How Jack Butcher Productized Himself

finished note • Aug 11, 2022 •

This is the story of Jack Butcher: how he escaped competition through authenticity. By combining his artistic skill with his expertise in understanding value, he created a whole new market for himself.

Today Jack Butcher has an online audience of over 500k, earns $100,000 a month, and runs an infinitely scalable business. But just 4 years ago, in 2018, he was burnt out running an ad agency serving corporate clients. The insight behind this transition? Productizing himself.

He started down the standard career path. Studying design at university and then spent a decade working in the industry. Bouncing around different jobs, picking up new skills, building connections. In 2018, he started his own advertising agency. Shooting videos, commercials, and full-stack creative work. Serving corporate clients as a single-person agency turned out to be super exhausting and he was feeling burnt out by the end of the year.

But working on his business revealed some important things about the industry. He observed that clients weren’t coming to him for his skill-set. There was no reason to choose him over another agency specializing in (say) shooting video-commercials. He had built up a strong network at his previous jobs and his new agency was benefiting from that. He quickly understood that this wouldn’t be sustainable and he had to either scale up or pivot.

  1. He could hire either some designers, managers and scale his agency to handle corporate clients; or,
  2. Pivot the agency in one specific, narrow direction to eliminate competition.

He chose to dig in and focus on a very specific part of the design process: pitch decks. A pitch deck is essentially a sort of presentation used to introduce and communicate an idea to win a job or contract. It itself is (usually) not the product. But he had spent so much time refining that process, he could build a brand around that as a product.

But there were other’s doing this right? What was his special sauce?

As a graphic designer he had to compete a massive pool of other designers. But by layering his skill as a artist with his expertise for understanding value, he created a whole new market with no competition. With no competition around he captured all demand and scaled it using media.

Venn Diagram representing Jack's skills relative to the design industry.

Venn Diagram representing Jack's skills relative to the design industry.

To conclude, these are the key insight we can draw from Jack’s journey:

  1. Hard skills are scalable, but fungible - meaning they can be easily replaced.
  2. Soft skills help you build connections and earn their trust. Professional connections are not fungible, but they’re not scalable/sustainable either.
  3. Specific knowledge is non-fungible, and it’s scalable. For example: Jack has a specific skill of understanding value, and conveying it through visuals.

Thanks for reading!

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