The thing you’ll most admire about me is my candor.  I’m Joseph Mims and my Crystal Stair intertwines two life experiences: an unforgiving childhood and an unanticipated military experience, that shed valuable light on three things:

  1. The toll military life can take on your psychosocial wellbeing
  2. The power of support from a committed loved one
  3. The importance of a devoted mentor

Having been from Gary, Indiana, I understood what it meant to be impoverished and also what it meant to try your hardest and still not succeed.  I used to sell my lunches at school and would save up to help my mother keep the lights on…and it was only when our house was repossessed that I knew the money I’d saved wasn’t enough…I didn’t know much about money, but I knew we needed it and didn’t have it.

After high school, I felt my only option to receive a higher education was through the Army Reserves.  As attractive as it seemed at the time, there is no such thing as a free ride and I failed to read the fine print.  At the time, I saw it as a way to help alleviate some of the stress on my family… but everything changed once I landed 90 miles south of Miami, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…

It would be there where I would fight the battle of my life and meet the love of my life…

First the battle: Constant moral disagreements with leadership threw me into a cycle of frustration, anger and depression.  My depression gave way to insomnia, which introduced excessive sleep medication and manic flares of anger.

When Jasmine (my girlfriend) and I arrived back into the States, post-deployment life proved to be of little solace compared to my life before I enlisted.  That fabled pile of gold that’s promised to our veterans and soldiers was nowhere to be seen for me.  I was unemployed for several months and living with my girlfriend, unable to provide for her the life I knew she deserved…mirroring memories of me being unable to provide for my mother.

I was defeated and helpless.

I’d literally spent my entire life doing exactly what I was told…and had nothing to show for it and my situation wasn’t improving.  There were many times where I expected her [Jasmine] to leave me and I would have been okay with that because she’s seen me at my lowest.  Knowing and understanding the life I’ve lived, familial support has been a cornerstone in my ability to recover and become optimistic about my future.

And it only goes up from here.

In October 2017, after extensive mentoring from self-taught Chicago real estate investor, Steve Nomura, I incorporated my real estate business The Mims Group.  Within a year, I was able to raise over $800k in startup capital to purchase assets including a mixed portfolio coffee franchises in the Chicago-land area.  2019 is definitely a year of growth for me.

When you have people in your life who prioritize your well-being , it gives you the motivation to be better.

My biggest piece of advice to live by? 

“You don’t have to be a millionaire to act like one…”