I just left the sizzling asphalt of the Arizona desert for a permanent return to my native California. While I’m excited to be back in my home state, I’ve been told frequently that I’ll likely come down with a case of culture shock. I grew up in Los Angeles and have lived in either Phoenix or Tucson, Ariz., for nearly 28 years, so I’m used to the pace and kinetic energy of urban jungles and city life. My new digs are in a beautiful lakeside community in Northern California, where the pace is slow and the universe undeniably small.
Common urban conveniences like ordering a pizza for delivery are now inconveniently absent. For some perspective, my nearest McDonald’s is nine miles away in two different directions. The nearest Lowe’s or Target retail store is more than 60 miles away over a winding, mountain pass. Well-planned trips to town with thorough shopping lists in hand are in my future. I will no longer be able to simply run back to the store for some forgotten item.
In trying to schedule work to be done around the house, it’s clear folks in these parts operate at their own pace and on a different clock. Patience is in order.
On the other hand, there is no shortage of recreational opportunities, beautiful scenery and appreciation of a simpler life. There is serenity outside my back door. A few quiet minutes listening to the oak and cork trees singing in the breeze is transformational. A doe and two fawns make daily trips into the neighbors’ backyard as if routinely arriving for afternoon tea.
These are the realities of being here less than a week, and I don’t yet know what I don’t know. I’m intrigued, excited and apprehensive all at the same time. Any new normal can be intimidating, which is why it’s important to understand as much as possible before diving head first into shallow water. My wife grew up in the region, so she will be my guide, translator and trainer.
Inside Self-Storage has served as the guide, translator and trainer for industry professionals for more than 25 years. With so many new faces coming to market as investors, developers, managers and owners, this year’s ISS World Expo featured a 101-centric philosophy during the first day of concurrent education.
Self-storage is far more nuanced and diverse than any outsider is likely to imagine, which is why our education on day one was skewed to help those new to the business put their best foot forward. Investors need to know where to place smart money. Developers need to comprehend the scope and ramifications of the projects they undertake. Owners need to know all of that as well as how to find the right market and property. They also need to understand how to run a successful operation. Managers new to the business must wrap their arms around the multi-faceted duties of the job and embrace how they can impact the prosperity of the business with which they’ve been entrusted.
If you’re new to the industry wearing any of these hats, you’re going to want to avoid as much culture shock as possible. The best way to do that is through preparation and education. We are finalizing production on the education video we shot during the expo and will be shipping out all DVD pre-orders in the next couple of weeks. On-demand video of individual sessions should be available before the end of the month.
Each of the four 101-centric tracks from the expo is available as a discount DVD package, or you can pick and choose among individual titles. The sessions provide some of the essential basics to help put newbies on firm footing as they dig their heels into the industry. Here are some overviews:
Self-Storage Building 2016: Education 5-Pack: Although it doesn’t have a 101 in the title, this three-DVD package features self-storage experts discussing issues that are important to developers, investors and owners. Topics of discussion include site selection, securing approvals, site design and layout, building styles, climate control and more. Follow the linked title for a list of individual sessions. Once on the product page, click any session title for an in-depth description.
Self-Storage Investing 101 2016: Education 5-Pack: This three-DVD set will give you a basic understanding of how the industry got to where it is and help you determine if or where you should invest your money. Topics of discussion include an overview of the industry and its intricacies, feasibility factors, buying existing facilities and finance options.
Self-Storage Management 101 2016: Education 5-Pack: There may not be another property-management position that has as much impact on the success or failure of the business enterprise. New facility managers can become overwhelmed, which is why ongoing training is a must. This three-DVD set offers a strong dose of professional development for beginners. It covers what to expect from the job and delves into topics related to sales, legal issues and marketing.
Self-Storage Ownership 101 2016: Education 5-Pack: So you want to own a self-storage business? This dynamic industry leads all real estate sectors for a reason, but being successful and carving a niche in the shadow of the largest operators takes diligence and finesse. This three-DVD package is a good place to start. Presentations cover economics, best practices, staff hiring and training, insurance and more.
From what I understand, assimilation shortens the duration culture shock is in the system. The goal is to reach a comfort level with the new normal so that it stops feeling foreign. Setting aside preconceived notions and embracing the environment around you should ease the transition.
For those of you who are either experienced or relatively new to self-storage, please share a helpful tidbit in the comments section below on something you wish you had known prior to getting into the business. And if you have a suggestion on how I can get a pizza delivered, please let me know.