Updated: Aug 16, 2021
Special Interview with Aaron Smith.
Aaron: Thank you all for tuning in to another episode of escaping the Odds podcast, where we interview the formerly incarcerated who are now successful entrepreneurs. Our guest is Joshua Leeleese , he was just released from a Michigan state prison after 10 years. Aaron: He's been in and out of incarceration most of his life, probably about 20 years under his belt. He's doing things differently now. Joshua is working on a Real estate project. I think he's been home less than 90 days and doing a lot of remarkable things. So I wanted to make sure that I highlight his story so people see an individual can escape the odds of incarceration and start a successful business.
Aaron: Thanks for coming on, man. You reached out to me via the website, and you actually heard my podcast while you were incarcerated. So we can kind of talk about that man, and how that help you out while doing your time.
Joshua: Okay. last year in my bid, I got transferred to another facility and they had the tablet system in there. They allowed us to access or other educational information that was more current than we'll get access to any other ways with it though. I mean, it opened up so many doors. Like I learned from this show specifically. I think one of my buddies in there told me to check out Kevin Reed story. Every day that I got it, you don't get it ( tablets) for a few hours but it was still better than nothing. And I mean, it all just made sense transitioned from life in the street and a game to legitimate hustles that I can do. I mean, five years before my release I made a goal of acquiring a million dollars in assets within five years, I didn't know how I was getting there.
Aaron: What were some of the things you've been accomplishing since your release?
Joshua: I got home April 29th, 2021. My family was there about a week. I had about $10,000 saved up from the bid. You know moved down to Detroit area within a week. I had a job lined up at a church, started that journey. In the meantime though, I contacted other podcasts I've watched while I was incarcerated. I got on with him as well his name is Michael Santos. Um,ah, I'm just tenacious. I mean, everything I put into the game and the street life, I just basically think all of that one legitimate type of things and what I wanted to do with my life. And I was going to get there without putting myself in jeopardy. I didn't want do any more time. I mean, I've been incarcerated for years. And so I had to say, I didn't learn nothing to really change my view of things until this last bit.
Aaron: What prompt you to say "I can't continue to do this"?
Joshua: Everybody jumps off the porch, they get around certain things. I guess I felt I wanted more than just sitting in there and open up some emails with some mail or, you know what I mean? What am I going to get on the next store bag or something?
Aaron: Definitely man, speaking of eating, you're working on some real estate projects right now. Can you touch on that? I think it's impressive.
Joshua: I mean, don't take no for an answer. I mean, I post things there and I mean, I opened up the door with the other podcast. He's ( Michael Santos) talking about having other investors involved with me as well. I worked for Michigan revitalization, which is a commercial residential contractor. I've been doing that for a long time and that's when I got certified in the joint in Arizona. I'm trying to go from finding the right person to putting a team together.
Joshua: I mean he just put it out there, like why don't you get into real estate? You're in commercial residence, construction, you're a supervisor of a crew. You do this, you do that. I mean, and I mean, He's like I need to find investors and write a proposal. Michael said, I'll help you write the proposals for investors. I currently talked to him once a week. He guides me on what's precisely needed. He came home after 26 years and has two master's degrees.
Joshua: I mean, whatever he did, I wanted to follow them footsteps. He''s talking about finding a house that's 50 K that I can purchased and renovate to turn into a rental property. The goal is for the property to Produce a thousand dollars per month. So that's what I'm working on today.
Aaron: It sounds like you really have a plan put together for the for the real estate. As your mentor advised, its an opportune time to invest in the real estate market right now. Things are selling at inflated prices, which is an advantage someone who wants to buy and flip. I also think the buy and hold strategy works well too.
Aaron: Any books that you read that helped you get through your time?
Joshua: I mean thousands of books bro ( laughter) . Like anything I could get business knowledge. I mean, I just devoured like any I got, so when they put me at that particular facility they had the Edovo tablets.
Aaron: As we close out, can you recommend any books for anyone who wants to start a business, whether they're incarcerated or not? joshua: I mean, Bob Pell Shaw has got a good book, " illegal to legal". He did a little bit of time in the feds. He wrote a course in a book which is a very, very excellent read. Um,mean, it really depends on what you're looking at. If you're trying to get sharpen your skills as a person, or if you're trying to take your outward skills, which is your business stuff, you know what I mean? Because there's two aspects to the business world. I mean, knowing and having the ability to maneuver in there and understand the nuances of it, then also having the knowledge to know how to apply it forward. It was recess time. I don't know. I just read books, bro. Like read everything from Warren Buffett's books to Tony Robbins, Robert Green to, and even some of Trump stuff back in the day.
Aaron: You're doing what a lot of people talk about doing while they were incarcerated. But then once they get out, life hits. And oftentimes you got a family, you got the old neighborhood, old people, but it seems like you're changing your environments to make sure that your future environment is conducive to what you want to become in life.
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