If someone truly cares about the industry they’re in, regardless of what industry that is, then they will do everything they can to see it succeed. Some business owners only care about their personal success, but they fail to realize that their individual successes are inherently reliant upon the success of the industry in which they operate. As AJ Osborne, CEO and Founder of Cedar Creek Capital, likes to say, “A rising tide lifts all ships.”
When it comes to the self-storage industry, a significant part of that rising tide is Osborne himself. With two decades of experience in the self-storage sector, there is nothing he would like to see more than the industry’s continued success, and he has been working endlessly to ensure that happens. From his investment firm to the largest self-storage co-op, a tech company, and more, Osborne has helped create a self-storage one-stop shop, making it easier than ever for both seasoned and beginner investors to enter this space and find success.
While Osborne wants investors to find success within self-storage, he knows that cannot be achieved without proper education. People entering the space uneducated is harmful to both them and others within the space, and their actions could potentially ruin the entire market.
“The more people you have building this industry up the better, and you really feel that sharing value within your industry is important; but if there's another storage facility in my market and that storage facility is failing or doing bad, then that's not good for self-storage or me. If that storage facility is doing good and raising rates, that means I can too and the industry is doing well,” he said. “The biggest reason one fails is uneducated investors and storage operators getting into the industry. This is a major threat because they will destroy the market. I want people to come in and be successful, then rates and occupancies all rise.”
This is yet another issue that Osborne works hard to solve, as he has already published one book about self-storage investment and has another set to release this fall, in addition to the resources he provides through Self Storage Income.
This educational brand includes an exclusive Inner Circle Mastermind Group, SSI Facebook Community, the largest and free self-storage podcast in the entire industry, his best-selling first volume, and his highly-anticipated second. With the knowledge and insights he shares, anyone interested in the self-storage industry can feel confident about entering it and doing so as educated as possible.
If you had entered the space around the same time Osborne did, you would have been doing so relatively blind. There were no books sharing insights, mentors offering guidance, or even that many investors. Self-storage was family owned and a small, untapped sector.
Self-storage today looks much different, and it has become one of the most popular asset classes to invest or develop in. Once you know what to do and what this space can offer you, it’s easier than ever to have your business practices completely streamlined, and this is thanks to Osborne and like-minded visionaries who came together to create businesses like Storelocal and Tenant Inc.
Storelocal is the world’s largest self-storage co-op, and it makes finding a local self-storage facility easier than ever before. You simply type in your city, state, or zip code, and the locally owned and operated self-storage facilities close to your location will be provided to you. They cater to 82 different locations across 16 states, and they provide pricing and sizing information directly on the website, free of charge, ensuring that you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Storelocal is so significant to the industry because it gives smaller owner-operators the chance to be on the same playing field as REITs. This platform was designed to empower the smaller, independent operators with the leading-edge technology that will allow them to compete with the bigger corporations, and Tenant Inc. is a large part of that leading-edge technology.
Tenant Inc. was created because self-storage operators were tired of the restrictions being placed on the industry, so many big names in the space came together to continue pushing it forward despite those restrictions. These industry leaders went from facing challenges that would severely impact how they operated their facilities to creating the change they wanted to see in the space, and now Tenant Inc. provides complete property management software to run self-storage businesses.
“We started these companies so that people can use them to compete against the REITs. We actually started whole companies to help individuals compete in self-storage. It is my mission because I know that if that doesn't happen the big boys will buy all the assets just like they did with hotels, then you're going to have a total of five brands out there, and no other companies will be able to grow,” said Osborne. “We have all of these companies so if you're coming into self-storage, you can have everything you’ll need to find success.”
But these aren’t the only companies that Osborne has a hand in. He founded his own private equity company Cedar Creek Capital. This company was created as a private equity, passive income-generating, investing vehicle for those who are interested in investing in self-storage but not actually running the facilities themselves.
This company is its very own one-stop-shop in self-storage, having grown into an industry-leading, self-sustaining, universally integrated company that handles everything in-house, transforming into Cedar Creek Architecture, Cedar Creek Development, and Cedar Creek Capital Advisors. This impressive growth gives Osborne and his team an advantage in the industry, as it provides them unparalleled efficiency.
About AJ Osborne
AJ Osborne is the CEO of Cedar Creek Capital and has an impressive 20 years of experience as a self-storage owner, operator, and developer. He is a founder and board member of the largest self-storage co-op, Storelocal, as well as Tenant Inc – a saas company supporting self-storage facility management. AJ has also written the No. 1 bestselling book on self-storage investing and hosts the top-rated and listened-to self-storage podcast, Self Storage Income. Accredited investors can find more information here: cedar.cc