A former McDonald’s burger without a college degree now earns $15,000 a month as a TikTok video star with seven million followers.
Adam Milardovic, 25, from Melbourne, had already struggled for five years to make YouTube videos of himself approaching pretty young women on the street and trying out his best lines.
However, the social media influencer last year found success with TikTok, as algorithms favor new artists who can create impactful 20-second videos that viewers can scroll through.
In daily clips, he confidently wins over women who already have boyfriends with a simple trick, winning legions of young male fans who wish they were so slick – or just want to leave a narcotic comment.
The brands that paid Adam to endorse them on TikTok
MANSCAPE: Manufactures men’s grooming products
FITAFY: Fitness dating app to connect active singles
THE KINGS OF CULTURE: Streetwear clothing brand
COTTON ON: Clothing brand
CASEIFIER: The leading brand of iPhone cases
YD AUSTRALIA: Men’s fashion
Thanks to his success, clothing brands now pay him to wear their product in his daily videos while a dating app also gives him money to give them a mention.
Milardovic’s day usually involves him approaching a young woman on the street in the middle of Melbourne as a friend records the whole thing on an Apple iPhone to make a short video.
‘They are all random. I usually spend around four or five hours trying to find the right person for the video,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Usually I just explain the idea to them, ‘I want to take 20 seconds of your time to do a quick little video. Are you down?’
He comes up with ideas himself and finds a willing participant in crowded places like outside the State Library of Victoria.
“If I have an idea, I write it down but most of the time it’s all in my head – sometimes I have an idea that pops up in the shower,” he said.
Taylor Reilly, 21, who manages the business side of Milardovic’s success, said the revenue came from brands wanting to appeal to men aged 18 to 28, not the TikTok videos themselves.
“You don’t really make money from the short form content — you can’t really monetize it on TikTok,” he said.
A former McDonald’s burger now earns $15,000 a month as a TikTok video star with 7 million followers (pictured is artist Adam Milardovic in his early 20s)
Adam Milardovic had already struggled for five years to make YouTube videos of himself approaching pretty young women on the street and trying out his best lines, to garner 20,000 subscribers.
“I don’t really earn anything on TikTok – it’s probably zero.
“All of our revenue streams come from brand collaboration.”
The presence of their products in a popular TikTok video means brands are seen by younger consumers who would overlook ads.
A video in a YD clothing store, asking a woman if she has a boyfriend, has been viewed 7.9 million times while a video in a park of Milardovic wearing a Cotton On shirt, to flirt with a woman with her boyfriend, has been viewed 3.6 million times.
Unlike many other content creators, Milardovic is also older – being in his mid-twenties.
“I can tell you it’s his confidence,” Reilly said.
‘Because he’s a bit older than a lot of these content creators who are 18, 19, 20,
“The ability that he can go out in public – he’s just heading to a group of Canadian girls.”
Thanks to his success, having 7 million TikTok fans, clothing brands now pay him to wear their product in his daily videos while a dating app also gives him money to give them a mention (on the photo, a video sponsored by Cotton On)
Taylor Reilly, 22 (right) who manages the business side of success for Adam Milardovic (left), said revenue came from brands wanting to appeal to men aged 18-28, not TikTok videos they themselves.
Tips for making a popular TikTok video
1. Keep it to 20 seconds
2. Grab viewers’ attention within the first two to three seconds
3. Do or do something that will get people to comment – even with nasty remarks
4. Have short videos that appeal to a demographic that businesses want to reach
A good TikTok video should also grab the attention of viewers with a short attention span.
“We almost figured it out as a science,” Reilly said.
“It’s pretty much a science: we have a few rules that we want in all of our videos.
“As basic marketing principles, if you’re running an advertisement or something like that, the first two to three seconds of your video are the most important to grab someone’s attention: impactful, engaging.”
Videos with more comments are also more likely to be shared more.
“What we’ve learned in a few years is that comments really drive your videos: people comment, algorithms drive the video wild,” Reilly said.
“The loudest people are the ones who don’t like you because they’re the ones commenting and leaving hate.”
Milardovic said the more critical he was, the better.
“Hateful comments push it even more,” he said.
To spur comments, Milardovic deliberately asks people to do things in the background, like taking off their shoes or mispronouncing words.
Reilly said that only encouraged more comments.
A good TikTok video should also grab the attention of viewers with a short attention span (the photo is a video in a YD clothing store)
Milardovic said it’s possible to have a big following on TikTok without looking like a model (picture is video for Fitafy)
“He’ll ask the person in the video to mispronounce a very common word so everyone will go into the comments thinking they’re the only one noticing,” he said.
Milardovic said it’s possible to have a big following on TikTok without looking like a model.
“You don’t have to be pretty or tall,” he said.
“Get a personality, you’re funny, because people who can make videos on TikTok and they can have a big following, some have to be a bit of a personality to go further.”
TikTok’s success took years, however, with Milardovic living with his parents until he was 24 and working 15 jobs, including five years at McDonald’s, as well as stints at Woolworths, Coles, a gym, a business caravans and as a plumber.
“I basically worked everywhere. I was so focused on creating content and wanted that job to be so bad to make sure I could be successful,” he said.
“My parents were just like, ‘You gotta get a real job’.”