get it: it’s a figure of speech, fair enough.

But it’s a figure of speech around a concept that is designed to beguile people.

Because sure, you can do things that make your audience grow big, and very fast – but whatever you do, it’s going to be hard work.

It’ll take time, and lots of it, and you’ll probably have to invest money too.

SEO, design, crafty copywriting… you don’t get an ‘exploding audience’ for free.

Just won’t happen.

And yet, marketers will jump at every opportunity to try and fob off yet another push-button, never-been-this-easy, fully-automated-business-building-machine widget or course.

It’s what made that guy come to me a few years go.

He wanted to invest $1000 with me, which he thought would get him a website, copy, traffic, and sales.

He earnestly thought that for 1K you can build an automated money machine.

Disregarding the fact that if that were possible, I’d be doing it myself instead of for others.

But, he’d been told by some scuzzy marketer that this stuff really works.

Of course you’re not that gullible.

But, the marketing industry has spent about 100 years becoming really very good at selling stuff, and you don’t need to be gullible to be taken in.

Not if the seller knows what he’s doing.

After all, the biggest cons in history happened to some really smart people.

Psychology is behind it: the smarter and more experienced we are, the easier it is to think that we won’t fall for a con.

And it’s exactly that confidence that a con artist preys upon.

That’s why it’s called ‘con’ – short for confidence.

And to me, the kind of marketer who uses hype and manipulation and the promise of mountains of money or insanely fast auience growth, is no better than Bernie Madoff or someone who tries to sell the Brooklyn Bridge (which a man George C. Parker did many many times. True fact).

So be on the lookout for things that seem too good to be true.

They usually are.

Why this advice today?

Because I want you to know that when someone wants to sell you something with the pure intention of making your life better or solving your problems, they’ll do it in such a way that you won’t feel manipulated.

A good and ethical seller will give you all the options, realistic expectations, and, most importantly:

The full power of deliberation and choice – in your hands.


If you do exactly that same thing, you’ll never have to be salesy, won’t have to manipulate or push people.

Instead, you’ll become someone far more pleasant to buy from.

And that’s good for sales – and it’ll give you a higher percentage of satisfied buyers as well.

Which in my book is a good goal to strive towards.



Art Is Service. Any Idea How Much You Could Be Adding to That…?

It’s not just about painting pretty pictures.

There’s more to life than letting the muse inspire you.

If your only mission is to earn money with art, you’re missing the point.

Here’s why:

If you live with the ability to create things, to manifest, that means you were gifted a talent, with the purpose of changing the world.

And the actual art that you make, well that’s only part of the gift that you could share.

This was made clear to me once more, when I read what a reader told me in an email:

“You’ve helped me immensely even though I haven’t signed up for more than your emails. I’m not sure I would ever have finally churned up this truth from the pits of life’s insecurities without your help:

Though you cannot eat art to stay alive, bread does not feed the soul.”

Stop and think about that for a moment.

I’m not showing you this to boast – I have a different purpose here.

For this reader, my daily mission to write something that helps you, actually does have the effect I desire:

For you to absorb a thought that makes a difference.

These daily emails, they are service first and foremost.

Point is, you have the ability to do the same thing.

Provided you want to.

See, every action has a reaction, and in terms of humanity, psychology and communication, every message you deliver could cause another person’s state to change.

Just like music, or art, or a massage, or some delicious food can cause another person’s state to change.

And state change, to me that’s what all life is about.

Changing your own state, or offering others the option to change their own state.

There’s nothing lofty or magical about that either.

At any time, you are susceptible to a state of reverie, or melancholy, or beauty or gratitude or happiness, depending on what you expose yourself to.

And conversely, you have the ability to expose others to parts of you that can change their state.

And again: the art itself is a mighty fine too for it, but it’s only part of your toolbox.

This is why I’ll say forever that email marketing is so damn useful.

Whether it’s in writing or in video or audio or whatever your preferred method:

When you put yourself out there in front of people, showing parts of your personality and larger vision, you add something HUGE to the art itself.

And I say that the more you do it, the more you serve the larger purpose of being an artist.

Where Ghandi said ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’, I say this:

You are change.

Now my challenge to you:

Live it.



Values, Morals, Ethics, Money and… Spiritual Integration…???

Of course ‘spiritual integration’ is a made-up word.

Besides, I don’t even know what spirituality actually means, other than maybe a large degree of ‘not-I’ as part of one’s orientation in life.

You know, the notion that others around you and other generations to follow us are more important than our own self-interests.

For me, that’s all the definition of ‘spiritual’ that I need.

But, for many people with a similar view, that totally excludes earning money.

As if money itself is evil.

Well, it isn’t.

Money is just a tool, and the bigger your tool, the bigger the effect it has.

And for a stellar example of that, I take you back to 1755 Lisbon, when an earthquake and tsunami made friends and conspired to wipe out 85 % of the city.


But because the Marquis of Pombal was fabulously rich, he could afford to rebuild the city in record time.

How’s that for integrating values and ethics with money?

Tools. They rock.

A car is transportation, a hammer is good for building, and a chair is for sitting.

But used wrongly, each of these can be a weapon.

So it really isn’t the tool that’s the problem: it’s what you do with it.

And that means that if you have an important mission, and you do want to change the world, it would really serve your purpose in life if you come to accept money as a tool.



Let’s say you have a book in you, a really good and important one – a book that can have a massive impact and one that the world must read.

But, you can’t find a publisher for it…

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had, say, $20K saved up, so that you can self-publish it far and wide, and launch it with a bang?

I’ll say.

But if you refuse to integrate a healthy view of money with your mission, you might perpetually fall short of manifesting that what really matters to you.

In fact, I’ll take it even further:

If your values and views around money are so strong that you don’t want to earn enough to change the world, then actually that’s a selfish attitude.

It would mean that your own values are more important than impacting the world in a meaningful way.

And that doesn’t help anyone, other than your own feeling of self-worth for having such high moral standards.

But you can’t fix the world with broken hands.

You can have a big impact without any money, sure (Oh, hello there Ghandi!)

But if you don’t have a massive audience behind you, you’ll find that you can get a lot more done if you have the space and the funds to invest, so as to amplify and speed up the important work you want to do.

Sometimes, I coach people who struggle with this, and it’s inspiring – massively beautiful – to see someone shift their perception.

When a person goes from fear of possessions to knowing at a very deep level that possessions can create possibilities – that’s so very rewarding.

So yeah, I like my job.

A lot.

What about you: have you managed to integrate money and earning, with the values and morality that makes you you – or are you creating less change than you’d like to because your values hold you back…?



Their Stupidity Doesn’t Turn Your Art Into a Free-For-All

The other day, I saw a Tweet that showed an ad that Sainsbury UK had published.

It went along the lines of:

“We’re looking for an artist, to come decorate our employee dining area.

“We won’t pay you, but it’ll be fantastic exposure!”

Really, Sainsbury’s?

Exposure to what… a few hundred employees?

I fail to see how that benefits the artist.

Supermarket employees… do they buy art?

Maybe some do, but I very much doubt they’ll have the financial reality to spend 500 or more on original artwork.

Besides, the entire concept of the proposal is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

And even worse: it plays directly to the still-thriving starving artist-mindset.

Art for free?

Hell no.

Art is not a commodity.

Making art is a public service and it can have massive impact on society.

Da Vinci’s work still inspires scientists and inventors.

Jules Verne seeded the idea of undersea travel, and now we have divers studying marine life with mini-submarines.

And that stylized b/w image of Che Guevarra we see on t-shirts?

Yep, that still has its impact on people.

Examples abound, of exactly how influential and important art is.

And yet, we’re still being sold the BS story that as an artist, you’re not meant to make a living from it.

People still think that because making art usually has little practical cost, it shouldn’t cost anything.

After all, some paper and a pencil… less than a dollar, and you can make art with it.

(Of course other kinds of art require a bigger financial outlay – studio time and instruments for a band, or buckets of paint if you do large murals, but that’s not the point).

The point is that art should be paid for not for what it costs, but for what it delivers.

And artists should get paid for the value they deliver.

And that value is much, much bigger than you can imagine.

So don’t give your art away.

Assert yourself.

Take a stand, and don’t back down.

Because what you bring to the world changes the world, and never forget that.

And when they come asking if you can do stuff for free?

Guess what my answer would be…

Now, my question to you is: what if you know this, and you do get paid, and you know your work is worth more…

… but for some reason you can’t find the way to make that happen…

… could it be that you’re holding yourself back in some way?

If you feel that maybe yes, then it could be due to inner obstacles and limiting beliefs holding you back.

Want to work on those, do inner work and change your state, your mind, and your world?

Good to hear.

Let me know when you’re ready for powerful coaching.



Should You Engage With People When They Reply to Your Email Marketing?


This question came to me yesterday, courtesy of a painter.

She’s been emailing her list weekly, is seeing some nice results from it, one of those being regular replies.

So, the answer to her question?

Yes, definitely, absolutely.

Otherwise, you’re just broadcasting messages, much the same as traditional advertising.

Which is fine if you’re Coca Cola or Amazon: companies that large can keep shifting money into their campaigns, up until the point they make a profit.

But we as artpreneurs, we don’t have that economy of scale.

We need to make every dollar and every hour count, otherwise we’re just spinning our wheels.

Besides: it would appear pretty arrogant, if someone pays you attention or a compliment, and you don’t at least acknowledge it.

A popstar who refuses to talk to his fans after a show doesn’t make many friends, you know?

So yes, definitely reply to people: it’s the one way you can start a conversation with them, and build it into a relationship.

You don’t need to make a job out of it, you don’t have to write a full epistle.

Very often a simple ‘thank you for the kind words’ is enough (though I do recommend something slightly longer and more personalised).

Also, when you do reply to somebody’s reply, it’s a good idea to ask a question: that way there’s a bigger chance the conversation will continue.

Remember: if you want to write the kind of emails that people love reading, that gets you replies and fans, and that leads to people buying from you, I’ll show you how.

Details here –> http://martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/



Do You Suffer From Indecisive Buyeritis? There’s a Cure For That…

One of the most aggravating things is when someone tells you they’re ready to buy from you, but then they seem to fall off the planet.

What happened?

They were excited to get started, send your money, own your work… but all you hear is crickets.

The first thing to do at such a moment, is to take a step back and realise:

It’s not you, it’s them.

Meaning: don’t get nervous, insecure, worried, but instead realise that people always have their own reasons for doing what they do, or indeed not doing it.

People have their own lives, with responsibilities, distractions, and fires to fight.

This is important, because if you don’t allow for that, you’re likely to mess up when you take step 2:

Reach out and follow up.

If you’re not coming from a place of calm and confidence, where you’re aware there’s a good reason for not taking action, over on their side, you easily appear nervous or insecure, or worst of all: pushy.

Instead, just get in touch, and simply ask:

“Hi, we discussed you owning my work and you said you’d like to. I’m writing to see if you’d still like to proceed?” or whatever variation works for you.

Another tip: never write or call to say that you’re “just checking in”.

What are they, an airport?

Checking in is an empty, lame and wildly overused non-statement, and it should be avoided at all cost.

Instead, just go straight for the message: “still up for it?”

You might have to do that more than once, over a few week’s time, and don’t be shy to do so.

As long as you’re not nagging or looking desperate, there’s very little chance that it’ll turn them off, in fact chances are that they’ll appreciate it, and that you’re not in any hurry.

If all else fails, there’s one more thing you can do: apply the scarcity principle.

It works like this: we want what we can’t have, it’s a psychological mechanism.

If you tell a child to not touch the heater, the very next thing you’ll be doing is running cold water over their hands.

The tree and the apple and don’t eat it?

Exactly, and look at the mess we’re in now.

Ok, but seriously: when something isn’t available, it simply becomes more desirable.

So by letting your potential buyer know the work might be sold before too long, you’re giving them a compelling reason to think about their decision to buy, or lack thereof.

But for this, it’s extremely important that it’s genuine and not artificial.

Don’t be like the real estate agent or car salesman who phones to say ‘you need to make a decision, there’s potential buyers’ when that’s a fabrication.

Only when there actually is a new potential buyer can you do this.

After all, we’re ethical people here, and we don’t want to lie or manipulate.

But, there’s nothing wrong with letting someone know:

“I understand you may have changed your mind, which is why I need to tell you: People like this painting, and I’d be happy to sell it.

“I’m thinking of taking it to my next show in a few weeks, and it only seems fair to let you know in advance”.

Very possibly, the little jolt is enough to have people rethink their delay, and make a decision as to yes or no.

There you go: the cure for indecisive buyeritis.

No medical prescription required.

Want me to help you with things like these, and help you write or speak the kind of messaging that makes all these things easier?

It’s what you get when we work one on one.

Think about what it could do for your communications and sales…

And of course, let me know if you want some of that.



New! FOMO! It slices, it dices, it picks your kids up from school, your shirts will never be whiter!

Here’s one of the reasons so many entrepreneurs fail to make the progress they deserve:

FOMO: The fear of missing out.

I suppose it’s partially a normal human condition, but a VERY large part of the blame goes to the advertising industry.

All those gurus, coaches, teachers, emailing and blogging and facebooking with yet another course, training, or program.

And they all tell you:

You need this, without it you’re going nowhere fast.

Act now!

TV ads are just the same: engineered to convince us that our lives just won’t be complete without this widget or that powertool or brand of beer.

Pushing your buttons has become a science in itself, and the industry is really good at it.

Back when people didn’t yet brush their teeth, some advertising executive came up with a clever idea:

“Run your tongue over your teeth – do you feel that smooth film?

“That’s plaque! Brush your teeth with our toothpaste, and they’ll last much longer!”

When in reality, that film is a normal consequence of the enzymes in saliva, and actually helps protect your teeth.

But it worked: toothpaste sales went through the roof, and fast too.


A couple of advertising geniuses found a way to have the public perceive it as a ‘medical condition’ with a ‘cure’, and Listerine became a HUGE brand of

Soon, we’ll have a century of scientific advertising behind our teeth (ha!)

And all of us get exposed daily to messages that tell us that without this book we won’t be a success, and without that detergent our shirts won’t be
white enough.

In other words: the entire advertising industry plays to one key psychological fact:

Nobody wants to miss out, and therefore many of us stay stuck in non-action because we first need to read or learn or practice something.

When in reality, if you were to tune out all ads and ignore all the ‘you NEED this’ messaging, and really look at what you need, the answer would
probably be:

You need to get out more, do more, take action, have more conversations.

But all the marketing tells us: ‘Sure, but this first’.

Fear of missing out.


Don’t fall for it.

If you look back at everything you’ve learned and tested and experienced, you very very likely have everything you need to spring into action.

Yes, learning is always good and honing chops is necessary.

And a lot of the online teaching is for real, useful and worth its money.

But don’t let that stop you from taking action, some sort of action…


Which action?

What’s the best thing you can do to start building business success around your art?

How, in fact, do you sell more art?

Have more conversations, whether online or offline.

A sale always happens inside a conversation.

Every potential buyer has a conversation going on inside their head.

It’s up to you to communicate with people and join that inner conversation.

THAT is how you sell art.

So, you ready?

Get set…


Now, Martin has talked himself into a corner.

Because if I say that you can get started without buying or learning more, how can I end with pointing you at my services?

Certainly not by saying that the universe will end or your business will flounder if you don’t work with me.

If either of those things happen, it’s definitely not because you didn’t get me on your team.

That’s the whole point: buying something has to be, always, something that you want, with your own decision, for your own reasons.

Not because someone who gets marketing manipulates you into thinking that you need something when that thing is in fact optional.

That wouldn’t be ethical.

So that link, pointing at where you can hire me?

That’s optional, just in case you want to.

Conversations: have more of them.

Email marketing works a charm, and if you have drive, know how to write, and are willing to be consistent with it, then you can do it on your own,

Oh I don’t know…


Otherwise, if you do want me to train you, then you can go here, and, IF you want, get my mentorship –> http://martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-



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?



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 –> http://martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/



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