Do any of your students want to be pro athletes or celebrities one day?

Who can afford to sit courtside at a game? NBA players, rappers, drug dealers, and these two guys…

This reading comprehension article goes great with the Making Connections reading strategy.

Read the Non-Fiction Article:
Change The Game And Earn Your Leisure

Who can afford to sit courtside at a game? NBA players, rappers, drug dealers, and these two guys.

Troy Millings and Rashad Bilal show people in their community another way to succeed. There are more ways to the top than just sports, entertainment, and crime.

If you check out their social media, you can see riches, glamour, and beautiful people. Their “Earn your Leisure” and “Assets over Liabilities” saying is everywhere. What you don’t get at first glance is a sense of all the hard work it took to get there.

Millings and Bilal are co-founders of Earn Your Leisure. This is an educational platform that makes financial literacy cool. It also challenges what we think about money. Their podcast has over fifty million downloads. Their combined socials have over two million followers.

These two entrepreneurs definitely spend money on leisure and enjoy a good life. But that’s only after they’ve earned their money. They control several assets. These assets generate multiple streams of income. How do they make money? One big way is by running live events. They also provide free education and monetize that content on YouTube and Spotify. (In other words, they make money from ads.) The guys also created a more hands-on learning experience. They call it EYL university. It makes money when users pay a monthly fee to subscribe. And, of course, they sell merchandise.

Millings talked on the Bigger Pockets Podcast about earning your leisure first. “People think that based on the things that they see from us – we travel, we throw some pretty decent parties; they see us with beautiful women, and it’s like, “These guys have it easy, they’ve had a silver spoon.” They don’t realize how hard we work… they never saw any of that, so we’ve pretty much earned our freedoms.” Earning your leisure first is a game changer.

It all started in the classroom. Millings was a middle school teacher in New York City. He saw his students weren’t getting the information they needed to succeed. Nobody was talking about how to handle money when you start working and earning a paycheck. So, he asked his friend Bilal to speak with these kids. Bilal was a financial investor at the time.

Millings and Bilal ran a six-week program during the summer for ten years. It was intense! It was for students who finished eighth grade. They gave these fourteen-year-olds a real-world financial lesson that no school can provide. They paid each student $500 based on how well they completed their summer program.

Millings points out that if you give students money, they do what they know how to do. (Basically, they’ll just spend it.) So Millings and Bilal taught students the value of money. This means how to spend, share, save, and invest. An asset is something that puts things in your account. A liability is something that takes things out. They taught students why it’s better to make assets a priority. If you buy assets, you can use the cash flow earned from your money tree to pay for fun stuff. The fun leisure expenses are usually liabilities.

Each week, students spent two days in the classroom. They learned real-world financial literacy skills from Bilal. The kids learned about income tax, student loans, credit scores, and credit cards. They also talked about real estate, stock investments, entrepreneurship, and budgeting. The students spent two days at work. Millings and Bilal found local community businesses based on the careers students wanted to have one day. These businesses let the students do internships. The students got a chance to see what that job might look like. On Fridays, the group went on field trips like visiting a college campus.

After students finished the program, they wanted to know what was next. They didn’t want the learning to end. So, Millings and Bilal posted clips of what they were doing on social media. They tried to keep the learning going year-round. Bilal knew they needed a hashtag, so Millings came up with Earn Your Leisure. The lessons might have started with 14-year-old teens, but it didn’t stop there. The ideas quickly spread to adults in the family. In fact, the message spread worldwide through social media.

Millings and Bilal decided to start a podcast. Bilal had an idea so people would notice them. He decided to do a bunch of interviews. He asked every public access radio station he could find if they wanted to interview him. There were two reasons for doing this. First, Bilal got to practice doing interviews. Second, the guys needed content for their social media channels. So, they chopped up the long-form interviews into bite-sized snippets. This short-form content can be really popular on social media.

Bilal did an interview on the Guys Next Door podcast. He told them that “You can never get too full of yourself. There’s somebody that’s going to listen to this right now that’s not aware of us and hopefully, now, they can potentially become somebody that’s interested in what we have to say. For us, we gotta just keep expanding the base.”

That doesn’t mean that everyone wants to be on their show. Millings and Bilal made a bucket list of people they wanted to interview. They made this list before they even recorded their first podcast episode. Dame Dash was on that list.

Dash is a big entrepreneur and record executive. He co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records with Jay-Z. At first, Dash hadn’t even heard of Earn Your Leisure. But Millings and Bilal kept working on their podcast to make it better. They kept interviewing more people and getting more subscribers. Eventually, it became mutually beneficial for both Dash and Earn Your Leisure. At that point, the guys got to chat with Dash on the air. They interviewed the record exec and shared his views on building brands with the EYL audience. Millings explained what they did in an interview:

“The key is to be consistent. And, that’s what most people won’t be. They’ll stop, and they’ll be like “I ain’t doing this…” [but] if we add enough value, we’ll be able to get there… we’re just going to keep going, and keep adding and staying consistent. We’re not going to change the dynamic [and ask] alright, what should we do now to get that person? Nah, we’re going to keep adding value until the point [where] they know who we are, and they see the value in being on the show.”

Millings and Bilal make the influencer lifestyle look easy. That’s because they’re everywhere on social media. More and more people are buying into what these guys are selling. As that happens, the Earn Your Leisure movement continues to grow. In fact, even the culture in the community is changing. EYL is starting to shift how people think about money. All of this is getting bigger because of the snowball effect.

During the pandemic, people had time on their hands. They were worried about their financial future. So, it makes sense that Earn Your Leisure content went viral. People in their community could relate to these “cool dudes.” Millings and Bilal were everyday people who showed you how to make money by building assets. If you do this first, you can earn your leisure expenses and liabilities. Most people spent a lot of time binge-watching content on Netflix during the lockdowns. But not Millings and Bilal. They spent their time creating content. They were making assets. They added new shows to their network. They also developed a habit of posting daily across different platforms.

People started to notice this rolling snowball of Earn Your Leisure content. At first, we only see the snowball once it’s massive. But look past the number of downloads and followers. You’ll be able to see the long journey these guys have been on. You start to appreciate how much work they’ve put in.

Change the Game from an SEOT perspective

Let’s take a moment to break apart how Millings and Bilal became so influential in a wide area. They can reach lots of people in their community. The two guys had to put in a lot of effort to get to where they are today. Let’s see what we can learn about effort and success.

The Snowball Effect of EFFORT:
Take constant and consistent steps

Achieving goals need you to put in the effort. When we look at successful people, we usually only see the end result. We don’t always see the daily grind. It’s easy to think they were lucky or born with many things. Maybe it worked for them because they’re just smarter, prettier, or stronger.

But the Earn Your Leisure story shows us the secret to success. Take consistent action. If we keep doing this, we can start with something small and one day grow it into something epic. It’s just like rolling a snowball across a field. If you keep moving the snowball, it picks up more and more snow. If you stop pushing the snowball, it doesn’t get bigger; however, if you keep taking steps, the snowball grows.

Once you have a big enough snowball, someone else might want to work with you. Maybe you can combine snowballs and create a giant snowman. When Millings and Bilal started their EYL podcast, people already knew who they were. They had followers. But their snowball wasn’t big enough to get noticed by Dash. The record executive had had a much larger snowball of influence. The guys could have tried something different to get Dash’s attention. They could have started over with another flashier snowball. Instead, the two friends kept doing what they were doing. They continued to interview guests at their level. They created more content. The content helped gain more followers. Eventually, when their snowball was impressive enough, it made sense for Dash and Earn Your Leisure to work together. This was because they both had something to gain.

We often only notice the enormous snowballs. After all, something has to be interesting to go viral on social media. Traditional news outlets try to cover important stories. At that point, we are impressed by the sheer size of what people were able to do. We might even be inspired to start our own snowball. It’s natural for people to give up after we roll the snowball around for a bit. After all, it’s tough if we don’t get fast or impressive results.

As Millings points out, the key is to be consistent and not stop. This means keep rolling the snowball around. Eventually, your snowball will grow in size. It will get big enough to start picking up the success you’re working for.

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