When I stumbled upon Adam Fairhead's profile on Twitter, I knew I had to interview him for Morning Rush. His content is so good that I read or watch his cartoons on a bad day.
And today, I'm sharing my conversation with him, where we discuss his content journey and cartoons. ✨
So, who's Adam Fairhead?
Now, let's dive into the conversation. 👇
Sunaina Patnaik: Can you tell me about yourself and when did you start creating?
Adam: I'm a creator, and I started my journey when I was six years old, selling jigsaw puzzles on the street I grew up on in the UK. I've been obsessed, infatuated, and in love with the lifestyle of creating and selling things; making and selling things; making them a little bit better, and selling them a little bit better based on feedback. So, that cycle, the ritual, the process, discipline, and that kind of day is the best day. I hope to keep doing that until I don't have any more days. It's a lot of fun, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Sunaina: That's amazing! So what made you start The Productoon?
Adam: My wife and I have been running the studio quite happily — again the act of making the process and the product better. So, we had a season in life a few years ago when we had a loss in our little family, which made us pause everything we were doing. We went to the coast, spent a week away from everything to evaluate what we're doing with life and what we want the next chapter of the life to look like. Effectively, we figured to continue doing what we're doing, retire or do something entirely different — something that lights us up today. We kicked all the three ideas for a week and landed on the third one; we wanted to make things that helped people be better and stronger. For instance, through that season, I've been an advocate, proponent, student, and enthusiast of stoicism, which was instrumental in the season of life, and helped us tremendously. To get through what we were going through. I love making things we can be proud of, and my wife loves to teach and help others; she has been a fitness coach, author, journalist, and an HR manager — and we wanted to do more and help people in their creative journey.
Sunaina: In 5 words, can you describe The Productoons?
Adam: Grow your business through cartoons.
Sunaina: How did you get your first 1,000 newsletter subscribers?
Adam: It's a two-pronged thing; it's a spanking new brand, and you're catching it before it hit 1,000 subscribers. My personal newsletter has been around for a bit longer, but I plan growing them in the same way.
For instance, I have helped businesses grow and worked with bootstrapped startups, high-growth VC-backed startups, and multibillion dollar companies; I enjoy building relationships with people I work with. If I meet someone on social, I personally invite them and their audience, and if I meet an influencer, I encourage them to share the work with their friends. It's not like shouting from a podium, but taking time to interact, and thankfully, cartoons help. If we're being crude, this is relational capital, and if we're being human, it's just being nice and inviting people. It scales by the virtue of the fact that friends can tell friends; it doesn't scale in the way it does in creator or tech space. Like how people think it's like pushing a button, and it all happens like magic, but there's no magic. Low-sophistication level audience might deem that to be the case, but when you're dealing with smart people, it doesn't, and I think we should treat everyone like they're smart.
Sunaina: What is your content distribution strategy for The Productoons?
Adam: Apart from what I just shared, make the best content ever and deploy relationship capital. I'm working on a video for The Productoon, which covers three crucial pieces of marketing strategy — narrative (help people travel from problem land to solution land), stun (stun, don't bore your audience), and emotion (give people what they want and how they love it).
Sunaina: Can you share 1-2 challenges you face while creating or publishing the newsletter?
Adam: The biggest one, to be honest, is the people; I've been in the professional services world for so long, and you'd think I'd be used to it by now. But, over the years, I have found that (and, it's perhaps reasonable) I'm faster and more eager to move swiftly, and do an AAA job, be punctual, which is rigid to me. I may have taken 11 days to have this conversation with you, but we were moving houses, but no excuses.
Let me share some instances, if we were making a theme song, musicians taking forever to come back, or shuffling newsletter issues at the last minute because someone you have collaborated with taking longer — managing these are challenges and something I'll learn over time.
Sunaina: I see you're quite active on Threads. What are your first impressions?
Adam: I like talking to people, one on one — so I spend most of my time in any social tool, looking for and spending time in the most intimate part of the tool. Because I find many introverts in the creator world, and they seem to open up a lot when it's just the two of you — walls come up, and better relationships are formed. But, Threads doesn't have that, and it's a different crowd, isn't it? So, it's that absence that makes me sad. I'm assuming they're going to connect it altogether at same point. I like Meta's tools, although it's not a very popular thing to say, but they've been working on it for a long time. They try to innovate, have multiple horses in a race, they experiment more in their avant-garde brands. So, more power to them; I hope it thrives.
Sunaina: Do you remember the time you made your first dollar online?
Adam: I had a virtual clothing store in the Metaverse in 2008, and it was in a Metaverse play where I made virtual clothes. The store grew and grew, making it our first experience with passive income. When my computer was on, it would make a ka-ching sound with a pop-up in the corner, notifying our sales throughout the day. That was when my wife and I moved into our own house because this paid our bills.
Sunaina: You don't use your picture anywhere; your published work also has your cartoon. Is there a reason you don't use your pictures?
Adam: No, I don't mind being in videos or pictures at all, but I use my cartoon just to tie it to our work. I can do a video; do you think it'll help? What do you think — should I do videos along with cartoons? I was exploring ways to use my selfie cartoons in more videos outside of full-scale production. But you tell me what you think?
Sunaina: Got any advice for beginner creators?
Adam: Loads and loads! We cover plenty of them in The Productoon. Off the top of my head, as we speak, what comes to my mind, is 👇
But we'll make it easy by watching cartoons and playing games, so I'd encourage creators to subscribe to the Productoon, where equip them with the best knowledge, insights, accountability and direction, packaged in the most fun, accessible, and safe environment that we possibly can.
Sunaina: What does the future look like?
Adam: Ooh, let me get my crystal ball, haha!
Well, it's an unbroken chain of infiniteness; near term, markets are going to be flatter, more niche, more nuanced, more noisy, as with all times since ever. There has never been a better time to build than right now. When I incorporated my first business in 2009, it was right after the entire economy had gone to crap. I went door to door in my town, asking them if they wanted help with any web thing. That's what I did, and it was hard. I remember selling three website designs for £20 — that was where we started and worked up from there. It's never been any different; some things are easier, some things are harder, who cares? Let's just do the work, and enjoy doing it — if we do that, we already won.
Subscribe to The Productoon. 👇
So, that was my conversation with Adam. Would you like us to host him on our Fireside Chat? We think it's going to make for an interesting and fun conversation.