When Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings met in junior high school, the last thing they envisioned was one day creating a podcast that would gain popularity in a short period of time. However, that’s exactly what they’ve done. The two childhood friends created and launched the Earn Your Leisure podcast in January 2019, which currently has more than 6,500 subscribers and an average of 20,000 plays per episode.
Described as “a college business class mixed with pop culture,” Earn Your Leisure offers listeners a behind-the-scenes look into the entertainment and sports industries through a financial lens. It also profiles entrepreneurs and breaks down the latest economic trends. With a background in business and economics, Bilal brings an authentic financial perspective to the podcast, while as an educator, Millings shares lessons in wealth creation in a way that people can relate to. Together, they aim to expand the conversation of financial literacy while educating as many people as possible.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke with Bilal and Millings to learn more about their journey.
Black Enterprise: Why start a podcast?
Millings: Rashad had been posting a lot on his personal Instagram page about the financial backstories of entrepreneurs, athletes, and entertainers. The feedback was great, and people kept requesting extended dialog on the posts, so we thought a podcast would be the best outlet to expand on the conversation.
BE: How were you able to grow a loyal following in such a short period of time?
Bilal: We have spent no money on marketing. Our growth has been contributed to our leveraging of social media, strong content, and word of mouth.
BE: How is your podcast different than other podcasts that discuss business and finance?
Bilal: For a long time people have viewed business as something that is complex or “over their heads.” We speak the language of everyday people so our conversations are easier to grasp and more relatable in comparison to other business outlets. We also think our discussions are more entertaining than other business platforms.
BE: How did you come up with the name “Earn Your Leisure?” Is there a meaning behind it?
Millings: We wanted to capture something to personify the sacrifice, determination, and dedication that goes into success. Having a life of leisure is something that takes hard work and fearlessness, which led to the name, Earn Your Leisure.
BE: How were you able to secure a Spotify sponsorship for the podcast?
Bilal: We got the Spotify sponsorship about a month ago. That came via Anchor, which is what we use to distribute our podcast. We have a good relationship with the people at Anchor. They were really impressed with our growth and reached out to us to get the formula of what we used to grow. From there, they put us on the top of their ad list. Spotify owns Anchor so they offered us the ad campaign.
BE: How do you determine what topics to discuss and who to feature on the podcast?
Bilal: We have a list of trending business topics that we narrow down based on what we think is relevant, interesting, and important. Our process for guests usually starts with a phone conversation in which we discuss their background, the industry they’re in, and the information that they can offer our audience. We try to feature guests from different walks of life and different fields of finance.
BE: What are the benefits of subscribing to your podcast? What should listeners expect to learn?
Millings: The benefits of subscribing are a free education on a weekly basis and exposure to professionals from different areas of the financial world. We like to say that Earn Your Leisure is a college business class mixed with pop culture, but in many ways, it’s better than college. Our guests give in-depth, behind-the-scenes information on their areas of expertise. We pride ourselves on being the most transparent business outlet online. The information that we provide to our viewers is extremely hard to find anywhere else.
BE: Do you believe it’s important for all individuals to have a general understanding of business and finance whether they’re employed or an entrepreneur?
Bilal: Absolutely. Business makes the world go round. For far too long, people have been misled to believe that if they are not entrepreneurs or wealthy they do not need to understand business or investing, when in fact, we live transactional lives. People make business decisions every day whether it’s a college choice, a home purchase, or car financing.
BE: What’s next for Earn Your Leisure?
Millings: In the near future, we will continue to connect with our supporters in various cities. We’re looking forward to visiting colleges starting in the fall and adding new content to our YouTube channel. We plan to expand our existing youth programs so that one-day financial literacy is a part of the core curriculum in schools across the country.