From lucrative careers in social media, marketing, and tech, millennials are impacting the future of work. One career industry, in particular, that's creating new jobs and opportunities is the podcasting space.

According to research, podcasting is projected to become a billion-dollar industry in just a year. Large acquisitions like Spotify’s recent purchases of both Gimlet Media and Anchor prove that the podcast industry is relevant, profitable, and isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

One particular podcast show, Guys Next Door (GND), is proof that the podcasting space can render success if you just put in the work. The Guys Next Door, a podcast show hosted by 3 Black millennial males, is an in-depth look at our generation’s thoughts on love, business, relationships, sex, and everything in between. Since releasing its first episode in February of 2019, GND has amassed nearly 1 million listeners and also has an average of around 25,000 per episode.

The Guys Next Door is hosted by Ryan Fletcher (Fly Ry), Mack Wilds, and Mouse Jones. When they are not recording their podcast, Fly Ry works as the Director of A&R for Downtown Records and is an entrepreneur. Mack Wilds showcases his talents through music and acting, and Mouse Jones is a well-known host, television-personality, and social commentator.

Recently, I was able to speak with Fly Ry, one-third of the GND crew, and he dropped some gems on the business and the creative aspects of having a successful podcast. Here are the top takeaways from our conversation:

Start something that you’re passionate about, and it’ll never feel like work.

Our podcast came together from us just having our regular, everyday guy talk, and dropping gems that are relevant for Black millennials. We automatically thought that the conversations we were having were interesting enough for people to want to listen to and that they would understand. Also, while we knew that some people wouldn’t necessarily agree with everything that we discussed, we knew that it would spark necessary conversations, and that’s what we wanted – we wanted to start conversations that weren’t being had.

For us, we weren’t in it for the money, we just wanted to share our everyday conversations, help people with their problems, and spark conversations in our community. Later, we realized that podcasting is a real way to obtain some extra income, so that makes having a podcast even better at the same time.

Authenticity sells, so why be a fluke?

We wanted our podcast to be and feel as authentic as possible, so honestly, every day is different when it comes down to our content model.

For us, we rarely, if any, go into an episode saying this is “exactly” what we’re going to do. On our podcast, we create our content based on what we see what’s happening on social media, in our community, or we base it on our life experiences that we know are relatable to our community.

It’s important for us to be our true selves, and not having a scripted show. I feel like doing it this way just brings out the best in all three of us, in all different ways, and it is also what makes our podcast successful. We’ve all been through different things, and are in different situations in our lives, and I think that’s what attracts our target market and makes them come back to listen for more.

You’re more than a podcast. Users want to know you.

With our podcast, we actively and organically post on social media. We not only post to promote the podcast when a new episode is out, but we also post on a regular basis – both on our personal and podcast page. For our community, we know that they want to see us working behind the scenes, they want to hear about what we have going on outside of the podcast, and they want to hear from us on a consistent basis. Posting like this helps us redirect traffic back to the podcast.

Collaborate strategically.

Another thing that we do to grow our fanbase is getting on other people’s podcasts, and that’s something that many other podcasters do as well. For example, I have friends that have larger podcast audiences. By me or even the GND crew going on their podcast, we’re able to reach new people that may have not heard of us otherwise.

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Being different or the first of your kind sells.

Today there are so many podcasts that talk about the same thing, so I think our content style, in general, is what attracts listeners. For the most part, there really isn’t any other podcast out there that’s hosted by Black young guys, talking about the topics we discuss, going into depth the way we do, and not having a filter or being afraid to speak our mind and be real.

Relentlessly focus on data and analytics.

At GND, we look closely at every episode play and try to figure out which episodes did better than others and why. We also look and see what our audience demographics look like by looking at the data and analytics. This shows us what percentage of a certain age and gender our listeners are, where they are located, and so much more. The key is, you just have to take time to learn your audience, and listen to them, and once you do that, then you’re golden.

Every “overnight success” is really years in the making.

My advice to any aspiring or new podcasters would be to keep going no matter what. Don’t let anything discourage you from recording. Even if you have a certain amount of listeners, and you’re not where you thought you would be, remember nothing happens overnight. I tell people every day, everybody sees what they consider is an overnight success, especially when they look at artists, celebrities, or rappers that they think just popped up and are popping all of sudden. But, what they don’t know is that every “overnight success” is really just five years or more of hard work in the making. So essentially, I just want people to never stop, don’t settle, and know that eventually, things will work out.

If you haven’t already, check out the Guys Next Door on Apple or on your favorite podcasting platform!