Millionaires: How dad jokes got Dave Ogleton to a million TikTok followers

By 06/22/2023
Millionaires: How dad jokes got Dave Ogleton to a million TikTok followers

Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we–in partnership with content creator tool Gyre–profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.

Dave Ogleton is a dad of six, so he had it on pretty good authority that everyone loves (or at least gets a dry chuckle out of) a good dad joke.

He just didn’t realize how much people love them.


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Ogleton and his wife Jackie knew a long time ago that they didn’t want to work for anybody but themselves. For Ogleton, that meant starting his own insurance company. He was into fitness, too, and posted about both things, as well as his family’s adventures, on Instagram. He gained about 30,000 followers there before things “got stagnant,” he says.

Then the COVID pandemic hit, and TikTok became a household name.

“I decided to start TikTok because my daughter just wanted to look at some funny videos and do some dances and stuff like that,” Ogleton says. “I started posting videos about being home with the kids and the struggles of parents right now, what was going on. I started rolling that into some dad jokes, and it just took off.”

It wasn’t too long before Ogleton found himself with offers from brands. He knew he could get better deals than what they were offering, so he picked up a manager and started focusing full-time on content, taking his TikTok videos and redistributing them across Instagram Reels (where he rebranded to be less fitness, more dad) and YouTube Shorts. Now he’s got more than a million followers on TikTok, nearly a million on Instagram, and just under 20K on YouTube, and he’s rolling his audience’s enthusiasm for his jokes into a merch line and more.

Check out our chat with him below.

@fitdadceoIts day one of summer break…day one!😤♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tubefilter: So to give you a little background, for years Tubefilter has done a column called YouTube Millionaires where we profile creators who have recently–or sometimes recently-ish–hit a million subscribers on YouTube. In the last couple months, I’ve wanted to expand this column to creators on other platforms, so I’m here to chat with you about hitting a million on TikTok.

Dave Ogleton: Cool.

Tubefilter: I’m familiar with you and with your videos, but say somebody is reading this and they don’t know who you are. Can you tell me about you, where you’re from, and your journey up till joining TikTok?

Dave Ogleton: Yes. I’m 38, I am a dad of six, and I’ve been doing social media for 13 years, 14 years now. Start off with Facebook and Twitter and all that good stuff. I jumped into Instagram just for family stuff, family pictures, things like that, and slowly started using it for business. I had an insurance business before, and then I transitioned into the fitness industry, and I was able to grow to about 30,000 followers on Instagram.

Then it got stagnant. When the whole pandemic happened, I decided to start TikTok because my daughter just wanted to look at some funny videos and do some dances and stuff like that. I started posting videos about being home with the kids and the struggles of parents right now, what was going on. I started rolling that into some dad jokes, and it just took off.

Then Instagram took off because I realized people didn’t want to hear about fitness anymore. They were like, “We don’t care what you’re saying with that.” I was like, “I’m perfectly fine, because I’m sick of hearing myself say it too.” [laughs]

Tubefilter: So you had a rebranding?

Dave Ogleton: Yes. It was almost a total rebranding over the course of six months. I was totally fine with it because I’ve always wanted to jump into the entertainment industry anyway. I’m not necessarily in the entertainment industry now, but it’s like my own little corner of it. It’s really cool. I found the comedic content was way more fun to do than to look up the next motivational quote to post about.

It just rolled from there. Naturally, I just feel like it’s so much more fun to post that content anyway, and people needed to laugh at the time. That was really more why I was posting it. I’m 1.1 million on TikTok. I’m approaching 900,000 on Instagram. It’s crazy. It’s been a fun two and a half years.

@fitdadceo Is it just my kids? Music by @D-Roc of course and the mix by @There I Ruined It ♬ original sound – Dave FitDad Ogleton

Tubefilter: To get to a million on two platforms essentially in two years, one and a half years, is wild.

Dave Ogleton: It’s pretty nuts. I had a huge boost in growth in the last year on Instagram. I was pretty much stuck at like 30,000 and losing followers up until about 2020, I think it was. Then it started slowly growing. Then all of a sudden they introduced Reels and my stuff was just like flying.

Tubefilter: I was going to ask, did you start carrying your short-form from TikTok over to Reels?

Dave Ogleton: Yes. I started posting some on Instagram before Reels was introduced. Then as soon as I heard Reels was introduced, I was one of the first to jump into it. I was like, “There’s no point in waiting.” I just was repurposing my content from TikTok to Instagram. It was awesome because my audience got to see a whole new side of myself. They were probably just like, “All he ever talks about is fitness and how to keep yourself motivated and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” They were probably sick of hearing that at that point. They were just like, “Oh, so he actually is a person too, on top of it. That’s cool.”

Tubefilter: Do you attribute your boost on Instagram to Reels or was there anything else?

Dave Ogleton: It was 100% from Reels. I just basically parlayed that into posting my family and some of our vacations and even funny memes and stuff that I would post every once in a while. I think people just saw that. It was like, “Oh, he’s funny. That’s cool.” I think my actual audience was coming back to see if I had new content versus just everything going out to the Explore page. It was cool because my stuff was basically living on the Explore page for the previous one and a half years.

Tubefilter: Do you have a strategy for posting? If you make a video, will you post it to both TikTok and Instagram, or do you have different types of content you post on each, or…?

Dave Ogleton: Yes. I’m actually doing it almost reverse way now, because I’m playing around with–not so much the algorithm, but just playing around with new content. I’m doing content exclusively for Instagram that’s not going on TikTok. Same thing with YouTube. I’m trying to grow my YouTube following. I have 17,000 subscribers over there right now, and I had 300 for years. It was the same thing over there. I was trying to do the fitness and nutrition thing, and it’s like, there was so much traffic to compete with at that point that it was like I wasn’t breaking through. As soon as I started posting my Reels and my TikToks over on YouTube Shorts, that took off also. I like to try and play with different ways of posting. Like posting on YouTube and saying, “You’re not going to find this on Instagram, so make sure you subscribe here,” and all those different ways.

@fitdadceo This isnt a trend. These are cautionary tales #marriage #couplegoals #dumbwaystodye ♬ original sound – Dave FitDad Ogleton

Tubefilter: When did it become a full-time thing for you?

Dave Ogleton: Two years ago? Actually, it was probably about 18 months ago, I would say.

Tubefilter: Was there a specific catalyst for you going full-time?

Dave Ogleton: Yes. I had a couple of brands reach out to me and they were just like, “Hey, we want to pay you to do this.” I was doing it on my own, and I was negotiating these contracts on my own to do these brand deals, and I just felt like I was getting scammed out of money. I was like, “I feel like I’m not getting what I should be getting for this, especially with the views that I’m getting right now and the engagement that I’m getting.” I hired a manager and that’s where I realized there’s some real money to be made in this and if it’s done correctly, you can make this a full-time business. That’s what I’ve done.

I had a merch line before. It was weird. I had a merch line that I had already been working that actually worked well in the fitness industry. When it came to making parent content, I was very easy to just move that merch line over to that, because it was just funny quotes that were fitness-related and also parent-related at the same time. Whenever I would wear it in videos, I wasn’t even trying to sell it, it just sold itself. I did a lot with that. Now I’m working with a merch company who is helping me to expand that line as well and really key in on what people want.

Tubefilter: That’s right, I saw you have a Father’s Day collection out.

Dave Ogleton: Yes, we just did a really cool Father’s Day drop. We have a couple of new things that are coming next week that I’m really excited for, and it’s more like football-related. People who follow me know that I have a specific team that I don’t like in the NFL, and so a lot of them don’t either. I’m really excited to launch a couple of the new products that are coming out next week.

Tubefilter: A hated NFL team, very dad of you. Speaking of which, you’re a father of six, so life is insane at all times. What does your schedule look like now that you’re full-time content creating?

Dave Ogleton: As a couple, we made a decision years ago that we just don’t want to work for anybody. We both were servers, bartenders, for a very long time, and this schedule is just like, it’s crap. I don’t like people controlling my schedule. Jackie doesn’t like people controlling her schedule, either. We just always made a decision that we were either going to own our own businesses or we were going to do something that allowed us to have the freedom to do what we wanted.

Now with having this content-creating business, my schedule basically is like, I wake up in the morning, the kids are in school, then we get them ready for school. Basically throughout everything that I do, I’m always thinking of ideas. I’m picking up inspiration from things, I’m writing stuff down. I’m always in my notes on my phone, writing stuff down. We get the kids ready for school, and then I come back and I basically get cracking on what I’m doing. I’m either recording content, recording content for brand collaboration or I’m brainstorming ideas, researching different ideas for different videos that I want to try to put out. Basically, it’s a lot of creating, a lot of writing, and a lot of recording as well too.

Tubefilter: Got you. Then do you have anybody behind the scenes working with you, like an editor?

Dave Ogleton: No. I pretty much do everything myself. It’s pretty much all me. I want to get to the point where I do have editors and I have hopefully a production team that I can work on or I can work with as well. Right now, I’m doing the shooting, the editing. Jackie helps me with some of the shooting as well. She comes up with a lot of the ideas too. I always bounce ideas off her because she’s with the kids a lot of the time, especially when they’re doing crazy stuff outside or running around the house and I’m in here trying to record or write ideas down. So we always bounce ideas off each other like, “You should do a video about this.” Again, we have six kids, so we have constant inspiration.

@fitdadceoI finally met Beyonce and her family and I didn’t know she had a twin sister! Beytwice♬ everyone using this sound – zup

Tubefilter: Got you. Then I wanted to ask how you handle showing your kids in your videos. Do you show them? 

Dave Ogleton: I do. Actually, in the very beginning, I did, and then people are weird online. That’s really more of what it is. As they get older, I feel more comfortable doing it. When they were younger, I didn’t really put them in there too much.

We did a video and we were just watching the video a couple of nights ago. It was using Britney Spears’ “Oops!” song and it was one of the most viral videos that we’ve had, but was also one of the most controversial videos we had also. It was meant to be funny, but came off a totally different way, apparently, to people. The kids were in that video, so I was just like, “Yeah, I’m not…” We steered away from using them in videos unless it was things like we were traveling or like my son specifically had an idea that he wanted to do for a video or my daughter had an idea that she wanted to do for a video. That’s really more of the reason why, it’s just people are weird online, so it’s not the first thought that comes to mind is to have them in it, even though a lot of the content is about them.

Tubefilter: Yes, people are absolutely weird online.

Dave Ogleton: Yes, unfortunately.

Tubefilter: What was it like for you to hit a million followers on TikTok? Was it special? Was it just another day?

Dave Ogleton: No, for me it was like holly crap. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I knew I was on my way there but I was like, “Is this happening?” There’s a million people who actually want to follow me and see my stuff every day. That’s crazy. It was a little bit of a shock but I felt like I had hit a really good stride and felt like I had a really good comedic flow of content that was coming out also. TikTok was like the wild west at the time where they were like, “Okay, let’s let this go out and see if it works, let’s let this go out and see if it works.” I was just one of the ones that was lucky enough that I had a good following and audience that they just kept sharing my stuff and some celebrities were seeing my stuff and sharing it as well. It was a shock, but I also expected it to at the same time.

Tubefilter: Perfect. [phone rings] Sorry. [chuckles] Got to have the hourly alarms.

Dave Ogleton: Yes.

Tubefilter: What are your upcoming goals, plans? Are you working on any cool projects? I know you mentioned the merch you have dropping next week but any cool projects, any plans that we should know about?

Dave Ogleton: Yes, well I have a new management team and they’re awesome. I’m really excited about some of the brand deals that are coming up. We’re working on some things with YouTube hopefully. I do have a Facebook page as well that I don’t use often. I just started using it more in the last year but I had already had 100,000 followers on there with my fitness brand and when I switched over to the comedy content, it still seemed to do really, really well. I’m going to be working on both of those. I want to start doing some more longer-form content as well so you can keep an eye out for that also. Just really have to figure out what the content will be for that because I’m so short-form mindset that it’s hard to think longer than a minute.

Yes, there’s a lot coming with the merch line. There’s a lot coming as far as new content. There might be some acting in the future too which is something that I didn’t think was even going to be a possibility. Yes, there’s a lot of new things coming that this has opened the door for. Jackie just started a separate Instagram page for the family for when we’re traveling or specific things that the kids want us to post on there as well. It’s going to be more for our family content, with still some dad jokes sprinkled in there a little bit too.


Ogleton is repped by Currents Management.

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