What Is It You Do For a Living?

Most people answer that question by not answering it:

“I’m an author” or “I’m a massage therapist” or “I’m owner of a design agency”.

Those are not answers, because they say what you *are*, not what you *do*.

And people are a lot more interested in the thing we *do* that makes us different, than in the label we put on ourselves. It’s why they asked the question, isn’t it?

Leave it up to Seth Godin to answer the question, and answer it right. In an interview he gave, he said:

“I notice things for a living, and then I try to point them out to people”.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

When people ask what you do, you need to know what message to convey, that has them see the change you make, in just a few words.

Elon Musk could say “I’m CEO of a couple of companies – Tesla, The Boring Company, SpaceX, amongst others”.

Or, he could say “I’m working on a multi-business plan to improve humanity’s conditions, and help ensure its survival”.

You’ll agree (whether or not you support his approach or not) that the latter sounds a lot sexier than the former.

My current best is “I learn people for a living, and then I try to come up with ideas that grow your business”.

Though admittedly, it’s wonky: It’s not learning people that earns me a living, but coming up with those business-growing ideas. In other words: my reply is still under construction.

But what about you?

What is it that you *do* for a living?

Not what you are, but what do you do, that someone else might value so much, they’d pay money for it?

What value do you create, what change do you make, what does your work for others?

Find the answer to that, and you’ll never have to lose another person’s interest again, when they ask what you do.

And the secret to finding the perfect reply?

Make sure that it answers the two most fundamental questions that literally everybody needs answered when dealing with a business:

‘So what?’ and:

‘What’s in it for me?’

Craft a reply that answers those two, and you’re set.

Oh and hey, let’s play a game!

Send me your best reply to the question “What do you *do* for a living?” and I’ll use my old copywriter-brain to help you turn it into a nice 1-sentence introduction for when people ask you.

Want to play?

Alright, here we go:

What is it that you *do* for a living?



“Can’t They Guess?” Maybe They Can, but Is That Their Job?

Of course the other person has intelligence. And ears, and intuition.

They know how to compute and make sense of what you’re saying.

But, when you want to get results with people in any sort of way, you shouldn’t give people the job of trying to figure out what you mean.

It’s your job to make sure your meaning gets across, and gets registered on the other side just the way you meant it.

But very often, we don’t do that job.

We say vague things, or give ambiguous messages, or we use catch-all words, like ‘you know’ and ‘kinda’ and ‘wow’.

But what does ‘wow’ mean? It underlines an emotion – but which one? And because of which impression, experience, thought, or insight that you had did you get to feeling ‘wow’?

Pretty unfair to let someone else do the job of figuring that out, isn’t it?

Even worse, when you don’t speak clearly and unequivocally (meaning: there’s only one possible interpretation of your message) you give the other person a job to do, where they need to spend cognitive resources, and guess what:

The other person will be too lazy, disinterested, or occupied with their own thoughts, to do that job for you.

And there you go: misunderstanding, confusion, broken communication, and in the context of business: no sale.

Want to move your relationships, sales, and conversations forward?

Then let everything you say have only one possible interpretation. In other words: take on the job of communicating so well that you’re understood, instead of leaving the other person responsible for figuring out what you meant.



Watch Your Mind: GiGo

We all know that if you put diesel into a petrol engine, the car won’t run.

If you cook with food gone bad, the meal will stink.

If you teach a kid bad morals, he’ll grow up to be a crook.

In other words: if you put garbage into it, what comes out is garbage.

Or in the world of programming: GiGo.

Garbage in, garbage out.

If you write a computer program and you do it badly, it won’t run.

So logical, so very clear to see.

So then, why do we keep putting garbage into our minds?

Why do we keep telling ourselves things that can only produce bad results?

If I keep telling myself ‘I suck, look at what a miserable failure I am’, I program my mind to seek confirmation of that.

Which will make me see and find it all day long.

What’s worse, it’ll program me to create situations that confirm it.

And everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

Whereas, if I keep telling myself ‘I can fix this, I’m creative and I like solving problems’, I suddenly open up a world of creative problem-solving.

What you put into your mind, is what comes out.

And the most perniciously destructive things to tell yourself?


Whether you judge others, you are 100% guaranteed to stay stuck.


Because when you judge others, you fail to do the most important thing in life:

Looking at yourself.

They do this! They are that! He is a such and so! She’s a whatever!

Mhm, you might be right.

But when you’re looking at others, you’re not looking at yourself.

And that, looking at yourself, and developing self-awareness, is the single most powerful and beneficial thing you can do for yourself.

So pay attention to the way you think about others.

Don’t feed your mind with garbage, and remember that each time you judge someone else, you’re not getting to know thyself.

If this rings true with you, and you’re ready and committed to make a change in this habit of judging…

… If you REALLY want to get to know yourself…

Then maybe we should talk.

Just reply to this email…



Why We’re All Destined to Coddiwomple Forever

I’m a stickler for archaic words, and today I bring you a new one I discovered, courtesy of one of the Cabal members who posted it in our private FB group.

And it’s not just a cute word gone out of fashion: there’s an important lesson hidden in it.

I present you:

Coddiwomple (v):

To travel purposefully to an as-yet unknown destination

Here’s why I like it so much:

Every destination is fundamentally unknown.

Sure you might decide to travel to Paris, but you don’t know in detail what Paris will be like when you get there.

It might rain, there might be traffic jams, or you could end up running into a friend from your hometown. And if you run into a stomach bug, your Paris experience will be totally different from what you had imagined.

All you can ever know for sure are the generalities.

What the actual experience of the destination is… no way to predict.

Same thing with more abstract destinations: Sure you might plan to ‘reach x annual income’ or ‘build a company and hire staff’ or ‘become lean and fit’.

But I guarantee that as soon as you reach that goal, it’ll be different than you had expected.

Which gives us the first part of the lesson: don’t be attached to the outcome.

However things turn out is the way it ought to be, and if it’s not perfect, well hey: then you get to set another goal or destination, and travel purposefully to that.

And that brings us to the second, more important lesson:

You can’t ever arrive at a final destination – not really.

Because once you reach one, you either resign to the new status quo, or you get to choose a new, next destination – and when you reach that one you get to have the same choice.

To me, this is exactly what makes life and business-building and learning myself and learning people so fascinating.

No matter how much a learn or build or create: there’s never and end to it!

I’ll never know everything there is to know!

I’ll never reach my full potential because there’s ALWAYS another level I can aspire to!

That’s one of the blessings of life: as long as you have one, growth never ends (unless you put a cap on growth, and who would want to do that?)

So my friends: coddiwomple on, and enjoy the ride.

Ohey, and if you want me to keep you company as you travel towards your as-yet unknown goal, let me know.



My Top Book Recommendations for Artists and Creatives (Plus a Hello from Count Count)

A reader wrote in asking which three books I consider must-read for artists.

Nice. Keep those questions coming folks.

So without any ado, these are my top recommendations, in no order of importance:

Motivation for creative people – How to Stay Creative While Gaining Money, Fame, and Reputation by Mark McGuinness

This book is extremely useful, because on of the things it explains is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

I’d never thought about those before reading it, and it really cleared up some dysfunctional views for me.

And don’t be put off by the subtitle ‘money, fame and reputation’:

This book is free of marketing-type hyperbole, there’s no greed behind Mark’s way of thinking, and in fact, the entire book hinges on the concept that we need to feed our art.

Not just by filling the creative well, but also by earning money for it.

From the Amazon page:

“Psychological research confirms what we know in our hearts: we are at our most creative when we are driven by intrinsic motivation — working for the sheer joy of it, regardless of rewards. Focusing on extrinsic motivation — such as money, fame, or other rewards — can kill your creativity”.

Highly recommended for anyone whose views on money are such that they prevent themselves from earning more of it.

Get it here: http://amzn.com/0957566441

Next up, we have Make Art Make Money – Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens

Jim Henson… I love the guy.

He gave us Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, The Fraggles, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth…

A true artist, a master of his craft, who took the art of puppetry from simple Punch&Judy shows to an artform ready to take on the 20th century.

Hilariously funny, fully dedicated to his art, he brought the world a lot of good.

I wonder how many of us didn’t learn how to count from Count Count.

And yet, Henson was an entrepreneur through and through.

To him, the money issue was never an issue: instead, he was aware that with money you can make more art, serve more people, and yes, change the world.

From kids learning counting, social skills, and the difference between in the box, on the box, under the box and outside the box (see what I did there?), to adults seeing the Muppets and realising they don’t have to take themselves so damn seriously, he’s had an impact on one generation after another, and still does.

We miss you, Jim, but your legacy lives on.

This book will transform the way you see money, and make it ultra clear that yes, with money you can indeed feed your art.

Linkity: http://amzn.com/1477817387

Next up, we have The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

This one ranks in my list of all-time favourites (after the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, of course).

There’s severely sound research and psychology behind her narrative, but it never gets heavy or academic.

Instead, it uses real life examples and a very clever buildup to show us how and why willpower fails us, but also how to stop sabotaging ourselves and literally ease ourselves into becoming better at doing the things we want to do but often fail to do.

Because let’s face it: we all have things we want to do but don’t, things we wish we wouldn’t do but keep doing.

If you’ve ever told yourself ‘I think I should procrastinate today, but I think I’ll put if off until tomorrow’, then you need this book, trust me.

Get your copy here: http://amzn.com/1583335080

So there you have it.

Get your click on, pick the one you feel is most useful at this point, and dig in.



Oh, and if you don’t have time to read? Totally understand.

In that case, you can also get audiobook versions of the Henson and the Willpower book, on Audible.com.

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 –> http://martinstellar.com/find-buyers-sell-art/



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/



Psst look… Isn’t This Pretty?

Gotta admit, I’m feeling kind of nervous.

Every day I’m getting closer to publishing my first book in the LEAP Art Marketing Series, and to be honest.

And yeah, as I write this my fingers tingle and there’s a knot in my stomach.

Which can only mean one thing:

Full steam ahead.

So let’s give you a little teaser – I want to show you the book cover:

Cool, no?

Cost me a pretty penny too – but if you’re going to do something, you gotta do it right.

And given that I have design skills that equal those of a newborn baby, I hired a pro to do it for me.

In the next week or two, the book should be available on Amazon, Kobo and iTunes.

It’s nothing too heavy: the series will consist of topical collections out of my 600+ blog articles, edited professionally and with the sales pitches stripped out.

And yeah, I’m excited.

It’s a new era for me.

I remember when I was a wee little Stellar, saying “I want to be a writer”.

To which I received the answer: “Well then, write. That’s what writers do”.

But now it’s time to also get my writing out there.

Because if I tell you that you need to get your work out there, then that goes for me as well.

Now, I mentioned that you can get all my books (ebooks, that is) for free, for life.

The LEAP series will be published monthly, but I have a few more up my sleeve, proper big ones that will also go into print.

And yes, every single ebook that I publish from now on can be yours, for evah.

All I ask is a little favour.

Will tell you more about that later this week…

Meanwhile, if you also want to write the way I do – fast, engaging, persuasive and entertaining and with absolute ease and never short of ideas – I’ll show you exactly how.

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



LEAP Subscriber Goes Full Copyright Infringement – But I Love Her Just the Same

Some shameless self-promotion today.

Received this email:


I recorded this for myself today.

It took me about five hours to record and edit it.

I thought you could offer it as an upgrade, bonus, or something amazing like that.

Newsletter – Issue 10 – March 2015


Ah yes, that one was the ‘email marketing like a boss’ issue.

Attached to her email was an MP3 file, and yes: a neatly edited, clearly vocalised recording of said issue.

Is that actually copyright infringement?

I don’t know, I can’t be bothered to look it up.

Besides, I think it’s a totally awesome thing to do, so I’m pretty grateful.

I had no idea though that these newsletters can have such an impact on people.

Wow, to be honest. 5 hours…? Wow.

Also, listening to the track, I was pretty amazed at exactly how densely packed my writing is.

Yes, your little Stellar was a little impressed and humbled, having his own work thrown back at him like that.

So, I’ll take her up on it.

I don’t usually do this – giving away free issues.

But this month, if you sign up for the LEAP art marketing newsletter before the August 1st, you get not only the next issue, and the Spyhole Salesman’s Business Secret, and ongoing email access to me…

You also get the recording of the March issue as a totally free bonus.

Get it here –> http://martinstellar.com/leap-to-more-sales/



Three Tips From the Pros That Make Writing SO Much Easier…

Sometimes, things just don’t flow.

You know you have something to say, you want to write and you know what about – but it just ain’t happening.

Happens to the best of us.

Here’s a few ideas to help you when you seem to be stuck.

1: Don’t delete

You know that feeling, when you write two or three lines, read back, and think: No, that’s not it”.

If at that moment you delete them, you’re actually stifling your creativity.

You’re telling yourself that you’re doing it wrong, it’s a direct way to criticise yourself.

And if you’ve ever tried to teach someone something creative, you know that criticism is a fantastic way to instantly shut down any creative process.

So instead of deleting, just hit enter and start a new line.

Keep the words rolling, even if they’re no good yet – before long, you’ll catch the groove.

2: Don’t stop

There are times when you reach a dead-end, when you don’t know how to proceed or where to take the narrative.

When that happens the worst thing you can do is stop and stare at the screen.

Instead, just keep repeating a word, over and over again.

Can be the last word you wrote, or you can take a logical connector, such as ‘because’, or ‘and’, or ‘but’ – whatever makes sense in the context of what you’re trying to write.

When you do that, you keep pinging the same part of the brain that makes for writing.

It’s like doodling, you know?

If you just draw lines and shapes, you’ll end up sketching before too long.

Writing works the same way.

3: Never read back

Ever see someone drive home while looking in the rearview mirror?


When you’re writing and you keep going back to the previous, you’re looking back instead of ahead, and that means you’re triggering a rational, analytical process.

When actually, you want to keep pushing the non-rational, creative buttons, because that’s where the next line, the next idea and the next turn will come from.

Getting analytical is good, but only once you have the first draft written out complete.

That’s when you can give it a clear look, step back and see what’s there and what needs to be changed.

Until you get to that stage, just keep on tapping.

You’ll end up with more than you need, and when you then edit away the bad parts, you’ll end up with something pretty useable that just needs some cleaning up.

Just like Michelangelo said (I think it was him): he chips away the marble until the only thing left is the sculpture hidden in it.

There you go: three tips used by the best of writers.

Use them to your advantage.

You get this kind of tips and a whole bunch more, custom delivered exactly when and how you need it, when you join the writing mentorship program.

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



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