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

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

Change of Direction + Difficult Questions

Once, the Rabbi Akiva was on his way home with supplies from the village.

Lost in thought, he took a wrong turn on the way, until suddenly a voice sounded:

“Who are you and why are you here?”

Shaken, he looked up an realised he had wondered into the Roman garrison.

It was the guard who had accosted him.

Without missing a beat he countered with a question:

“How much do you get paid to stand here and ask that question of people?

The guard named an amount, to which Akiva replied:

“I’ll pay you double that for you to stand in front of my house and ask me that every morning when I leave”.

Who are you, and why are you here?

Do you know?

I sure don’t.

But I love the question.

So far, the only answers I have are tentative at best.

But I do believe it’s important to ask ourselves this.

Just like the question: Who are you for?

Who’s your ideal buyer, who do you really want to reach and change?

See, I feel that I should bring a bit more of my life-experience into my work, where it comes to consciousness and perception.

I’ve only ever written about those things in a sideways manner, if you will.

Always in the context of mindset and progress and growth.

Which I feel is a bit incomplete: after all, I did spend 12 years in a monastery and it gave me a lot. Changed me.

Not that it made me believe in God – in our monastery, it was all about psychology.

So I’m not going to get preachy at you – not now or ever.

The rule ‘no politics and no religion in this space’ stays.

But you will see me write more about, let’s say, higher aspects of being alive.

Because if there’s one thing I hold true, it’s that we’re not just biological robots in a meaningless universe.

Is there a purpose to life?

Who knows.

But there is a purpose in YOUR life, and I think it’s important that you ask yourself what that purpose is.

For one thing, because when you start to discover your purpose, it’ll become easier to align your choices and your actions, and reaching your goals will become more effortless and more fun.

And fun, well that’s just something that belongs in life.

Take it from an ex-monk.

Anyway, must dash.

Lots of work needs doing before I can launch my book.

Meanwhile, I have a few spots this month for doing site optimisation reviews.

Details are here –>



I Doubt the Guy Even Knows How to Hold a Brush – but You’ve GOT to Listen to What He Says…

*** Important notice before we start: I’m still getting emails asking when the videos of the seminar will be live.

They already are, but several people didn’t receive the link+password – probably because of spamfilters.

If you bought the videos, please reply back and I’ll send you the access info***

On with our regular programming.

The guy who doesn’t know how to hold a brush?

At least, I think so… that guy is Richard Branson.

And this morning I read a real doozy of a quote in his book ‘Business stripped bare’.

Sayeth Mr. Branson:


Business is creative. It’s like painting. You start with a blank canvas. You can paint anything – anything – and there, right there, is your first problem. For every good painting you might turn out, there are a zillion bad paintings just aching to drip off your brush. You pick a colour. The next colour you choose has to work with the first colour. The third colour has to work with the first and the second…

People who bad-mouth businessmen and women in general are missing the point. People in business who succeed have swallowed their fear and have set out to create something special, something to make a difference to people’s lives.


I find that intriguing – and, it’s what I’m always saying.

That the very act of building a business and figuring out your marketing process is a totally creative endeavour.

Which means that you as an artist are perfectly equipped to do it.

Question is, do you want to?

You want to sell your work, sure – but do you want to do what it takes?

If not, maybe dig what musician and entrepreneur Derek Sivers has to say about it:


Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.

Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself.

When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world.


Couldn’t have said it better myself, and I’m not even going to try.

But I do recommend you think about it long and hard.

In those words you can find the secret to unlocking your own potential as an art-preneur.

And that’s all I have for today.

Oh yeah, and the suggestion to, perhaps, get me on board as your business coach.

But, I can only help you if the above quotes are already a truth to you.

If so, here’s more information about working with me 1 on 1:



Building an Empire, Phase 2

You probably know by now that I’m a fairy ambitious kind of guy.

And yes, that was meant to say ‘fairly’, but I figured it’s the fun kind of typo.

Anyway, I have big plans, big dreams, and I’m willing to take risks to realise my dreams.

And if you’ve been reading me for a while, you also know I had a hectic start of the year.

By now I should have published my next two books, launched my art marketing expert interview site, several new interviews, and started several campaigns to both be more visible
and build up my email list.

But as it happened, the only thing I did pull off so far was host a seminar and get it published for sale online.

But now that’s been done and accomplished, and it’s time I move on to the next stage: publish books.

The goal is to get a new one on the market each month.

Not because I think being an author will make me rich (hah!), but it sure will help me grow my audience and my list.

So over the next few weeks, expect to see me talk about my book launch – probably quite a lot.

It’s going to be a series, obviously called ‘The LEAP Art Marketing Series’.

And if you’re new here, LEAP is the marketing system I created, and it stands for:

Listen, Explain, Ask, Prosper.

The first one in the series is called ‘Take Control of Your Art Business’.

It’s finalised, edited, it has professional cover design – it’s ready to show to the world.

And, you can get it for free.

In fact, you can get every book I publish (the entire LEAP series, but also the LEAP Marketing Bible I’ll publish later this year) absolutely free.

I will ask you for a favour in order to get them, but it won’t be anything big or time-consuming.

And hey, if you read these emails I guess you like my writing and the ideas I put into it, so getting all the books for free sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right?


But, I need to set up a bunch of things first, so let me get on with that.

Once everything is set up and my launch campaign is ready to start, I’ll let you know how you can get every book I’ll ever publish at 0 cost.

So stay tuned for that…



Marketing Your Art? Stop Feeding the Demons

Yesterday I told you that I’m not in the art-selling business, but that I’m in the people-changing business.

To which replied Gareth Naylor, long-time client and superb watercolour artist.



Hi Martin,

Enjoyable article.

I get it. You help artists change their mental state.

Although I am someone who works in and on my business, I realized recently that I have a deep belief that I am unlucky (basically the suffering artist or martyr idea) …

I think once you see these beliefs then they become less powerful.

I’ve listened to the seminar videos several times now.

I actually had a problem.

I was feeling overwhelmed.

But while listening to your seminar I learnt the few areas where I need to put my effort and that helped so much.

I understood the idea of strategy and tactics and I now have a more refined strategy.

I’m also glad that you talked about doing marketing that you find fun. FB is such a time waster.

Now, I have the idea of putting my efforts into you tube art demo videos.

And I loved the Seinfield system. I’m already doing that. I paint a picture every day and tick it off.

But I also need a marketing thing that I do everyday too.

So much to say, but we’ve all got lots to do right.

Final word: Many thanks for the video seminar, really enjoyed it and got a lot from it,



You know, I love it when people pick up on the things I say.

It’s so important that artists get to recognise their demons, and learn how to move past them.

Like Gareth says: once you see the limiting beliefs, they become less powerful.

And yes, that goes for that starving-artist-myth too.

Just like back in the monastery, when we would battle our negative tendencies, and we would get told over and over again:

Don’t fight it – accept it, instead.

If you try to fight the ‘demons’, all you do is feed them and make them stronger.

That’s why I’m adamant that when you want to sell more, and you’re willing to do more marketing, what you need to do is choosing activities that are fun.

That way you can bypass all the limiting beliefs and self-sabotage, and move straight into actions that get results…

… but without the struggle!

Gareth gets it.

And so might you, after you digest the content in this seminar a few times.

It’s no longer $25, but even at the current price of $49, it’s way too cheap according to one of the artists who was present at the live event.

So, you know… you could have fun, doing your art marketing.

And have a strategy, and get rid of your demons and starving artist myth, and, yes, sell more of your art.

Start here –>



I’m Not in the Art-Selling Business… (Guess What Business I Am In?)

“I’m not ready to commit to a three-month coaching program”, he tells me.

“The fee you mentioned isn’t actually the problem, but with the UK now wanting to get out of the EU, I need to see what happens.

“It’ll have a consequence for my finances – I might even be forced to end up going back to the UK”.

I tell him that it’s not a problem, that I’m not in any hurry.

After all, until he feels a ‘hell yes, let’s do this!’, it’s not the right time to start a coaching program.

Then he tells me that what he really wants, is to just focus on painting, and have someone else get him into galleries and exhibitions.

“So our deal would be that you, Martin, get my work seen, and I pay you a commission on the sales”.

I smile.

If I had a painting for each time an artist had offered me that deal, I’d have a museum full of art.

So I tell him:

“It’s not how I work. For one thing, I’d be building your business instead of mine, but more importantly:

“It’s not what I do.

“I don’t sell art, or rather:

“I’m not in the art-selling business – I’m in the people-changing business.

“My job as a business coach is to guide an artist to the point where, in our back&forth, he or she discovers exactly what kind of marketing activity fires them up.

“And then, I help them get really good at it.

“Besides: if I were to get your art sold for you, you’d still be dependent on an external source.

“Me instead of a gallery, but the principle is the same.

“And I happen to live with the conviction that the artist is emancipated.

“As in: unslaved. A free agent.

“Bearing their own responsibility”

Where ‘emancipation’ stems from the Latin ‘mancipium’ = slave.

We’re no longer slaves to gatekeepers and permission-givers.

We have the choice of course, to not do anything ourselves and let third parties get the work sold.

I don’t object to it, I’m just not going to be that third party.

Not what I’m trained for, good at, or indeed made for.

No, I’m not in the art-selling business.

I’m in the people-changing business.

People who want to leave behind the old and build the new, that’s the kind of artist I can help.

Who knows.

Maybe one day you too will reach out, wanting change.

When that day comes, you know where to find me.



Size Really Does Matter

Say what?

No, not THAT kind of size.

Sheesh, where’s your mind?

No, what I’m talking about is the size of the game you play.

You know, the game of life, and as part of that: the game of being in business.

Because it really is just like a game of chess – you make a move, you see the results, you lose a piece and then you take one, you work a strategy and see if it works…

It’s all just a masterfully dynamic and interesting game, that whole business thing.

But how big is your game, what level do you play at?

Some people, they play to not lose.

Carefully, no risk-taking,

Me, I prefer a different kind of game: the one where I’m playing to win.

And yes, that’s risky, and yes, it can blow up in my face.

But the curious thing is that it usually doesn’t.

I play to win, not to not-lose.

Like that seminar earlier this month.

I went all out, even though I’ve never spoken in public before.

My only stage experience was in school, acting at our school plays.

So I could have played it low-key, that seminar thing.

You know: invite a few personal friends, try it out, see how I perform.

That would have been playing to not lose.

But I play to win, so I got a little film crew to record it, I announced it on social media, pre-sold tickets to the videos for virtual access, got a writeup in a local newspaper…

I played big, made a ruckus… about something I have absolutely no experience with.

All I knew is that I have a good story to tell and I know how to teach.

And off he went into the sunset, your friendly little Stellar… playing the big game.

And as it turned out, everything went pretty well and people seemed to be pretty happy.

Was it scary?

Kinda, yes.

Was I nervous?

You bet.

Am I happy and satisfied that I plaid to win instead of to not lose?

Oh absolutely!

See, it’s really hard to get big results if you play a small game.

If you take small or no risk, the returns you can expect will be comparable in size.

Whereas if you play big, you might lose big – but you might also succeed big.

And that, to me, is always far more interesting.

Size really does matter.

I say, play a big game.

Play to win.

Here’s one way to play to win:

Write daily emails.

And, use them to tell people that you’re open for business, and that you have something they might want to buy.

Bonus: it’s pretty much impossible to lose with daily (or bi-weekly or weekly) emails.

Maybe you’ll lose a subscriber or two at first, but that’s a small loss compared to the increase in sales and the growth of your fanbase.

To get my personal training in how to write emails that sell your art, go here –>



Is 1000 True Fans Enough? What’s More, is it Smart?

A reader pointed me at an interesting article this morning.

It makes the case for 1000 true fans – the notion that as an artist, all you need in order to make a living, you only need 1000 folks to be avid fans.

And it makes sense too, because if 1000 people spend 100 bucks a year with you, you get to make a pretty decent living.

And 100 dollars a year isn’t a lot of money, if you’re a real fan of someone’s work.

On the flipside though, finding 1000 people who totally dig what you do isn’t exactly easy.

You’ll need to show up to 10.000 or 100.000 people in order to reach the 1000 who go crazy over you.

So the question is: do you want 1000 people to spend 100 with you, or would you rather have 10 people who give you 10.000?

You might think that nobody will pay you that much, but it all depends.

There’s a lot of psychology behind high-price items, and for people with a lot of spending power, the more expensive something is the more desirable it becomes.

So it really is a matter of strategy, and of being very specific who you target.

In the end, it’ll always be a mix of both: you’ll have high-ticket buyers, as well as peeps who only buy a few prints each year.

But between the two, you just might be able to build yourself an audience and fanbase that builds your business and prosperity.

Anyway, if you bought the seminar videos, watch your inbox because today I’m sending you the link where you can view and download them.

And if you want the article I mentioned and get a deeper understanding of the 1000 true fans concept, hit reply and I’ll send you the link.



On Being an Artist | Narcissus Was Here

Strange things happen when you start writing daily, with the purpose of inspiring people as well as selling your art.

An artist in the USA for example, who took my 30-day writing challenge.

She’s had a very interesting life and career, including competitive athletics, photography, professional musicianship, design, and currently photography.

So I suggested that as an optin freebie to build her list, she write a sort of autobiography, but as a picture book.

A timeline of stages in her career, with images and even her songs to go along with it.

Duly instructed, she got to work, and from the draft she sent me, it’s going to be magnificent.

But, she tells me it’s also making her feel a little awkward.

All that stuff about herself… isn’t that narcissism?

Narcissus being the mythological figure who fell in love with his own reflection in the still water of a pond.

This is what I told her:


As for being narcissistic – well, we’re artists.

It’s something we just have to come to terms with.

There’s a little Narcissus in all of us – it’s just that only the artists give that guy a mission and send him into the world to make a difference.

So, instead of beating yourself up over it, be proud of it.

You know full well that you have something beautiful to share, and your story is part of that.

Because hey, there’s a reason why autobiographies get to be bestsellers.

Aside from giving people a way to live vicariously through others, it’s also a way to inspire, to show possibility where the reader is used to seeing limitation, to throw beauty at people…

Think of a close friend, one who really likes you and your story.

You don’t ask yourself those self-doubt questions when talking to him or her, do you?

So write for that person, or such a person.

There are others in the world similar enough, and they will like your story. And it’s a big story to tell, so definitely keep up with this.


Look, only Kardashian fans like a person who is self-involved and self-absorbed.

But as an artist, you have something to be famous for, far beyond ‘being famous for being famous’.

And the trick is that it’s not necessarily your story itself, but what your story can mean to people, what it can do for them.

Ever read a (auto) biography and came away changed?


The tricky part is *how* to tell your story to make it ‘work’ for people.

And I can help.

It’ll take hard work and it’s a 3-month program, but you’ll come out a powerful, convincing, engaging, and yes, sales getting, writer.

Details here –>



Massive Sales, Results, and Catharsis

Lots of people have real trouble with doing businessy things.

Resistance is rife – but there’s a fix.

The trick is, as always, to start by choosing things you enjoy.

Behold a reader’s comment on my email, yesterday:


“Loved today’s email.  In regard to that:

One businessy thing that I enjoy is researching quotes to couple with my photographs for social media.

While doing so I am reminded of all that I am striving for, in regard to my mindset and soul. When I did this last week it actually created a shift in my energy, which was definitely hanging out in the ‘dark room.’

So sometimes a business-like act can actually have a spiritual outcome while also being productive in reaching my audience.

No doubt, the quotes I select reflect where I am in my own state of mind… Whether they are about courage or struggle, or light or love, they remind me to get in touch with what might be missing from my life at that moment.”


How’s that for healthy business activity?

She does something she enjoys, which helps her build an audience, and the upshot is a major shift in her emotional state.

Doesn’t get much better than that, I’d say.

And, you can achieve that for yourself too, if you want.

Which activity to choose?

Whatever you like + has merit for your exposure, list growth, or sales.

Pick one, do it, keep doing it.

The results will follow automatically.

The sales once you’ve been at it long enough, but the internal and emotional results can be almost instantaneous.

I discovered that for myself when I started writing daily emails.

It took about a week, and suddenly there was this switch in me.

I’d hit send, and realised: Even if I do nothing else today, it doesn’t matter because I’ve done the most important thing I can possibly do for my business and my life:

I’ve reached out in an attempt to help and inspire my audience.

From that day onward, daily emails were a joy to write.

And, yes, the results are there too.

Have you started your 30-day email challenge yet?



Is That a Trick Question in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Another reader writes in, with only one sentence:

“What practical everyday advice do you offer? ”

Hmmm… I wonder if that’s a trick question.

Maybe she’s not happy that I send emails everyday and it’s a way to express her dissatisfaction.

Or maybe she doesn’t’ get how in each email I send, there’s always some practical advice – whether it’s to do something, or to think about something, or to ask yourself a question.

But, it could be a genuine question, as in:

What would I advise an artist does, every day, in a practical sense.

And if that’s the question, the answer is… well, do something businessy.

Yes, of course what you do matters but at a basic level, anything you would choose to do could be helpful.

Just so long as the goal of the activity is first to grow your visibility, second to grow your list, and ultimately to get you more sales.

And if you pick an activity – any activity, really – that qualifies for those three goals, all you need to do is spend 30 minutes on it, every single day.

Will 30 minutes a day be enough to grow a healthy art business?

By itself probably not.

But I guarantee that if you make a habit out of it, and you keep it up for a few months, things will start to change for you.

It all ads up, you know.

You can fill a bathtub with just a drop a day.

Sure it’ll take a long time, but in the end it’ll be full.

So the question is, really, how fast do you want your art business to grow?

If you’re driven, committed, and you really want to grow that baby of yours, you could also start emptying cups, or even buckets into the tub.

Meaning, spend an hour, or two, or… well, however fast you want to grow, really.

And what then should you do, during that daily business time?

Can be anything. For example:

•    writing emails to your list

•    curating content on social media that your audience will like

•    getting in touch with previous buyers

•    researching your buyer’s psychology by creating a survey

•    actively connecting with your target audience on social media and growing your following

•    Installing optin forms on your site (Sumome is a great WordPress plugin) and offering a freebie when people sign up

•    contacting the press about the message that goes along with your art and getting exposure that way

•    teaming up with a local charity or joining online forums/local communities and becoming a valued peer

Any of those ideas resonate with you?

Then pick one or several and install them as habits in your day.

Keep at it, and growth will be inevitable.

But tell me: which business habits have been most effective for you?



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