before the pandemic, marc jones made a happy living renovating homes and running his massage business.
but a fortuitous illness meant that the 35-year-old spent some time at home during the first months of confinement working on his recovery.
Marc, already a keen YouTuber, decided to join tiktok, an app that was quickly becoming one of the most popular video-sharing platforms in the UK and around the world.
read more: Welsh tiktok stars with hundreds of thousands of fans around the world
fast-forward 18 months, and marc's hilarious videos reviewing often impractical online hack guides are gathering audiences in the millions.
His account, @the_mj_way, has over 2.5 million followers and Marc has been able to make his main income from the platform.
marc from merthyr said a friend recommended tiktok to him and he quickly became a well-known creator of the app, much to his humble surprise.
"I thought okay, I'll give it a try, and it went off unexpectedly," he said.
"I never anticipated that I would make millions, that's silly to me.
"It went crazy last Christmas, I probably gained a million and a half followers in about two months, it was a mental moment.
“People love the Christmas atmosphere and the things I was doing were Christmas oriented, so the Christmas decorations.
“I think it definitely helped establish an audience, so it was from there that he really went nuts.”
although marc now has tiktok as a source of income, he said he started with the app simply because he enjoyed making the videos.
"I just make a video every day and have fun, but it's crazy the amount of support I've had, it's absolutely mental," he said.
"I really enjoyed the gimmick stuff, when you do something you really enjoy, it feels more organic, and then the audience can get behind it more."
creating the videos also helped marc overcome the hard months of confinement.
“It was hard, I was also a little sick and needed something to keep me going,” he said.
"This is fun, people are enjoying it, so it was a big lift that I needed at the time.
"during the 12 month period when i started to get a name on tiktok, i was actually recovering from an illness, so it was nice to have the opportunity to earn a little money at home.
"it became my source of income for the last 12, 18 months."
marc is not ashamed of the fact that at 35 years old he is one of the oldest creators of the app.
"It's not scary either, I know I'm too old for these things," he said.
"I've always been the older person on this stuff and I'm not afraid to point it out. I use it for fun, so as long as people have fun with me, it works."
his family and friends are very supportive of marc's tiktok success, including his partner and the son he lives with.
He said, "It takes a long time for parents to understand, but they all support me, really support me."
With a thick Dales accent, Marc has many viewers who love the fact that they found a Welsh creator on the app.
“It's good to represent Wales a bit because in the media there aren't many Welsh people who are famous, so it's good to have a bit of a name and people can feel that finally, the Welsh are being represented a bit", he said.
“however, I think that has helped me as well, I think there are a lot of people abroad who haven't heard the accent, so it's a different thing for them to hear.”
But it's not just Welsh viewers who love Marc, he has fans all over the world.
"everything is completely weird because to me it's just me sitting in this room, just a small room making dumb videos, and all of a sudden I have people from new york, people from canada, all over asia it's amazing to do something here can have such a great reach.”
marc also believes that tiktok's style of short, snappy videos helped his success: "I think that's probably what helped with my kind of content."
"now I find myself scrolling up all day and the content can be completely different, it keeps your attention."
planning to stay on tiktok and hoping to create christmas content again this year, marc said “i want to do other things on tiktok. I plan on experimenting a bit more instead of just doing hack stuff, see where that takes me too.”
added: "It feels undeserved because I'm just making dumb videos, having fun, but I definitely appreciate it, I know I'm lucky.
"I know I'm lucky to have such a big reach and hopefully I can do some positive things going forward."
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