DIY-ing a Career: Learn How Taylor Calmus Built a Successful Online Presence as Dude Dad

Taylor Calmus a.k.a. Dude Dad

Taylor Calmus wears a lot of hats. He’s a DIY-enthusiast and content creator on the crazy popular YouTube channel, Dude Dad. He’s the host of the show “Super Dad” on the Magnolia Network. But most importantly, he’s Heidi’s husband and dad to three kids — Theo, Juno and Otto — with another baby on the way. Calmus has managed to mesh his passion for family, DIY and entertainment into a unique and exciting career. A career that allows him to tell the stories he wants through the content he creates.

“My goal has always been to relate to people,” says Calmus. “If it’s a comedy video, that means being able to laugh at ourselves and our own human nature. If it’s a DIY video, that means showing off my mistakes so that people know that sometimes DIY is a process.”

So how did Calmus become Dude Dad? Let’s find out.

DIY and Dude Dad

Calmus’ love for DIY started at an early age while growing up on his family’s farm. During those years, Calmus and his brother would build different things to keep busy — while developing skills that would serve him later in life.

“We lived in the middle of nowhere, so you kind of had to create your own fun,” says Calmus. “My dad sold construction equipment, so there were always tools around for us to use.”

During high school and summers in college, Calmus worked for a local carpenter framing houses and learning most of the skills he uses today. While he enjoyed acquiring those skills, he was also interested in pursuing a career in entertainment and decided to relocate to Los Angeles. After about a decade living in the City of Angels, a lightbulb went off.

“I realized that I could marry my passions for DIY and entertainment and show others how to make things,” says Calmus. “Not a lot of millennials know how to build stuff with their hands, so I could share my skills in my videos, and it just started to work.”

From that Dude Dad was born and Calmus began sharing everything from DIY videos chronicling projects around his home to comedy sketches making parenting and everyday life more relatable. One of the best parts of the job? Creative freedom.

“As a content creator, you get to build your audience off of your own hobbies and sense of humor,” he says. “You’re not having to fit into any one box like you do in Hollywood when you get cast in a role, and you have to play that role. I get to just be me and make content that I think is captivating.”

Today Calmus lives in Colorado with his family and can be found on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. With videos racking up millions of views, he has become a social media celebrity while maintaining his approachability. Viewers can definitely relate to Calmus’ energetic personality and fun adventures. (I personally love all the holiday videos that truly capture the chaos of the season.) So, what do his kids think about their dad’s job?

“It’s funny because my kids are into YouTube, especially my older son, but they separate the two,” says Calmus. “They’ve grown up with dad doing this so it’s just totally normal to them. Occasionally, they’ll come home from school and a classmate may have said something to them and they’ll go, ‘Dad, you’re famous.’ Or my daughter, Juno, loves to tell people who I am if someone doesn’t know. She’ll go, ‘Dad, tell them you’re Dude Dad.’ And I’m like, ‘No, Juno, we don’t need to do that.’”

Like any working parent, Calmus has to balance his job, family and everything in between. So how does he balance it all, especially when his career has a specific focus on being a dad and working on his home? Well, his immediate response jokingly was, “Less sleep,” followed by this:

“It’s a matter of working hard during the day so you can take time off in the evenings,” he says. “Sometimes you got to do things on the weekends just to get it all done, but I try to still be present and bring the kids and Heidi into whatever I’m working on, so it doesn’t feel like I just disappeared. It’s also important to know when to film and when to shut it off. When you make content about fatherhood, it’s easy to go like, ‘Oh this is a really cool thing, let’s film it,’ vs. just going, ‘Oh this is really cool thing, let me enjoy it with my family.’”

Super Dad

Dude Dad

Another venture keeping Calmus busy these days is his show “Super Dad” on the Magnolia Network, owned by the DIY power couple Chip and Joanna Gaines. On the show, Calmus and his crew work alongside a dad to help him build a backyard project for his kids. From an outdoor theater to an out-of-this-world playhouse (complete with a rocket launcher), Calmus has tackled some seriously cool projects over the past two seasons while connecting with dads and different families.

“Of course, there’s this big project and then there’s a big reveal where the kids get to see it for the first time and that’s always the best part,” he says. “There’s just nothing better than kids being in awe and getting really excited about something you made for them.”

While these backyard transformations are the stars of the show, Calmus points out that “Super Dad” is much more than a build show — it’s a show about two dads talking about what it means to be one in today’s world.

“Each of the dads are cast based on who they are and what their story is, so we have a lot of very interesting, unique perspectives of fatherhood,” says Calmus. “I have a lot of conversations with all these different dads during the builds, and while I’m teaching them about construction, they’re teaching me about fatherhood.”

When asked if he has a favorite project from the show, Calmus recalls a pirate ship that he helped build in season one.

“We did this three-story pirate ship in a suburban backyard. It’s hilarious because there are all these white fences and then you just see this pirate ship standing tall in the backyard,” says Calmus. “It’s pretty amazing.”

A Helpful Hand

Dude Dad

Every DIYer — including Dude Dad — needs the right tools to get the job done, and Calmus is a fan of the Toro Dingo. Last year he used a Dingo and various attachments for four weeks while working on his front patio and a retaining wall. Calmus says it’s the perfect sized machine for yards and is easy to operate no matter your level of expertise.

“You can get a massive amount of work done in such a short period of time,” he says. “It’s compact, incredibly maneuverable and the ergonomics of it are great. I don’t drive one of those things every day, but after 20 minutes on it, you feel like you could pick up a penny. It’s just so functional and the controls are so easy to understand and to get the hang of.”

With the front patio project, Calmus and his crew had a whole lot of dirt to move — 17 tons! —but the Dingo and bucket made it easy work. In fact, he didn’t even know just how much dirt they moved because the machine made it seem so effortless.

“We didn’t even realize how much dirt we hauled until we got a huge bill from the landfill people who were like, ‘Yeah, your dumpster was about eight tons over capacity.’”

The retaining wall was the perfect chance for Calmus to try out forks to maneuver large slab rocks that were way too heavy to lift by hand. Thanks to the Dingo and attachment, he could easily complete the project and avoid backbreaking labor.

“With the Dingo I was able to put the forks on and essentially use them like chopsticks,” says Calmus. “We had to set each one of these rocks and maneuver them to fit correctly — tap the rock this way, tap it that way, flip it over. I was able to do all of that on the Dingo, spinning the rocks around and repositioning them. I basically made a giant Tetris wall with these enormous rocks.”

Aside from the attachments’ functionality, Calmus pointed out how easy it is to switch out the tools to complete tasks. On top of the buckets and forks, he was able to put some other attachments to use.
“It was extremely easy to go from the big bucket to the small bucket to the auger to drill holes,” he says.

“Then there was a tiller. We laid some sod, so we put on the tiller to prep our dirt. I originally got the Dingo to move dirt and ended up using it for everything. It became a key component to every single part of our build. The more time you spend on the machine, the easier it gets. Anybody can run it right away, but by a day into it, you feel like an expert.”

Pam Kleineke is managing editor of Compact Equipment.

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