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

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

Last Chance, for the New Year is Nigh (Also: Sometimes I’m a Dumbass)

Here’s me, telling you that in order for your website to convert, it needs to be just right.

The copy, the design, the placement and font size and what have you.

It all needs to check out.

Telling you that if you want people to sign up or buy your art, they need to know you, like you, and, absolutely indispensable: trust you.

So I set up a page with a special discount offer, to help you get everything right.

And what happens?

I get careless with the copy, don’t check the dates (it was the same page I used in September, modified), and launch it.

Start sending you the link to check it out, and wonder…

How come fewer people than expected are taking up this offer?

Until yesterday, when a helpful reader sends me an email, saying there’s some weird stuff on that page, that the delivery date is in the past.

Hence, my saying that sometimes I’m a dumbass.

How are you going to trust that I actually know how to improve your copy and your site conversion, if my own salespage for it is riddled with errors?

That right there is a total trust-breaker.

And trust is so subtle, and so important.

The slightest mistake or missing element – something as silly as a comma in the wrong place can confuse a reader, and when there’s confusion, there’s less trust.

So, don’t do as I do.

Check your pages, and don’t be hasty.

I’ve learned my lesson, so maybe you can learn from my mistake.

Meanwhile, the offer still stands, until the New Year arrives.

And whether or not you grab it, I wish you so much luck and prosperity in the New Year.

I thank you for reading me, for your support and feedback, and above all:

I honour you for wanting to become better and more professional at running your art business.

Here’s the corrected page, if you happen to trust me enough to deliver the goods and that they’ll be good –>

Happy New Year!


My ONE Recommendation For Your Art Business in 2016

There’s all kinds of things you coulda, oughta, or shoulda do in order to grow your business.

More planning, more investing, more learning, more getting out there… who knows what the missing link is in your particular case.

But if there’s one thing you need, and you ALL need it without exception, it’s this:

Persistent, relentless communication.

No exception.

You need this.

You can have the best website, a huge following on social media, advertisement that attracts traffic, you name it.

But if you don’t build and maintain a consistent habit of communicating with the people who have shown an interest in you, your creative business will always be hard work.

I realised this yesterday.

On the phone with a friend, an artist.

She’s on my email list, and she mentioned: “I miss your daily emails”.

A slight panic in me: has Mailchimp failed again, is she not receiving my emails any more?

I ask her when was the last one – she thinks, and tells me that it was on Friday.

Whew. All normal then.

“It was the weekend, I decided to take a few days off. My promise to myself is to write 5 times a week or more, so I’m allowed to skip a weekend if I
want to”.

But realise what this means:

Just because on average I write 5,5 times a week, someone who actually cares about my work will feel like I haven’t written in ages, if I skip as little as two days.

Such is the power of persistent, relentless communication.

Persistence is key no matter what kind of success you are aiming for.

And when it comes to selling your art, persisting in communication is the name of the game.

Personally, I think email is the best way.

It’s fast, easy, free, and it creates tremendously strong bonds.

But, it only works if you stick to a rhythm.

Which is why I’m writing you this at 23.44 – much too late in the day, but I’ll write a daily email come hell or high water.

It promised myself.

Of course I should have done it first thing this morning like I usually do, but I lost myself in planning my new year, and then a friend from 20 years ago turned up.

Couldn’t really tell him I have work to do, could I?

He’s asleep now, so I can do what matters most to my business: Talk to the people who get something useful out of my writing.

You can do the same thing, provided you’re willing to commit to a routine and keep it up.

I tell you, it works.

Of course you do need a list of subscribers to write to (or send videos of your studio updates, if you prefer).

And if you’re getting traffic to your site, but not enough subscribers, I can help.

The website conversion optimisation package is still on heavy discount, but only for a few more days.

You can get it here before the price goes back to normal –>



Kill the Unicorn

Maybe you think that 2016 will be different.

Given that you’re a human being, it’s very likely that you something significant will change.

Maybe in yourself, maybe in your external circumstances.

Who knows, maybe you secretly (or not so secretly) hope that this year, you’ll be discovered.

That a certain gallery or museum will pick you up.

That you get a book deal offered, or that a record label will want to sign you.

Could be that you hope that you’ll finally reach that income threshold – whether that means living off your art or finally being able to invest, save up, and take your family on a fantastic vacation.

Note: if the latter becomes possible and your vacation is in Spain: do look me up.

Now, I believe all those things are possible.

But there’s a problem:

All those things are a unicorn.

They exist only in a fundamentally uncertain future, a dream world we create for ourselves.

The future doesn’t exist, and neither do any of the things we project into the future.

It’s only once we reach that date, or that accomplishment, that they become real, but then they’re the present and no longer the future.

And if you base your career on unicorns showing up, I promise you that you’re going to be in for a very rough ride.

Things don’t get handed to you on silver platters, it’s not how life works.

J.K. Rowling spent years trying to get Harry Potter published, and Stephen King got so many rejection letters that he had to replace the nail he used to stick them on with a longer one.

The wonderful and magnificent things that life bestows on us, they are the consequence of our own actions.

But only always, as Steve Chandler likes to put it.

For example, that book deal I was offered a few months ago – that wasn’t a unicorn come alive.

That was simply the consequence of creating the LEAP system, and writing articles every single day.

Added to that a client who happens to do commission work for a publisher, and my serving my client far beyond the call of duty.

She told the publisher about me, he signed up to my list, and at some point he made a proposal.

In other words: I built that, with my own two hands.

Of course since I turned down the offer, I now have a choice: either self-publish my magnum opus, or…

Create a new opportunity to get a book deal.

Which is why tomorrow I have a call with a book publishing coach, and I’ll be shopping my book around publishers in the coming year.

(I’m talking about the fundamental LEAP book, not my ebooks – those, I’ll publish on my own).

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to make my opportunities, rather than hope that unicorns really do exist.

There are no unicorns in my life, not anymore.

I’ve killed them all, and all that I have left is my brain, my two hands, and hard work.

Maybe all this seems dreary to you.

But to me it’s become a joy to think like this and certainly to do the work.

You are the architect of your life.

What you’ll end up building is not going to be exactly what you design at the start, but however it may turn out, you’re going to be the one who has built it.

No unicorns: realism.

Now, before I go into my ‘year ahead’ ritual for the day, I just want to remind you of the special offer:

You can get your about page fixed and polished by me, plus a custom-written two-page report on how to tweak your site so that more of your visitors turn into subscribers or buyers, at a very steep discount.

This offer is only for my subscribers, and only available until the 31st.

Details here –>



Letter to Santa (What I Want for Christmas)

Dear Santa,

I know that life hasn’t been easy on you lately.

Lots of people no longer believe in you, and I can’t imagine how awful that must feel.

Aside from that, Amazon and online retail in general must be terrible competition.

And what with hypes like Cybermonday and Black Friday, do people even want stuff anymore, come Christmas?

Oh right, I forgot: some people always want more stuff.

But, don’t you think things would get easier if you get with the times a little?

I mean, all that flying round in a sleigh – doesn’t that wear on you?

At your age, I imagine the cold must be a real drag.

And speaking about drag: reindeer and a sleigh are hardly aerodynamic, are they?

As for the reindeer: I’m sure you’re a friendly person and you just grew into it, but these days it’s become quite unacceptable to treat animals that way, making them work they way you do.

No, I think you’d be much better off using some technology.

I mean, even Amazon is going to use drones for delivery, so you might want to look into that.

But the real reason I’m writing you this letter, is to ask for my present.

And it’s not a present for me.

What I want for Christmas, this year and onward into the future, is for you to give people more art.

Because really, how many Nike shoes does a kid need?

And how much happier does a marriage become when you give the husband an Xbox?

Think about it: what people ask for might be what they want, but that’s not necessarily what makes them happy.

And you’ll agree with me that behind every want a person may have, the ultimate desire is to become a happier person.

And I don’t know if you’ve read the news the last few thousand years, but the more art there is in people’s lives, the better those lives get.

Theatre, opera, music, painting, dance, sculpture, literature…

All those things make life better and the world happier.

So it’s not that I want to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, but…

The world doesn’t need more toys and iPhones – it needs more art.

So that’s the only Christmas present I want, please: more art under the Christmas tree.

I’m sure you know which kind each person would be happiest with.



Happy holidays everyone!

There Are No Gatekeepers. Also: There Are Millions of Gatekeepers

If you’ve read me for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big proponent of such fun things as autonomy, agency, and a healthy dose of taking responsibility for our success as an artist.

And if ever I talk in my sleep, I probably cheer things like “The internet has emancipated artists and revoked control from the gatekeeping art establishment! Huzzah!”

Not that I would know, since I’m usually asleep when I talk in my sleep. Most of the time.

Anyway, this morning I was reading the excellent book Write. Publish. Repeat.

It was written by the guys of the Self Publishing Podcast, and I’m studying it so as to be properly prepared for when I launch my first book next month.

In it, I read: “There are no more gatekeepers”.

It’s true: these days an author can decide on their own to publish a book. No publisher required.

But the book also said that there are endless amounts of gatekeepers.

As in: your own audience.

Those are the people who decide to let you in or not.

They are the ones who get to show you their appreciation or buy your work.

And it’s important to be aware of this.

Too often, artists work in a vacuum – their own little bubble of creativity.

But staying locked up in your studio – nice as it may be – won’t help you in a business sense.

As long as you don’t step out and actively seek out your own audience, you won’t go very far.

And, you’ll be relegated to the permission that a gallery, critic or agent gives you.

Which means you’re not in control, not taking responsibility, and effectively indentured to the art establishment.

And that, in my opinion, is completely opposite to what being an artist is about.

You create things, it’s what you were made for.

So why not create your own life, business and success?

It’s in your power and in your control – provided you’re willing to take control.



You’ll find that once you start to build relationships with people, and have conversations about your art, people will really resonate with you.

Like Karin, last month.

She sent out 30 emails to influential people, announcing her show and inviting them over.

10 people responded very enthusiastically.

And one – a well-known educator, author and blogger, took the time to travel to meet her and talk about her work.

Getting your work out into the world isn’t hard work.

But to get it out there, you do need to work on the ‘in-here’.

That’s where the magic happens, that’s what will enable you to promote, market and sell your art.

I may not know you personally, but I can make an educated guess, in that if you’re not seeing the success you know you deserve, there’s something in your mind and the way you talk to yourself, that’s preventing you from growing your own art business, your way, on your own terms.

Self-awareness and a bit of courage are a good starting point to get rid of those obstacles.

If this resonates with you, hit reply and tell me where you’re stuck.

Maybe I can help.

Cheers, and have a wonderful Christmas, everyone.


AMEI Interview: How to Generate Massive Free Publicity for Your Art Business or Your Show

Yet another terrific Art Marketing Expert Interview, showing you how to get free press for your creative business:

In this interview, you’ll hear:

•    Why persistence matters: Luke just kept trying until he made something work, and he discovered that publicity was the thing that got people take him seriously.

•    Luke will also explain why interviews are much more effective than advertising, because they get you attention and authority.

•    Not only that: publicity also gives you the halo effect: it’s like an implicit endorsement

•    Not that it’s a replacement for marketing, but it’s one of the big overlooked opportunities and you’d do well to make use of it

•    Luke will explain why the mental block is the biggest problem for people who want to get press (aka the small poppy syndrome), and the workaround you can use to get publicity anyway.

•    Luke says that the key to publicity is giving a mix of entertainment and useful how-to information, or infotainment if you will

•    The one thing to avoid though when reaching out to journalists, is making it sound like an ad, and Luke will give very specific instructions on how to pitch news outlets with your story.

•    And, he’ll tell you how to get press by working with local outlets and talking about the local economy

•    Here’s another little tip to make it work: get a non-profit sponsor, or work with a local charity, And here’s another trick: if you happen to have a sticks and bricks location, why not become a drop off point for charity?

•    Basically, any event in your area can be a golden opportunity to have the news pick up your story.

•    Luke will share with you his tried and tested formula for getting press, for free, time and time again.

•    He will also tell you his case study, where a local gym owner who had gotten tired of her business and wanted to sell it. She organised an event, got the rapper Flo Rida to show up and rap some tracks, drummed up the press, and ended up selling her business with a big profit.

•    You’ll also hear an experiment I did trying to get some articles printed in the local press, but they were rejected – and Luke’s advice on how to make sure they’ll pick me up next time.

•    In the end, Luke says, it’s not about selling yourself, or even your art: you want to sell the press people your story idea.

•    He will tell you which website to use in order to automatically find reporters actively looking for interesting stories – and that could be your story.

•    Luke also tells you why Paul Hartunian is a guy you must follow and learn from if you want to use publicity to grow your creative business.

•    But, Luke says, if you want to get publicity you need to be very targeted in who you pitch to, otherwise you just spend a lot of energy for little result.

•    In essence, it comes down to your ability to appeal to the vanity of the journalists and news anchors.

•    You’ll hear Luke’s top tips for how to formulate your pitch, and what you must always include and avoid.

•    He’ll tell you about the three levels of radio stations, and how to move up the food chain, and why brokered radio is always hungry for guests.

•    And, Luke will share with you how you can use local events, ride the wave, and potentially get massive exposure and free press.

This interview can make a huge difference to your creative business, and I totally recommend you listen to it, notebook in hand.


Time for You to Start Thinking Like the Engineer You Already Are

The boy heard the planes in the distance, and he knew what they meant: Dirty bombs.

He was in the Sudan, tending his family’s goats, and he knew he wouldn’t make it to the foxholes in time.

The best he could do was snuggle up to a tree, and hope the bombs would fall on the other side, and not behind him.

He was right: they did fall on the other side.

He survived.

But if he had decided to hide himself behind the tree instead of wrap his arms around it, he wouldn’t have lost them.

When Mick Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible Labs, heard about it, he travelled to meet the boy.

He made him 3D printed prostethic limbs, and taught the people in the area how to do it.

A good service rendered, given the fact that those bombs fall often in that area.

Mick is a man who thinks like an engineer.

And so am I, and so should you.

So let’s deconstruct that.

All my life, I’ve had to invent things, learn missing bits of information, experiment, discover, create.

As a tailor, I was trained to translate the 3D shape of a body into a 2D representation onto paper.

Then, I’d have to translate that back into 3 dimensions, by way of steam, curved seams, and gathering or stretching of fabric.

That right there is a form of engineering, because no two bodies are alike, and no cutting system is failsafe.

It always requires the mind and experience of the tailor to ultimately turn it into a suit that looks like a million bucks and feels as comfortable as a sweater.

At other times, I had to figure out  how to repair roofs or walls in our monastery – a 400-year old former hotel that had been built with oak beams and mud-covered lattice.

Any time you tried to put a screw into the wall, there was a real risk of half the wall crumbling down.

There was also a time when I tried to write a computer program that could plot a shirt pattern based on measurements, and it worked.

Had to learn Visual Basic for it, and experiment, and in the end it worked.

I’ve had to build igloo tents from scratch, which I did with a sewing machine and careful study of tents I saw in shops.

In other words: I’ve always had to use the mindset and attitude of an engineer to create something.

Just like Mick: when he restores speech to someone, or prints prosthetic limbs, he doesn’t do it the traditional way – with huge budgets and the latest technology.

No, he goes for the simplest solution, and that’s exactly how we as artists should run our business.

It’s what I do too.

Creating an art business that sustains you and gets you the success you need isn’t rocket science.

It’s not about being the best at marketing.

You don’t need to understand SEO or display advertising.

You don’t have to be a free publicity expert.

All you need to to is think like an engineer.

Which means: look at what you have in place, and how it works.

See which things in your buwiness get you the best results.

Eliminate those those things that don’t contribute much or that are too cumbersome.

See which 20% of your activities get you 80% of your results, and drop the other 80% so that you can focus on those things which work best for you.

Be efficient, look for the simplest possible elegant solution.

And always, always focus on the very essence of a creative business: relationships.

That’s what everything will always revolve around.

Maybe you think it’s dry and dull, this ‘think like an engineer’ concept.

I can tell you from experience that it’s not.

It’s highly creative, it requires resourcefulness and connecting things.

Still don’t like the word?

Ok, then maybe look at it as being an inventor.

Either way, the way you think and the way you think about your thinking will determine how smooth your ride will be.

And I assure you that if you try hard enough, and once you find the ‘magic’ method for your particular personality, the whole business side of things is going to be a ton of fun.

Oh, and hey: you know what’s also fun?

When people come to your site, and bam! They turn into subscribers or buyers.

I can help with that –>



Not Just for Painters (My Definition of ‘Artist’)

“Martin, why do you only work with painters?”

I blinked, not understanding.

“Well, you say artists on your webiste, and you’re always writing and talking about artists”.

“And?”, I said. “That includes a lot of things for me. Sculpture is art, as is writing, and dancing, and photography and singing and composing, to name but a few”.

“Ah, right. I didn’t get that’.

Hm. I might have a branding issue, apparently.

The dude is right: it can easily be misunderstood.

Which is a pity, because the people I love to work with don’t have to be people who create art.

A graphic designer for example – that’s a creative professional as well.

Or an event manager, or wedding planner, or a tailor or blacksmith.

But it goes further.

See, the kind of person I really REALLY love to work with is an individual who is in the business of creating.

I mean that very literally: The business of creating.

In other words: he or she who has set out to make a living by employing the creative ability that every human being is equipped with.

And that can mean all kinds of people: a yoga teacher, or a martial arts instructor.

Can be a copywriter or a web designer or a motivational speaker – I’m open to everything and everyone.

There’s only two criteria that qualify a potential client:

1: My client must be a ‘good egg’s i.e. a person with ethics, who wants to make a dent in the universe for the greater good, and who wants to build something that humanity (or individuals) get better from.

2: My client must see living, creating (art or otherwise), business and marketing all as one big creative endeavour, and very consciously so.

Of course there are elements that are artistic and elements that are more technical, but in the end it’s all a matter of creating.

Which, incidentally, is something every human being does, all day long.

It’s just that not everyone is aware of it.

Most people just live the life they live, without being aware that they can create a different reality for themselves.

The people who ARE aware, those are the ones I can help.

So I’d better ask Emma to change my logo, so as to say “Business coach for ambitious artists and creative professionals”.

Anyway, yesterday I told you my custom site conversion optimisation discount offer is live again.

I haven’t checked my inbox yet so I don’t know how many people took me up on it.

But I think I should limit it to ten, because otherwise I’ll never be able to get them all done by the first week of January.

If you want to secure your spot at a very large discount, here’s where you get it –>



The Secret Behind My Recent Absence of Procrastination and Massive Productivity

In a minute, I’m going to teach you something very useful.

Something essential, in fact.

But before I do, let me explain whence came Martin MKII.

See, some of you have remarked that I’m a real busybee of late.

Someone said I’m on fire.

Most everyone who got in touch say they like the direction and going and the plans I’m making.

And personally, I feel like a new man.

Procrastination and I used to be great friends, but not long ago I saw through the charade.

I realised what a lying, selfish cheat he really was, and I fired him on the spot.

Haven’t seen him since, and good riddance.

Maybe you think it’s because I’m superhuman (I’m not).

Or that I have it easy, what with 20 years of meditation and so on.

That’s not it either.

The reason my life and work have changed so dramatically is that I hired a coach.

I signed up for Peter Shallard’s Commit Action program, and wow…

It’s ridiculously effective.

It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.

Then again, given how ridiculously focused and productive I’ve become, the $125 monthly fee is a bargain.

But, I can understand you might not be able to afford it, and if so, you can still apply the principles for yourself.

Let me show you what they are.

(And these are not proprietary, I’m not spilling the beans: he explains them himself in publicly visible videos).

Commit Action works with 5 pillars.

Pillar one: Specificity
Be very clear on which actions will have the biggest impact, move the needle most for your business. Set 3 tasks each week – big ones but make sure they’re attainable.

Pillar 2: Measurement
Religiously track all your progress. What gets measured improves. A spreadsheet, calendar, notebook – or the way I do it, with a table I print out each week. On the left the tasks, at the top, and each time something gets done it’s gets a tickmark.

Pillar 3: Accountability
Find someone to check in with you each week, and have them ask if it all worked, and if not, why not. When you didn’t manage all tasks (it will happen), make sure they don’t reprimand you, but have them ask what can you do next week to remove obstacles.

Pillar 4: Deadlines
For each weekly task, you have to get it done. Period. His program is called Commit Action for a reason, so commit to take take action.

Pillar 5: Play
It’s vital that you take time to relax, enjoy yourself, smell the flowers or look at the stars.

These five pillars, if you take them seriously and work with them, will make a big difference to your focus, your performance, your business results and ultimately to your bank account.

They’ve made a massive difference to my life, and whether you sign up for his program or work with it on your own, I totally recommend you install these 5 pillars in your life.

Why not put it to use for yourself?

Peter is no dummy.

After all, he’s worked with 100s of entrepreneurs and consistently finds that the successful ones have those 5 pillars in their life and work.

They work for me, and will probably for you.

Not a bad idea to install them in your own life, and make your 2016 better than any previous year.

Now, the teaching bit.

I asked Peter if he was ok with me publishing this, and he said “Sure! I’d appreciate a link”.

Which is something that I can’t do.

See, these daily emails serve various purposes.

To entertain, to instill thoughts in your mind, to cause you to think differently, to get empowered and inspired.

They also demonstrate how to do email marketing and do it right.

And of course, they also serve to let you know I have services on offer that might be of interest to you.

But, if I’m going to link to his site, I’d be showing you how to do it wrong.

Email marketing 101: One email, one desired action for the reader to take.

Which is for you to consider working with me, and maybe click to read more about what I offer.

Linking to his site would mean I put my own business in gear in order to sell someone else’s service.

You wouldn’t send an email and then end with ‘Now go to this other artist’s website, and buy their work, not mine’.

Would you?

Of course not.

There’s one exception, and that’s if there’s an affiliate setup, where clicks get tracked and you’d earn a commission for referring a customer.

In that case, it would make total sense to link to someone else.

And, if Peter would have an affiliate program, sure I would link to it. But he hasn’t got one yet.

So, if you want to join the commit action program, you can find it at

But the link in this email goes to my own site, just the way it should.

Which page on my site?

The one where you can sign up for my email marketing intensive training course, which will teach you how to write like Stellar.

It’s this one –>



If It’s Broken, Don’t Fix It

Wtf Martin? That’s totally opposite to what you normally say!

Yes indeed.

Normally I’ll tell you that if you’re not getting the results you want, you need to carefully observe your systems and activities, identify what’s broken, and then go fix it.

So if your site isn’t converting, it may be because you’re not getting traffic, or it could be the design isn’t right for conversions, or maybe your copy just doesn’t do the trick.

You figure out the weak spot, and you repair it.

Makes sense, right?

It’s quintessential to know what’s broken, it’s really important to know where the bottleneck is.

If your car keeps stalling, an incompetent mechanic might say ‘carburetor’ and stick in a new one, but a good mechanic will make sure to check if the fuel line isn’t clogged first.

This is why listening is such an important part of my work.

Whether it’s in the context of coaching people, or running my own business, it’s always a matter of being very observant, and making sure that I know what’s broken.

And that, the missing part or the broken part, that’s the only thing I fix.

In other cases though, you might be better off ignoring the broken part completely and leaving it just as it is.

Specifically in the context of personal development, mindset, or habits.

To wit: Imagine you’re disorganised, and for all your two decades of trying to fix that, your studio and your plans and your calendar are still a mess.

You could try – again! – to do something about it.

Another course, or book, or app.

But there’s a good chance it won’t work – again.

So instead of wasting your energy trying to fix that, you can also consider letting it be, and focussing your attention on something else.

Instead of fixing what’s broken, why not improve what’s good?

Ok, so you’re disorganised.


But you’re also absolutely great at talking with people.

They love your energy, your style, it’s always so much fun and hey: each time you get to have a conversation with people, they either become a buyer on the spot, or they become part of your network.

See where I’m going?

There’s talents and capacities you have, that if only you amplify and improve them even more, will bring you great results.

In the last few weeks of this year, I want you to think about that.

The decisions you’re about to make regarding your business in 2016: ask yourself whether you should try to fix something broken and with little chance of success, or whether you’re better off trying to improve something already good, and making it stellar good.

I’m not telling you which to choose.

I just want you to be deliberate about it.

Oh, and if you know that your site isn’t working for you, and you know it’s not set up for conversions, then you can get my custom conversion optimisation review, which tells you exactly how to fix it.

This is where you can get it –>



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