How Jack Butcher went from agency to creator business earning $1M+ per year with 99% profit margins

Grow your business by learning the frameworks, techniques, and mindsets Jack used to create Visualize Value...

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Wes Kimbell

Jun 22 2021

8 mins read

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I've always been obsessed with the idea of a one-person, million dollar business.

Well, maybe not always. To be honest, it's more like I became obsessed in the middle of building a stressful B2B, with a team of 30 people, and when one of my key employees (and friends) quit without warning... 

Now let's be clear, a 30 person team isn't really that big. But it was enough people to make me realize the single most difficult thing about growing a business is managing people (IMHO)

Everyone is different. People respond to incentives and disincentives differently. You have to understand what makes each person "tick" and should never assume they react or think the same way you do. 

I was able to build the business to 8-figures in yearly revenue and eventually exit for a decent pay day. But was it worth all the heartache, ruined friendships, long work-weeks (trading time for money), stress, and negative health?

Yes, yes. I know what you are saying. When companies reach a certain growth level you hire managers who can manage employees so you don't have to. Yes, I agree. But to be honest, I did do that eventually but it was quite a slog to get there. Even then you still have to manage the managers.

But it was when we decided to pursue an exit that I discovered the Creator Economy: People who create and design products or services that can sometimes pull in millions of dollars in yearly revenue all by themselves. No employees to manage, hire, train, worry about, pursuade, incentivize, or fire. Oh, and did I mention 99% profit margins?

So I decided I would commit to studying every highly succesful solopreneur I could find, distill the frameworks, mindsets, and techniques in order to find out how they did it...

Jack Butcher is one such creator.

His background is like many of us creators and entrepreneurs. But there’s one key framework that set him apart from most of us. I’ll share more about that in a moment...

But first, let's get the context of Jack Butcher's story.

After graduating from University studying graphic design Jack moved from London to New York City in 2010. He managed to nab a design internship after blasting every single internship ad on Craiglist. He only got one response. 

He shuffled between eight or nine other design agencies in the city but after seven or so years growing his network, he decided he would go out on his own and start his own design agency, which he admits was "somewhat arrogant and naive," at the time. 

But soon, like many of us who plunge into the cold waters of entrepreneurship, Jack got incredibly burnt out after a year and knew something had to change.

And here's when his story begins to differ from most other entreprnuers. Instead of plodding through with more agency work, he realized by running an agency he was simply trading time for money. He loved helping clients with their design projects, but he became aware he had little leverage. "My time became the restricted variable," he said in an interview

Working harder did not help. His agency was earning $30,000 to $40,000 per month with 50 or 60 hours of labor. He described this work as "incredibly, laborious work." 

Jack began asking himself how he could increase the leverage he had at the agency. Jack didn't have an immediate answer to that just yet but he noticed he was really good at visualizing concepts for clients (oftentimes on slide decks) and didn't have much competition in that area. 

He started an Instagram account called Visualize Value and posted compellingly simple visualizations of valuable concepts--mostly related to business. His intention was to attract more service clients by demonstrating his ability to communicate complex ideas through simple design. 

Jack told me it took about 12 months, but eventually the Visualize Value brand not only brought in more one-on-one work than his agency could take on, but also showed him this was something really big. 

He came across a tweetstorm by AngelList's founder Naval Ravikant. It inspired Jack to visualize those tweets and post to Jack's instagram account.

visualizevalue

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A post shared by @visualizevalue

That's when Visualize Value exploded. Within two years, his Twitter and Instagram accounts grew to over 100,000 followers. His Instagram account currently stands at over 230,000+ followers.

Jack soon realized Visualize Value is the asset he needed to leverage his time. It was the vehicle that would allow him to stop trading time for money. And this is the key framework used by Jack that separates himself from most entreprenuers. 

He used his unique ability to visualize value and the years of skills learned doing agency work and leveraged his time by creating online courses where he could teach others valuable skills he learned. His online courses  (including "How to Visualize Value," and "Build Once, Sell Twice" ) have led to over $100,000 per month in revenue with 99% profit margins over the course of 18 months.

But this did not come easy. In fact, he told me the biggest struggle he had building Visualize Value was doubt. It was difficult for him to believe Visulalize Value could get "big enough to not rely on service work." But he stuck to it and eventually succeeded.

Now Jack is confident in his ability to 'make things that make it easier to learn, teach, build, and sell'.

I've distilled some of the key techniquesframeworks, and mindsets Jack used to build his creator empire and compiled them for you, below. I interviewed Jack myself and distilled many long form hour long interviews others have done with Jack and did my best to extract all the good stuff so you can save time and get to the bottom of how he got to where he is.


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The Techniques

  • On using restraint to create your ideal business: "Create one decision, to save yourself from one thousand decisions," Jack said. He chose to keep his designs constrained (black and white simplicity) because it leads to him being more creative in his message rather than putting his creative energy in picking the typeface, color, or other elements.
  • On staying consistent: Start from a position of producing someting you can sustain and then keep going.
  • On growth: Don't focus on growing a massive audience. Otherwise it will distort your thinking away from the individual. "If you're talking to everyone, you're talking to no one," he said.
  • On naming a company, brand or product: The name Visualize Value was acutally intended to help agency clients understand the service he was offering, and the implication of helping clients bring value by visualizations. If Jack would have had a generic name for his design course, he wouldn’t have stuck out from the thousands of other courses. By calling his course 'How to Visualize Value,' he described the outcome in the title, which brought in more sales.

The Frameworks

  • On Build once, sell twice: Jack transitioned from selling services (time) to products (value). Essentially, he stopped trading time for money and instead leveraged assets (online courses). He coined this term by thinking “What is a phrase I can say a thousand times and people don't get bored of it?”
  • On #1 build things people will talk about everyday. #2 talk about them everyday: "The things that fly out of you tends to resonate more than the really strategic stuff," Jack said. "The more organic it flows out of you the more it resonates."
  • On creating a Personal Monopoly: "There really is value in esthetic repetition and hitting sensory signals over and over again," Jack said. "When someone creates a similar black and white visual, people immediately say, ‘Oh, that's a Visualize Value Thing.’"
  • On storytelling: If you can create something where your audience can layer the idea into their own life, it makes the concept resonate better with your audience. "It's a subconscious phenomenon."

The Mindsets

  • On "The world doesn't reward the people with the best ideas, but rather the people who can best commuincate the ideas": Even if you have a great idea, it's forever going to be throttled by the quality of the language used to describe it. "I think we collectivley undervalue how much a difference the right wording can mean to the success of the idea," Jack said. "Just do it" is an incredible example of this.
  • On "Seek wealth, not money or status": Jack found this quote by @naval incredibly profound. "Let's think beyond how much money we need, lets talk about true wealth: how you spend your time, how much of your time is spent doing something you don't want to do? This is a better indicator of a lack of wealth."
  • On Employee vs. Owner: "Anyone who thinks starting a business is going to grant you the freedom to do what you want, is kidding themselves."
  • On "Great advertising wears in, not out." Jack says this is a counter-intuitve truth, especailly in the creative space where you are always trying to create something new.
  • On internal motivation: Each person is motivated by different things. Find what motivates you. "You'll struggle to find someone successful who isn't getting something personal out of it," Jack said. 

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