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

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

If You Can’t Beat Them…

Frank looked in the mirror.

His black leather jacket lay in a heap behind him, half the circled A visible.

He looked at his mohawk and started to take the safety pins out of his ear, laying them neatly in a row along the edge of the sink.

Next he took the shaving brush and started to work up a lather.

Half an hour later he was perfectly bald.

Walking into his bedroom, he saw the immaculate and brand new suit on the bed.

Tie on top of it, patent leather shoes on the floor.

Tomorrow he was going for a job interview, and he was hellbound to land the gig.

He thought of Iggy Pop, that story when a young and spunky journalist had interviewed him:

“I don’t think you’re punk any more”.

Iggy, slouched back, raised his boot.

He kicked the tape recorder so hard that it flew across the room and disintegrated upon impact with the wall.

“That’s punk”, said Iggy. Interview over.

Frank passed a hand over his head, and sighed.

20 years later he was president of a charity, building schools in Africa.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em.


The world is full of people with good intentions.

People who want to change the system, create a better world, leave it a better place.

Thing is, screaming in a punk band only has so much effect.

You can write pamphlets all you want but how many people do you reach?

There are many examples of people who stopped fighting the system, and started working it instead.

Henry Rollins, for example.

Or Jim Henson, who never even fought but used it from the get-go.

He didn’t make art a type of holy grail – instead, he used it to become wealthy, so that he could fund his actual art.

And that went far beyond teaching kids to count on Sesame Street.

When I started copywriting, I struggled for months with the ethics of it.

How do you rationalise going from a monastery into – gasp – advertising?

Until one day it clicked: on the inside, I can make a change.

I can be an ethical marketer, be a voice of difference.

Show people that you can sell without conning or lying.

Now there’s a novel thought.

You as an artist, you’re meant to make a change in the world.

Like I said the other day: art makes and defines culture.

You have the privilege of being part of that ongoing movement.

You have the power to put ideas into people’s heads, to change worldviews, to change people and the world at large.

In small steps maybe, but every drop helps quench a fire.

Wyland paints whales, and uses his fame and his money to raise awareness, in order to fight for cleaner oceans.

What’s your mission?

Doesn’t have to be quite as big, you know.

A plain room becomes more beautiful in its entirety with just one flower in it.

What I’m saying is that there are ways to use, to leverage, to work the economy in order to sell your art – and still be able to live with yourself.

Drip-drip-drip. Every painting a little dent in the universe.

I’ll be getting knee-deep into how to do that in the next LEAP.

Deadline is tomorrow, signup link is here –>

One thing though: Don’t sign up unless you’re going to read the thing, and put it to use.

It’s heavy duty learning, meant to be taken in and implemented.

Got a learning cap? Good.



The Man Whose House Didn't Burn Down (Be Like THAT Guy)

I’m balanced precariously on a slope in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

My arms and legs are covered in scratches, and in my hand is a sickle.

I’m helping my friend clear a fire perimeter around his house, because it’s one hell of a dry summer this year.

Gotta be prepared.

Every 20 or 30 strokes the smell of thyme, fenugreek or sage rises up.

Chop chop chop. Dust and sunburn. Weeds, herbs and spices.

A bit more safety, every five minutes.

And suddenly I realise: THIS is what life is about.

No matter what you do – teach yoga, like he does, or write like I do, or create art like you do – you are the one who is responsible.

It’s up to us to take the bull by the horns, to take control of our lives.

It’s very easy to hope no fires get near, and blame it on global warming when they do.

But it’s much more safe, sane, and rewarding if you take responsibility and do what needs to be done.

Most people aren’t like that.

They blame their past and the people in it for where they are now.

They never point the finger at self, and say “I dealt badly with a bad situation”.

Because don’t think that I’m the kind of person who says that you should blame everything on yourself.

If someone hits your car, if someone cheats you, that’s hardly something you’re responsible for.

But how you deal with it, that is.

One man loses his limbs and decides to perk up and become a swimmer (The other day I even read about a paraplegic who climbed a mountain), another loses a hand and decides his life is over.

Your attitude is your responsibility.

Your reaction is in your control.

How you deal with things right now determines what your tomorrow will look like. Never forget that.

So what about right now?

What do your art business and your life look like?

Could it be better?

More sales, higher prices?

Then why not decide once and for all to take responsibility, and learn what you need?

So that you can do what you need to make it a reality?

You wouldn’t be the first to go from starving artist to a thriving one.

Come on, I know you want to.

There’s only one thing stopping you, and that’s you.

If you’re ready, if you’re motivated and willing to put in the hours, why not sign up for the LEAP art marketing newsletter?

She goes to the printer’s in a few days.

And the moment you join, you have me on board as your personal mentor.

Read the details here –>



I Don't Want You to Go It Alone

When I left the monastery and started my tailoring company, I was on my own.

Quite literally: no longer did I have my brothers around, I also had to figure out my way in business on my own.

Which was tough, because not only was I completely unschooled in the world of marketing, I also had the dysfunctional opinion that marketing in any form was bad and evil.

The only help I had was a tailor in England, who told me that all I really needed to do was blog and hang out on the forums where wealthy people talked about clothing.

Well, that turned out to be insufficient. Grossly so.

I WISH I had had someone to guide me, that I could ask questions of, someone I could test ideas on.

And there was one friend, Jan-Willem, who wanted to help – but he was lightyears ahead of me in terms of marketing, and didn’t realise that his ‘hard marketing’ advise didn’t find any fertile soil in my mind.

And so I plodded on, spending money on things that I thought would bring me a return on investment, all the while watching my inheritance dwindle away.

I wish there had been someone to help me along.

But, that’s water under the bridge.

Point is, I don’t want you to be like me.

Don’t want you to make the mistakes I made.

Don’t want you to go it alone, don’t want you to suffer.

Instead, I want you to work your ass off, and I want you to succeed, in a big way.

And that’s exactly why LEAP subscribers get direct access to me, to ask me questions, as often as you want.

When you join the programme, you get email access to me every day.

Got a question? Send me an email.

Trying to decide which headline to use? Send me an email.

Created a new page and want some feedback? Click, email.

Not sure how to price your art? Email.

You get the picture.

I’m vested in the success of my subscribers, and that’s why I’m available as your back-office and advisor.

The caveat is that we need to be reasonable: One question per email, that way I can answer on the fly and serve all my

But any doubts or questions you have?

Ship it.

Another thing: exactly because we all struggle with questions, I’ve just decided to increase the initial consulting call from 20 minutes to a full hour.

So that if and when you’re good and ready to invest in your art business, you get the biggest boost I can possibly give you.

What’s that you say?

You’re ready to move up in the world of selling your art?

Well good then.

Here’s where you start –>



Don't Worry, Be Selling

Ever seen Bobby McFerrin perform?

The guy is masterful, a true artist.

His vocal range is astonishing and his voice as flexible as a rubberband.

Kinda like Al Jarreau’s face, but I digress.

Point is, he’s not the only singer with those qualities.

You can find full-body instruments in any city – just look at youtube and you’ll find plenty.

And yet, Bobby is the guy who made it big. REAL big.

So why is that, and how can you use the same thing for yourself?

The secret is deceptively simple, and it’s something that many artists apply with great success.

What it comes down to is that he doesn’t make his art in a vacuum, creating a piece and then lobbing it at the audience.

No, he makes the audience part of the piece. Literally.

Folks get on stage with him to dance, to sing, and he gets the entire room to sing with him.

Pretty damn genius, if you ask me.


The root of many – if not all – business success stories.

For you as an artist, you’d do well to also build interaction into your marketing.

It’s all very nice to sit in your studio and paint or compose, and then hope that people will find you and pay you.

But you’ll get much better results, more fans and more sales, if you involve people in your world and your art.


That’s what you’ll learn in the next LEAP.

Waiting for you right here –>



Invitation: Join Me for a Wild Ride

For the last year or so, I’ve lived practically like a recluse, a hermit.

I rarely went out other than for my walk&podcast.

Didn’t go to any parties, didn’t go for drinks, saw very few friends.

Instead, I wrote, and talked to artists, and did podcast interviews, and I studied and studied and studied and meditated.

It’s been a good year, I’ll say that.

Without wanting to sounds arrogant, I dare say I’ve grown.

But now, my year of solitude is over.

I’m stepping out into the world.

Kinda feels like when I had just left the monastery.

Woah… a whole world out there.

Where do I start?

Well, curiously there’s serendipity at work.

Just yesterday I spoke to a friend I hadn’t seen in years.

She’s started an arts club, in a valley rife with artists, about 20 minutes from here.

Inspired by the Chelsea Arts Club, she’s gathered some 35 artists.

Between her location in the valley, and the house here in town that she did up to be a permanent gallery, she’s working hard to get bums on seats and art sold.

Sounds like my kind of enterprise, doesn’t it?

Sure does.

So obviously I’m thrilled that she’s asked me to help out in the gallery, and open the doors for viewers.

I just hope she’ll also do some serious marketing, because this town, and her house, are off the trodden path.

She’ll need to work to get a good steady turnout.

So yeah, I’m back in the world.

Hello world. How’ve you been?

So that’s my plan from now on: be out there and serve people, notably artists.

Make a difference, if I can.

Want to join me?

I won’t go as far as saying that the world is waiting for me – but some people just might be.

And that goes for you as well.

Some people, if you work hard enough to find them, will tell you that you’re a godsend.

That they wish they’d found your art sooner.

So why not make it easy for them, and get yourself seen?

Learn how successful professional artists have done it in the last 50-odd years, in the upcoming LEAP newsletter –>



Do You Apologise For Your Art?

You wouldn’t be the only artist.

So many people – absolutely great artists and wonderful folk in their own right – are terribly abashed about their art.

As if it’s something that barely deserves to exist – let alone be seen or indeed – gasp – sold.


How misguided can a person be?

Don’t forget that it’s art that makes and defines a culture.

Art is what people and countries and eras are known for.

What if we hadn’t had Bach, or Picasso, or Da Vinci?

Then we’d still be imitating birdsong, or scratching coal on cave walls, or worshipping a shapeless lump of clay.

No, we had all those great minds, the inspired and driven, and what we’re left with is a culture that’s richer and more refined because – not in spite of – art.

Art isn’t just something that pleases – it’s what makes us who we are.

The experience of art changes a person, just as much as creation does.

So no, you shouldn’t be shy about your art.

Not apologetic, and certainly not underselling it.

If anything, you should drive a hard sale and get as much exposure as you possibly can.

Because that way, you get to change the world.

I’ll quote Hugh MacLeod: “Change the world or go home”.

Because the ability to do that is the prerogative and I dare say the duty of the artist.

So go sell, unabashed.

Just like Jim Henson, Andy Warhol, Dr. Seuss, Stephen King, James Cameron, Bobby McFerrin, Wyland, to name but a few.

They all understand that business is art and art is business.

As I’ll demonstrate for you in the next LEAP Newsletter.

In other words, 16 pages in which you’ll learn from the masters.

Sign up here –>



Good People, Terrible Advice

About 30 minutes inland from here lives a good friend.

An English artist, and a fairly famous one.

She’s worked on all kinds of film sets – for example Star Wars, and I think also Lawrence of Arabia.

She had a famous shop in Soho, back in the 60’s.

Has sold her work all over the world, and is frequently paid well to artfully redecorate wealthy people’s houses.

But in recent years, she’s toned down the promotion of her work, preferring a quiet life in her small town.

And combined with the economy, that means she hasn’t sold a lot of work lately.

So last year I sat her down and explained the myriad benefits of daily emails.

I mean, she already has a list, so it would make sense to invite the folks on there to subscribe to dailies, and then give them a look into the artist’s mind and studio.

It seemed to make sense to her, but for some reason she never started.

Yesterday we spoke, and she said: “Everyone I mentioned it to said it was the worst possible idea.

“Said that nobody wants to receive a daily email.

“That they’ll unsubscribe and flag me for spam”.

Funny, that.

Clearly those people have no idea what they’re talking about.

Which in my mind means they should good ‘n well shut up.

Learn this: Never take advice from armchair experts.

Here’s a gal with an incredible talent for writing.

With 60+ years of stories to tell (and I can tell you her stories are riveting – I’ve read them”.

And people wouldn’t want to hear that each day?

Says who?

Says some dumb British expat who let his business go to pieces, and now scrounges by tending a few lemon trees and building crappy websites?

Sounds like the perfect individual to completely ignore, if you ask me.

I mean come on.

Do you read my emails?

Do you mind receiving them daily?

If you do mind, you’re welcome to unsubscribe. I’m not here to bother anyone.

But those people who do enjoy the dailies though, they learn a lot.

Received this message, for example:

“Love your emails   just wanted to say they have been pivotal in my stepping up…Thank you”

How could I have had that effect on her, if I hadn’t sent daily emails?

And you, how would you reach people and point them at your art, if you don’t communicate with them?

Not that it has to be daily – once or twice a week also works.

But if you never send something, never talk to people, then they won’t be thinking of you and your work.

And, they won’t buy.

But email marketing is only part of the equation.

You need to think about branding as well, and traffic, and mindset, and a bunch more stuff.

Which is why I’ll be highlighting the strategies of the most successful current artists in the next LEAP.

This one is going to be hard, hard teaching. Might not want to miss this one.

One week left to get in on time –>



Resistance is Futile

You can fight all you want, but you’re never going to win.

The innate intelligence within you – the level below the rational mind – knows this.

And I speak from experience: all my life I’ve resisted the notion that at heart I am indeed an artist.

Mostly because drawing doesn’t come easy to me.

But that’s really weird, because as long as I can remember, I’ve always been creative.

I used to write poetry, songs and stories, a stage play and a musical.

Even had something published when I was 15 or so.

Really weird too, because I don’t recall writing the piece.

But my mum sent me a scan of the article and yes there it is, author attribution and all.

And while I can’t understand how I could write something and get it published and completely forget about it, the style is definitely mine.

Anyway, back to resistance.

Or rather, back to how to get rid of that sucker once and for all.

See, while I went about my life, becoming a monk and dropping out, starting a business and burning it, and all the other ups and downs of life, I always knew at a deep level that art is key in my life.

The enjoyment of it, as well as the act of creating it myself.

But no, I had to do things my way.

I had to be a monk, a tailor, a tinkerer, the grandson of a spy (true fact).

Meanwhile, life bided its time until such time that I would cave in and accept the facts.

When that happened, I decided to make art my life and my life art.

Silly Martin, spending decades avoiding reality.

Now I don’t think that you’re resisting the artist part.

Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading these emails.

But there’s a good chance that you’re not a complete artist, as in: one who stands tall and sells enough and charges enough.

Markets enough, speaks up enough, gets seen enough.

And if you’re struggling with that kind of resistance, I have two words for you:

Give up.

Just that, nothing more: Give up.

Stop fighting, stop struggling and resisting and writhing like a man in a straightjacket.

You were meant to be an artist, and you are meant to be successful.

The only thing that stands in the way is your own resistance.

And the more you fight, the longer it will take before you meet the success you deserve.

Stop fighting and instead do what I did:

Embrace your reality, whatever yours might look like.

How’s that feel?



Two Artists, Three Bottles, and a Studio Full of Unsold and Unseen Art

“My time will come,” said Paul as he uncorked another bottle of wine. “You’ll see.”

Sweldon eyed him – both of him, rather. He tried to guess which of the two Pauls would be discovered first.

The one on the left, or the – slightly more steady – one on the right?

Strong wine, this.

He reached for his glass and successfully didn’t miss it.

“I’m sure you’re right, your work is good enough.

“S’better than most of the crap in the galleries these days.”

“Damn right it is,” slurred Paul. “I just need that one lucky break, you know?

“I swear to you once I’m out there, then people will recognise my work for what it is.

“Just one damn lucky break…”

His eyes glazed over, looking into a murky future – one he was doing absolutely zero to build.

“Did you call that gallery I mentioned?” said Sweldon.

“Screw ’em. They’re not worth the kind of work I do.

“Besides, what’s gonna come from a gallery? Crooks’n’thieves, all of ’em.”

“I don’t know man”, said Sweldon. “Sally got her work in one and things really picked up for her.”

Paul scoffed. “Yeah but come on. Sally, with those big blue eyes of hers.

“She could get anything done. That’s why isso unfair, ’s why no one ever gives me a break.

““Who’s gonna help out a short ’n fat half-gypsy.

Is racism, is whass wrong with the world.”

His bloodshot eyes led the way and he grabbed the bottle to fill up again.

“Dude, but maybe you oughta give it a try, you know?” said Sweldon.

“They won’t come crashing down your door jus coz of your work being so good.”

“Well they should, dammit! Nobody paints like I do!”

“Paul, I know that”, Sweldon sighed.

He looked around the studio, all the canvasses filling every inch of wall space. His work was undeniably impressive.

“But beyond you and me, who actually knows? Nobody sees you, you don’t go out, you don’t talk to people.”

“You wanna know why? Because they should be talking to ME.”

Sweldon sighed. These nights always turned out the same, somewhere halfway through the third bottle.

“I need to get home mate. I’ll give you a call tomorrow.”


As he walked to the door, he heard the clink of the bottleneck against the glass. He felt sorry for his friend – he deserved to be known, and seen, and sold.

But for some reason he just refused to do anything to make it happen.

The cold air hit him in the face and cleared his mind.

“Has to be some way I can get him to get busy. Nobody out there paints like he does.”

Have you seen this Paul in your neighborhood?

There’s never going to be any measure of success if an artist doesn’t get active, gets smart, and gets themselves and their work out there.

Because selling art isn’t magic.

It’s a process that you build on proven methods – and those you can learn, and apply.

Unlike poor sod Paul, who thinks the world will finally wake up one day and embrace his genius.

Instead, he could just step out and embrace the world – that would change things for sure.

To which a whole slew of artists can attest. Taylor Swift, for example.

Now there’s an artist who takes things into her own hands – and it’s no surprise she sells so many albums.

She embraces her fans too, sending them hand wrapped Xmas presents and all.

She doesn’t hide behind excuses – no, she just does what it takes to get seen and get sold. Pretty clever too, that one.

So what about you?

Have you stepped out yet, embraced the world?

Hey, Want to Send Me Some Bliss?

The cover was red.

On it was a black man in a white suit with a huge smile on his face and a trumpet in his hand.

In his other hand a white ‘kerchief, and in front of him a large book lay open.

There was something mysterious and alluring about it.

I turned the LP over, and back again.

“Louis and the good book”, it read. “With the Sy Oliver choir”.

I must have been 12 years old, squatting in front of my parent’s row of vinyl discs.

I schlepped up to my room, took the disc out of its covers, and carefully set the needle in the groove.

At the very first chord, I was in ecstasy.

What a deep and rich sound in the band, what a voice, what a choir.

And that trumpet – man, that trumpet.

I probably played that disk ten times in a row that day.

A disc – nay, and afternoon – full of Louis Armstrong singing spirituals.

I was thrilled, enraptured, utterly smitten.

Never to be the same.

It was bliss.

Over the years, I’ve had the same state befall me time and time again when learning new music.

Pink Floyd’s Meddle stands out.

Early Stones, back when they were into white-boy blues.

The first four albums of Funkadelic, rife with LSD (the musicians, not me).

Thanks for introducing me to those, Jeroen.

But there have been more, of course.

The chord progression in ‘While my guitar gently weeps’.

Derek and the Dominoes, Miles Davis, Mozart’s Requiem which I my father took me to hear in a church.

Bach – holy Bach, yes!

Or the very first polyphonic music ever composed, which I first heard when I was a novice monk studying musicology.

Or Jaga Jazzist (again: thanks Jeroen).

In short: I’m a sucker for good music.

As a form of art, I couldn’t live without it.

And each time I discover something new and it grabs me by the proverbials, I know that my life is richer, and will never be the same.

(Do feel free to send me your music suggestions – I’m open to anything and I can’t wait to discover a new form of music-inspired bliss).

In other words: this is your invitation to lay some Stendhal’s syndrome on me.

Just like happened to me last year in Dublin, when I suddenly discovered the visual arts.

Man did my life change.

Anyway, my point in all this?


If you don’t do everything you can to share your art with the world and allow for people to have that same experience, you’re only half an artist.

Bold, brutal and blunt?

Probably. But art changes lives, and you have that power.

Wield it, and make the world better and people happier.

Fun fact: the most successful artists became successful exactly because they knew it to be their duty to get out there.

Which you’ll learn about in the July LEAP.

Sign up to get it here –>



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