Entrepreneur: Jay Prather

Biz: Jay Prather

Tilt: Comedy from a professional ballplayer

Time to First Dollar: 6 months

Channels: TikTok (343K,) Instagram (4.9K)

Rev Streams: Merch, TikTok Creator Fund, Cameo, sponsorship deals, tips

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Don’t rest on your virality: Creators must publish consistently to retain an audience that may have come through viral content.
  • Create unexpected content: Jay gained some fans on the ball field, but his content isn’t about sports. He brings comedy and his home life to the TikTok screen.
  • Expect criticism: Sharing your life online can bring negative responses from the public. 

The Story

Jay Prather knew he could be successful online. He had a handful of friends start TikTok accounts and become profitable, so he never doubted he could monetize social media. The independent league pro baseball player has fans in the real world who followed him to the platform, making it easier to gain a consistent following. 

But, as creators know, TikTok is a world of its own. Who you are offline doesn’t matter quite as much as one might expect. Jay’s known online for his jokes and his family, including his almost-2-year-old daughter, who appears in many of his videos. It’s his home life that makes him successful – not his life on the field. 

@Jay_Prather4 plays in @FLProBaseball, but his @TikTok content brings the funny and his family. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Jay’s first popular video poked fun at men’s videos about “shirts that actually fit.” “My first viral video was actually me joking about a trend,” he says. “It was a sound that said, ‘I look skinny until I wear a shirt that fits,’ and guys would put on super tight shirts and flex.”

Jay called out the trend for what it was – a reason for men to wear super tight shirts to show off their muscles. “It got almost 5M views and over 500K likes. I gained about 12K followers from it, and I remember freaking out and refreshing my notifications every two seconds thinking I was about to be famous.” 

@Jay_Prather4 gained #TikTok traction with a humorous video about the trend of men wearing "shirts that actually fit" as an excuse to flex their muscles. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

What happens after a viral video

While one video can give creators a huge uptick in followers, it’s what comes next that matters most. Jay advises new creators to consistently post to build a reliable fanbase. “That is absolutely the biggest thing,” he says. “Post every day or a few times a week and try to post around the same time. Your videos will flop and get no traction. It will happen, but the people that are successful with content creation keep posting.”

That’s where Jay excels. He delivers consistent content from many angles of his life. His humorous posts extend outside of his family, but recent popular videos on Jay’s TikTok feed include putting his child to bed, joking about how often his wife redecorates their home, and even explaining why his wife chose to keep her maiden name. He balances humor with beloved family moments for a well-rounded introduction to who he really is. 

Jay Prather has a regret

His one regret? Wasted downtime. “I wish I was more active during quarantine. I could have really pushed out content while the world was shut down, and I didn’t really attack it like I should have,” he says. “I think I could be in a much different place if I had.”

Almost online presence comes with public criticism. “People say things they’d never say in person and are extremely vulgar and mean,” he says. “I am used to people saying things about me or trying to make fun of me. That doesn’t bother me, but I don’t put up with people saying stuff about my family. Obviously, it’s inevitable, and I know when to call it out or just let it be, but I don’t want all my personal life to be aired out for the entire world to see, which is ironic, considering my platform.”

I don't want all my personal life to be aired out for the entire world to see, which is ironic, considering my platform, says #TikTok creator @Jay_Prather4. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Find your tilt

From humor to family, Jay has been spontaneous with the kind of content he delivers. For new TikTok creators, he suggests finding a niche of content you love. It will help your followers know what to expect. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with all kinds of videos. “I used mostly original sounds and my own voice and sense of humor to gain my followers, and I’ve also lip-synced popular sounds that have gone viral. I think it just depends on what you want out of it,” he says. “I know some creators that specifically stick to trends and some that never do them.”

Join your fellow serious content creators at the Creator Economy Expo May 5-7, 2024. Registration opening soon.

About the author

Kelly Wynne is a journalist and creative writer living in Chicago with her pet dachshund. She's an advocate for women's rights, mental health, and chronic illness.