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

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

Landowner Stole My House and Now I'm Broke

About two years ago, I was doing well writing salescopy for different kinds of clients.

At some point, I was netting $5000 per month, mostly through oDesk.

Sweet, no?

It was.

Until something changed in their algorithms or policy, and suddenly it dried up.

I was forced to hustle and find customers via other channels, and it was stressful.

Not that I blame them: it was my own fault, for building a home on rented land.

What I should have done was build a fantastic site, drive traffic at it, and build my own email list.

But, you know: hindsight is always 20/20.

I hope you’re not making the same mistake though.

Your website is (after your email list) your most valuable asset.

Which is why the next LEAP is all about creating a (or modifying an existing) website that actually works, for selling your art.

Here’s what’s in it:

* Why it’s never about you, and one simple trick to make your content speak to and connect with the reader

* How Japanese music is the key to creating a design and layout that perfectly showcases your work

* The massive handicap artists deal with when creating a website and how to overcome it (this applies to all your promotional materials and activities)

* Why you must – absolutely have to – tell your story

* How to tell your story without turning things into a me-fest

* The worst kind of testimonial you could ever use (if you make this mistake, you’ll be attracting crappy clients like flies come to honey)

* Why you must forego cleverness and instead think like a child when building a site

* The best order for the items in your navigation menu if you want to make money through your site

* One feature that’s still being used but which is practically guaranteed to have people close your page in horror the very moment they land on your site

* Why ‘ship it already’ is the way to go, and how to overcome perfectionist procrastination and analysis paralysis

* Why digital sharecropping is a massive liability for your business stability

* How to confidently and comfortably become a brand

* The one thing you must do, and do daily – otherwise your entire website serves no purpose whatsoever

* Tips on how to increase signups and sales with tried and tested copywriting techniques
And yes, a whole bunch more.

She flies to the printer’s in a few days, and today at midnight registration closes.

LEAP to more art sales?

Yes –>



Stop Selling Your Art. Do This Instead


You bet.

Important though.

No, I’m not suggesting you go flip burgers or become barista at Starbuck’s.

Here’s the deal.

Yesterday I listened to a podcast by an extremely savvy marketer called Joe Polish, who gave a talk to a group of fine artists.

In it, he said:

“People don’t buy art – they buy the artist”.

Wiser words have rarely been spoken.

You’ve heard me harp on the theme before, and if that wasn’t enough, take Joe’s word for it because the dude knows a thing or two about marketing.

Point is that the piece you present and price and offer really is only part of the equation.

You yourself really are important in the whole setup.

And I know that can be hard, or scary, or difficult.

But if you think about it, why would it be difficult?

Imagine you’re hosting a show.

People come up to you, ask you questions.

You’re not driving a sale there, you’re just having a chat.

People take in your work, your words, your presence and personality.

And as they meander through the room, looking at the frames and prices, they end up with a certain feeling that includes everything from the lighting to the art to the canapés to the guy or gal who put their heart and soul into the art.

If it clicks, they buy.

Unless you’re very shy, bringing yourself into the mix isn’t all that hard.

You might be a bit nervous when the doors open, but that’s just stage fright – it goes away once things are in full swing.

So why would it be difficult to instill your own character and personality into your marketing efforts?

This, incidentally, is also why your website is the key asset of your marketing arsenal.

On stores like Etsy or Zazzle, things are impersonal. It’s a shop, with little more.

On social media there’s the personal side, to be sure – but in most all cases there’s too much personality.

Sure people get to know you, and the fact that you’re into horses or literature or tech.

But there’s also a whole bunch of other social interaction – with friends, relatives, brands you’ve bought from and things you shared because they matter to you.

Put together that’s a lot of noise, in which the signal – the why and the importance of you as an artist – is hard to get filter out for your followers.

Again: make your site work, and make it sell the artist, not the art.


Learn it all in the next LEAP.

Registration closes tomorrow, so best hop to it –>



Hunt it Down and Drag it Back to Your Cave

“You’re in a good mood today”.

She stops humming, and while handing me my loaf of bread, she says:

“Actually, I’m not feeling well today”.

She sees my surprise and with a little smile she tells me: “When the Spanish start singing, that’s when you know there’s something wrong”

Ah yes, the flamenco mentality: “Ayayayay, tell me God why life is so unfair”.

I walk home, pondering the marvel of living in this country with these wonderful people.

Not that it’s always easy though.

In Andalusia, and especially in this town, there’s a definite defeatist mentality.
So many small business owners who just don’t believe that things can change, or that making an effort makes a difference.

It hurts me to see it when yet another shop or restaurant closes.

“There just are no more people showing up”, they tell me.

“But did you try to get people through the door though?”

“It’s no use, people just…”

And then they go on about how bad the economy is, how empty all the holiday rentals, and how the government and the banks etc etc.


But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Just yesterday I went to a delicatessen for some goat’s cheese, and I was amazed.

The guy had remodeled his premises, created more space, and suddenly there was three times more choice in cheeses, jamon iberico and wines.

And the guy isn’t cheap – his stuff is really good and worth the high price ticket.

And what’s more: he’s doing well.

But, he’s not one of those people who wait in quiet desperation for the economy to fix itself.

He sees what’s missing, and he goes out to fix it.

It’s all very nice to think back to recent history, the good times we had, and lament that the good times they just ain’t no longer rolling.

But don’t forget that the prosperity we enjoyed after WWII wasn’t natural to our state as human beings.

All throughout our history, we’ve had to do the work.

If you wanted to eat, you had to go out of your cave, hunt something down and schlep it back to your cave where your mate had to carve it up with a sharp piece of flint.

Or you had to dig furrows in the soil, wait for your ‘taters to grow, and dig them up after months of watering.

We’ve been spoiled, is what I’m saying.

And it’s caused a terribly handicapped mindset, which is precisely why I write these pieces:

To show you that if you change your mind, you can change the way reality presents itself to you.

Because I guarantee: if you take responsibility and ownership, and you go out to hunt for clients, you’ll see things change.

Who knows, you might even end up being a very successful or even wealthy *gulp* artist.

If you want my help, get it here –>

Registration for the May issue – how to turn your website into one that converts – closes in just a few days.



Saved Up $400K in 5 Years in the Middle of a Crisis!?

“So what do you do for marketing?”

Antonio sets the plate in front of me, and tells me “Nothing”.

I take a bite of the succulent grilled cod and frown at him.

“Impossible. You just told me you are investing $400.000 in buying and redecorating new premises in a better location, with barely a mortgage at all.

“And you’ve only been in business for five years.

“Between your restaurant and terrace you can seat at most 60 people and you’re in a bad location in a tiny town.

“Not only that, this town has been hit hard by the recession and you know as well as I that every month another bar or restaurant closes down.

“How on earth did you manage to save up that much money?”

This was last Saturday.

I’d just arrived home after visiting friends, and decided to have a bite to eat on the beach.

I knew his place, but I’d never eaten there before.

Tells me: “Oh I used to advertise in a local paper – but at $100 a month, I stopped after about a year.

“So then what’s the secret, man?

“How did you do it?”

“Paper tablecloths and plastic chairs.”

I frown again.


And then the story starts.

Tells me he used to be Maitre D’ in Majorca.

Pulls out a photo of him 10 years younger and ditto kilograms lighter.

Waistcoat, starched shirt, tie, pressed trousers.

“When I opened here, I had it nice.

“Wicker chairs, fabric tablecloths, nice oil lamps on the tables.

“And every night, I’d see people standing around, peering at the setup doubtfully, and then they’d walk off to go eat across the street.

“One day I decided to do an experiment, and I replaced the tablecloths with cheap disposable ones.

“Practically overnight, everything changed.

“Suddenly expats started showing up, and since my food is good and I treat people well, they kept coming back.

“They’ve become loyal customers, and often come here from 60 kilometers away.

“They bring their friends, and guess what: they go to Tripadvisor and leave terrific reviews, and I don’t even ask them to.

“Look it up: Biznaga, in Salobreña”.

Tap tap tap on my mobile, and yep, there he is. 105 reviews, including one that says: “We come from Canada to eat at Biznaga”.

My takeaways:

– Everything you do is marketing, from the product to the presentation to the way you treat people. If you do it right, people will do your marketing for you.

In other words, turn customers into fans and they will become your ambassadors.

– Persistence pays off. The first years were lean, but over time his customer base grew and people became loyal to him.

– Deliver quality product and quality service. The food was affordable, and excellent.

– Your message and presentation have to be aligned with what you offer, in terms of style and price and quality.

A fair-price eatery shouldn’t look like the Hilton, because it gives out the wrong message.

Conversely, high-quality art shouldn’t sit on dinky-looking website with a default template.

If your site looks cheap, you’ll never be able to earn good money for your art.

It’s all about communicating the right message, to be aligned with the value of the product.

It’s a lot to get right.

But you can do it.

And I can help, with next month’s issue of LEAP, all about the ins, the outs, the dos and the don’ts of an artists website that converts.

Available right here –>



Deadly, Art-Sales-Killing Assumptions

If there’s one thing that obstructs and sabotages things, it’s making assumptions.

“My husband knows I want him to pick up his underwear off the floor”.

Of course he does – you’ve told him often enough.

But, you’re also assuming that he knows and understands exactly how aggravating it is to you if he doesn’t.

Trust me, he has no idea.

“That driver knew I was going to make a turn, I had my indicator blinking”.

Maybe you did, but you’re assuming he was paying attention and saw you.

Could be he was distracted by his phone, or thinking about the fight he had that morning with his wife, about his underwear on the bedroom floor.

When it comes to marketing and selling your art, assumptions are equally disastrous.

“Oh but visitors know I sell my art, I don’t need to tell them”.

Maybe they know, maybe they don’t.

But if you don’t tell them where to go to view your gallery, they likely won’t get to see it, and instead will stay on your blog until they had their fill.

“They just need to scroll down, that’s where they’ll find the optin form”.

They won’t, or at least: not as many as when you’d put the form in the right place.

“It’s a small font, but that looks better. If they’re interested, they’ll read anyway”.

Nope, they will not. If you make it hard for people, they’re not going to take the trouble.

We’re too busy, too distracted, and too often interrupted to make the effort.

“I don’t need a portrait photo – people buy my work because of the art itself, not the person making it”.

Um… yeah, no.

You-the-artist are an integral part of the purchase motivation, and a simple friendly smile does wonders.

“My site doesn’t matter so much in my marketing – I focus mostly on Etsy/Facebook/Pinterest/other”.

That might be a strategy that works, but don’t make the mistake of thinking people don’t check out your site too, because they do.

“I don’t want to use an optin freebie – people should join my list simply for wanting to hear from me”.

I see what you mean – but do they? Will that blend?

I doubt it, and a whole bunch of research and testing says so too.

I think you get the picture: Your website is incredibly important, and unless you build and shape it in such a way to pre-empt mistakes based on assumptions, it’s going to result in far fewer sales.

It’s a matter of percentages, you see.

If 100 people visit and only 5% sign up, you could bring that number up to 10% or more if your site works.

But, you’ll need to know how, and what goes where, and which things work and don’t work.

Enter the May LEAP newsletter, which will tell you exactly how.

Learn the anatomy of an artist-website that converts.

Read it, implement the tips and ideas, and see your results improve.

And of course, as part of your membership, you get to send me emails to have a quick look on the changes you’re making.

*Sings* And you’ll neeeeever walk a-alone…

Next, go here to sign up: –>



Artist Website Form and Function: How to Marry the Two and See Them Make Babies

And when I say babies, of course I mean sales – the ultimate goal of having a site in the first place.

But very often when I visit artist’s websites, I see all kinds of things that prohibit sales, instead§ of facilitating them.

For example, nothing personal: Artist has done this, studied that, had exhibitions over yon.

Lacking are personal words, or a friendly portrait photo, or anything personal at all.

In other cases, the navigation is a mess: to get to anything other than the main gallery page takes click after click, and even then the visitor can’t find their way around.

A frown forms, and you’ve just lost a precious visitor-to-become-prospect.

Or a search form right in the most prominent place (where a signup form should be).

What is up with that?

Believe me, nobody is going to visit your site in order to perform a search for ‘still life with apple’.

Worse: a site with no signup form at all.

What, do you expect a first time visitor to buy something right away?

How about you do some romancing, before you lean in for the kiss?

Meaning, invite folk to sign up, and then communicate them by email.

Or maybe you think that between your beautiful site, your riveting art and a precious artist’s statement, people will remember you and come back?

Maybe, but you’re not the only artist out there, and competition is fierce.

Best try to get people to give permission to talk to them, really.

And then there’s the ‘but I’m an artist and my site should reflect that!’ website.

My favourite mistake.

It’s the kind of site where form has taken precedence over function.

Oh and the errors are plenty.

Illegibly small font, or flowery and curly so that people have to really work to read and take in the information.

Or design that’s full of frills and VERY artistic details indeed.

So incredibly beautiful that it’s a work of art in itself.

But if you get to that level, you miss the mark: Your site design should facilitate highlighting your artwork – not take its place.

Form and function shouldn’t compete: they are meant to go hand in hand, like two good friends.

Form should please the eye, so people have the desire to stay around and check out your work.

Meanwhile, function is meant to make navigation easy, liking you a no-brainer, and signing up or buying a matter of course.

It’s like writing, you know? Good writing doesn’t call attention to itself.

The way a website is built and designed should do the same.

Quite a lot to get right.

So let me show you, in the next LEAP.

She goes to the printer’s next week – get it here before May 1st –>



*Bites Cigar* I Love On When An Artist Comes Together

About a year ago, the Dutch painter Anook Cléonne hired me for some consulting.

She had an audience, good art and good feedback, but no direction.

Knew that marketing was important, but had no idea where to start.

We worked together for several weeks, and after the contract ended we were in touch only very sparsely.

A few weeks ago however, I started seeing her on Twitter.

Apparently, she had made quite a turn.

All kinds of exposure, a painting retreat in Portugal, and a completely new project that is getting her high regards in Holland.

And which she offers for no less that a rough $9000 per artwork created, of which four are pretty much already sold.

Started hosting studio dinners, and each time she sells a whole bunch of paintings.

Oh, and very possibly a collaboration with a national dance group starting in the next few weeks.

That girl, she’s kicking unholy ass.

Very impressive.

Not that I’m surprised though: She’s a diligent student, an avid reader, and most of all: she puts the things I teach into practice.

This is what she wrote, translated:

“Simply because you awoke the awareness in me about it [the importance of marketing]

“I already enjoyed writing, but now – thanks to you – I realise writing matters.

“All in all, it gave me a lot of self-confidence.

“And that matters.

“I have more clarity, am more focused, and I dare to make choices.”

Yep, that’s what I do it for.

Like Hannibal from the A-Team used to say: I love it when a plan comes together.

She signed up for LEAP this week and we had the free consulting call for new subscribers.

I gave her some pointers on where to go from here, and sent her off on her merry way.

Before long, I’ll be expecting her to get quite a few sales.

So, with or without my help, why not follow her example?

Why not learn, switch on, make the tough choices, and get yerself out there?

Anook is yet another example of how an artist doesn’t have to starve.

How, if you choose not to be a starving artist, you can actually get paid quite handsomely for your work.

Of course my help does help – IF you’re willing to invest in your art sales, and IF you know how to put good advice to use.

Remember: LEAP subscribers get unlimited (within reason – 5-minute emails only) email access to me, as well as a completely free 30-minute consulting call to start you out right.

What do you say – dare to leap?

Do it here –>



Will You Just Please Stop Adding Value to People's Lives!

Time for a wee lil rant.

I’m going nuts over an expression that I just keep on hearing in the vairous podcasts I listen to.

“Adding value to people’s lives”.

Or, in its more absurd form: “Adding value to people”.

I wonder how that works, adding value to people.

Do you wrench open a person and then pour a good measure of value into them?

Is it injected, or can it be ingested?

Besides, where does one get good quality value that you can add to people or their lives?

And, how can you trust that the value you’re about to add is grass-fed, and not adulterated or GMO?

Another question: does that value come with a guarantee?

I know what they’re going for, all these marketing types.

When they talk about ‘adding value’, they’re trying to make a good point.

It’s just that they make it so very badly.

For one thing, linguistically it’s a bizarre way of expressing yourself.

Logically it’s rickety too.

Scientifically – well, I’d like to see a physicist explain how adding value to people works.

I know, I get it. I understand that what they’re actually trying to say is that making a sale is only valid and justified when it improves the buyer’s life.

When he or she benefits in a genuine way, gets better because of the purchase.

And they also mean that the marketing tools used, the messages being broadcast – they need to be of worth in and of themselves.

Sure, I get it.

It’s become a hip and fashionable term to use.

But it’s become such a cliché that it gets flung around all over the place and it hardly even means anything any more.

And here’s why I object, and write about it:

When something useful and instructive – if physically impossible and grammatically handicapped – becomes the default statement, the teacher misses the mark.

When you sell something, or when you market your work, the value and worth and life-changing qualities of your art matter a great deal.

And that means you need to think about them, and suss out what are those qualities.


Because next, you need to communicate them to people if ever you want to sell your work.

A grand website and high quality photos won’t cut it: you’ll need to explain the ways in which people benefit.

As an artist, you don’t add value to people or their lives:

You change people.

Learn more about how to communicate this in next month’s LEAP Newsletter –>



If You Don’t Use Our Soap, Please Use Our Perfume

I couldn’t find the origin of the quote, but apparently it was used by a company sometime early last century.

Ah, the good old times, when women wore corsets and men smelled of cigars, moonshine whiskey and their most recent bear-fight.

And when artists were so starving, the first thing on a winter morning was chopping a hole in the ice ice your sink, just so you could wash your face.

Now, you might think that the line is just a fun marketing quip, but actually there’s an important lesson in it.

Because unless you want to be a starving artist (I can’t imagine why, but I guess it works for some people), you’ll need to

– have to –

either use soap, or use perfume.

To wit: Whether your marketing activities are online or real world, whether you sell on a street corner or in galleries, or directly to shops or other businesses:

You need to do something.

You won’t sell your work unless you sell it.

Meaning, design a plan, test it, and improve it.

With soap or perfume: you gotta market yourself.


Not if you’re equipped with ethics.

And use soap.


Not really: I’d say it’s complex, rather than difficult.

Don’t know where to start?

Then maybe I can help.

For instance, why not start with your website, and make it look, feel, and work in a way that says ‘open for business’?

That is what you’ll get with the next issue of the LEAP newsletter.

It’s going to be another fully packed 16 pages, this time giving you a step-by-step rundown of how to build or modify your website so people will stay, subscribe, read, and yes: buy.

Because make no mistake: even if you have a great following on Instagram or Facebook, even if you have all your work up on Etsy or some other hosted selling platform (did I just typo ‘hosed’? – anyway)

You website is your core asset, it’s your hub: property that you own, can configure, tweak, and connect all the other elements to, just like spokes in a wheel.

In other words, without a well-working and good-looking site, selling is hard.

So let me show you how to make your site work.

Sign up here –>



If You're Not Selling Your Art, You're Not Serving Your Purpose

A consulting call, yesterday.

An artist and author with an enormous ease where it comes to creation.

Empty canvas symptom isn’t something he deals with a lot.

Lucky bastard, I say.

But when it comes to selling, things are different.

Sure he’d like to, and yes he learns and tries.

But for some reason, he’s not moving forward as fast as he could.

During the call we tried to figure out why, and how to fix it.

Because it’s not just that he wants to sell his work – there’s also the fact that if he doesn’t sell, he falls short of the purpose of an artist’s life.

Which is to change the world.

To turn people, to show them the world through your eyes.

To be inspired, uplifted and enlightened.

Yes, to be a different, richer and happier person for having been exposed to the beauty you create.


You bet.

Because artists matter.

Art is massively important.

Just look at works of art that have been revered for centuries or even millenia.

They wouldn’t have survived if art were nothing but a triviality.

Art changes the world.

YOU, artist, change the world.

And if you don’t do everything you possibly can to get seen and get sold, you’re not serving life the way you ought to.

Whether it’s books, dance, music or sculpture or painting: you do the world a favour each time you sell something.

So if you still haven’t gotten to making marketing and sales part of your life, may I kindly suggest you get off your ass and get your sales on?

It’s what you were made for.

Not sales per se, for the sake of it – but because you have the chance to make the world a better place, one work of art at a time.

Go for it. The world’s your oyster.

Go here to learn how to do it –>

With pomp and circumstance (and you’d better take it seriously)

Oratorical Martin

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