ISS BLOG – An Unexpected Recalibration: Shifting My Career Aspirations From ‘Media Mogul’ to ‘Self-Storage Sultan’

Read how a chance email led the author from self-employment and a long-term history in media and magazine publishing down a new road toward working as the new associate editor for the Inside Self-Storage brand and the industry it serves. With a love of real estate investing, he shares his dreams of leaving behind a legacy for his family.

Ron Matejko

May 3, 2024

3 Min Read

My path to joining the Inside Self-Storage (ISS) team earlier this year was an unexpected one. In fact, I didn’t seek it out. The opportunity found me. 

One day in February, I was checking my email and saw a subject line about an associate editor job opportunity. I’d been self-employed for the last three years as a small-business owner following a 25-year career in media and magazine publishing; but I was open to the right remote opportunity as a writer or editor. 

The email was from someone with Informa Markets, a subsidiary of Informa, the owner of the ISS brand. My 10 years of experience in corporate communications at U-Haul caught someone’s eye and they thought I’d be a strong candidate for this open position. I was instantly intrigued by the job description for two reasons. 

First, it was remote, and I was burned out by the commute that generally goes along with a 9-to-5. I had no desire to buck traffic in the blacktop jungle anymore. 

The other reason is my strong interest in building a real estate investment portfolio once the transitioning market presents the right opportunities. As I’ve gotten older and my three children have become young adults, my desire to leave behind a legacy on which for them to build and secure their own financial futures has taken on a great sense of urgency. 

I admittedly didn’t acquire financial literacy until later in life and didn’t know what I didn’t know about investing and building my net worth. It would be easy to feel regret about opportunities lost during the last decade when fortunes were made in real estate, but that isn’t my nature. Instead, I used that lesson as the spark to light a fire under my ass. Now I’m armed with a dogged determination to educate myself and be prepared financially, so I can pounce on the next inevitable upward turn in the investment cycle. 

My initial interest was in multi-family residential properties, but I also had my eye on self-storage, as I became familiar with that sector during my time with U-Haul. I also suspected that there are a lot of similarities between the two investment choices in the sense that they both have rental units and tenants. 

Over the last two years, I’ve done a lot of self-education about multi-family investing but didn’t put any time into storage. This job opportunity resonated as a great chance to get an up-close look at the industry while making valuable contacts and getting paid for it along the way. I have many questions about self-storage investing and hope to answer them along my professional journey with ISS. For example, I know multi-family affords value-add opportunities to increase net operating income and property value, but I don’t know if that also goes for self-storage. I recognize the tremendous tax benefits of multi-family, but do they apply to the storage business?  

You’re probably answering these questions inside your head as you read this, but I’m still a new student to the game. I know there are differences, too, and I intend to learn about them as well. 

In any case, my mission, along with my diverse professional experience, apparently appealed to the powers that be because I’m here writing this blog. I accepted the job with an element of blind faith that doing so would help me accomplish my future investment goals. I don’t know where this new road will lead me, but with my family’s financial future hanging in the balance, I’ll be damned sure to travel it to the best of my ability.

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