Jeremy Littel, owner of Kickass Beef Jerky in Winona, has racked himself up about 134 times the population of the city of Winona in followers on one of his TikTok accounts — a total of about 6.7 million followers.
That’s not his only account though on social media.
He has about 3.2 million followers on his other TikTok account; about 189,000 followers on Instagram; almost 116,000 followers on Facebook; and about 175,000 followers on Youtube.
In total, people have hit the following button on the Winona resident over 10 million times.
And, just two years ago, Littel was just a local man with a jerky business.
While Littel doesn’t like to call himself famous, his sons take pride in doing so.
His son Anthony’s goal, he told Littel on Friday, is “probably to be just as famous as you, Dad.”
Littel’s rise to fame began with a vacation to Mexico, when he realized many youth were more focused on their phones than the experiences they were having.
He decided he wanted to be a part of the world that those young travelers were enjoying, so he decided to join Instagram before hearing about and joining TikTok, too.
By posting jokes on a daily basis, and eventually starting to involve his children Anthony, Dominic and occasionally Brielle in the videos, his following quickly began to increase.
These days, he can make a living off of social media for him, his wife and their three children, but that hasn’t stopped him from his other ventures and daily activities.
In fact, the family’s daily lives haven’t changed very much, Littel shared.
“Our home life hasn’t really changed all that much,” he said. “That’s what’s cool about it, our life really hasn’t had to change drastically.”
He did say that some people have started to recognize him and his family when they are out in public, anywhere that they have been in the country.
Littel has continuously tried to connect with his fans, even as more and more messages are sent to him each day. He estimates that he is able to personally get back to about half of the messages he receives.
He does find it to be an honor, and continues to do what he does, because he’s able to help his fans through rough times with his jokes and the laughter they cause.
Around Winona though, fans don’t often come up to him — he suspects because most people knew him long before fame. Locally, he’s treated as he was before his internet fame and isn’t seen as famous.
But brands and other social media users certainly do see him as so, even as he posts slightly less frequently now.
He’s had many sponsorships throughout his social media career, which he has integrated into his usual jokes in his videos.
His most recent sponsor was the show “The Masked Singer,” a reality singing competition.
And, to help spread his own work a bit more, he’s even begun selling his own branded merchandise.
He’s also caught the eye of some celebrities, who has developed connections with, such as famous dermatologist Sandra Lee — star of the show “Dr. Pimple Popper.”
All of his successes have been possible with the help of his family and those who work at Kickass Beef Jerky.
With their support, it’s been possible for him to balance his personal and work life, while also enjoying adventures like his most recent hunting trip earlier this month to Arkansas.
And, with his life around him continuing on each day, he continues to be inspired to make new content or to reimagine jokes from old videos for new videos.
As for Littel’s future, the opportunities are endless.
One big project he has been working on is possibly a reality television show, which he described as a mix of “Duck Dynasty” and the Midwest.
Littel had agreed to the possibility of a reality television show after being reached out to by someone in the entertainment business.
Right now, to prepare for the possible show being offered to networks, he is working on thinking of eight episode ideas. Currently, he’s already planned out four.
The show could possibly come together by the end of this year.
“The producer seems to think we’ve got something big. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but the way he makes it sound, it sounds like it’s going to be a no brainer,” Littel shared.
Littel is cautious about the future, but he knows he wants to keep growing his career.
“You never know,” Littel admitted though. “I’m just running with it. I’m just going one day at a time.”