Earn Your Leisure Is Leading A Financial Revolution
This feature is in the December '22 "The Creators" Issue. Click here to subscribe.
Troy Millings and Rashad Bilal of Earn Your Leisure PHOTO BY 13TH & CREATE
Financial literacy is an essential life tool, and Earn Your Leisure (EYL) prioritizes sharing this knowledge. The company, founded by longtime friends Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings in 2019, began with a now-Top 40 business podcast that has since expanded into a media organization that includes an online education platform, Earn Your Leisure University and the Invest Fest. EYL recently took Invest Fest to London’s historic Royal Albert Hall and plans to continue taking over the globe.
How did you initially meet each other?
TM: We went to the same middle school and high school. Actually, before that, we were actors in a movie.
What movie was it?
TM: Eddie. Which I think came out in 1996 starring Whoopie Goldberg. They took a few kids from the neighborhood to be extras in a few basketball scenes. He was at elementary school at the time I was at middle school. It was the first time I ever met him. Everybody kind of knew him and I was like, ‘Who's this guy?’ From there it was just like, ‘Alright, he's gonna be my guy 'cause everybody else is cool with him.’ Our brothers are the same age so they knew each other. Then the next year, he came to the school. We've been friends ever since then.
Before you guys founded Earn Your Leisure, were you always interested in the business space?
TM: My natural gift was working with kids and I loved sports so teaching about sports became my thing. That's why I was teaching physical education and health for 13 years. It’s how I kind of stumbled into a program for young adults in a summer internship program. We sat down and interviewed about 30 to 40 kids every summer and they told us their future aspirations. Our job was to go out into the community and try to match them.
What was the name of the program?
TM: Operation Crossroads. Money came into the picture because the kids were being paid and that was like, ‘OK, well they're getting money for the first time at 14, Let's teach them about all the things that money can do. The value of it, how to use it, how to spend it, how to save it, and how they invest it.’ Rashad was starting his financial advising career at the time, and we were living together anyway, so we thought it would be a good idea. We started teaching financial literacy. He'd be at the forefront of it because he was working in the industry and that's kind of where it started.
RB: started my career as a financial advisor coming out of college and I was actually practicing as a financial advisor for like 12 years. That led organically to financial literacy because I always wanted to build a social media following.
What was the goal that you had in mind for this platform before launching?
RB: It was a few things that were happening concurrently, but the original plan was to keep growing my own personal social media platform. When [Troy] was [teaching], I was taping the classrooms and then putting the lessons on social media as well. On my own personal Instagram, it was a mixture of me doing interviews, writing up articles about different financial topics, and then the classroom lessons. It was like a gumbo of different content. That grew to 40,000 Instagram followers before Earn Your Leisure [launched]. In a lot of the interviews that I was doing, people thought that it was a podcast. People were asking, ‘Where can we see the full podcast?’ It was one of these things that were building up a lot of momentum and steam. At the time, we felt like it would be a good idea to start a podcast and expand on what was already being done on social media. That’s why I told Troy that I wanted to do a podcast and I thought that he would be a natural fit as a co-host. We already had the chemistry, and that was the beginning stages of that. From there, people just really put the light into it, and it’s just one of these things that just kind of caught like wildfire and went even more viral online.
Millings and Bilal in Los Angeles for the September 2021 taping of their show Assets Over Liabilities on Revolt TV PHOTO BY 13TH & CREATE
“CRYPTO IS DEFINITELY IN ITS DAY AND IT’S SOMETHING THAT EVERYBODY SHOULD BE EDUCATED ON” –RASHAD BILAL
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You’ve had guests like Steve Harvey, Killer Mike and 2 Chainz on your podcast.
TM: The Steve Harvey episode is interesting. After we did it, we kind of looked at each other like, ‘We got one. This will be a classic.’ He’s been in the business for over 35 years; it was like the first time that he got to just be open and transparent about his journey through the business. For people to see him in that light, it was great for us to be part of it, but it was also great for him. He said a lot of times he gets to do interviews and he never gets to speak on some of these topics. For us to have a platform that allows somebody as great as him to do that was a special moment.
The pair at Washington, D.C.’s Howard University in March 2022 where they hosted a panel. PHOTO BY 13TH & CREATE
What are your thoughts on cryptocurrency and NFTs? They’re both continuously expanding.
RB: Crypto is definitely in its day and it’s something that everybody should be educated on. It’s going to revolutionize the way that we think about money and how we interact with currency and investing peer-to-peer transactions and the speed of transferring money. It’s a variety of different things that cryptocurrency will play a major part in. They just announced that Fidelity is going to allow people to invest in Bitcoin into their 401K. I think it’s becoming more and more mainstream.