I'm Tyler Sellars, a Canadian living in Spain, CEO of www.trycactus.com with the most incredible team of business partners.
I've been investing in Self Storage for 3 years and Real Estate for 6.
Here's my story!
Story of My First Acquisition
It's 2018, I'm fresh out of college and working as a marketing manager for a tech startup in the beautiful city of Halifax, Canada.
At the time I was making $60k/year (~45,000 USD) really enjoying my line of work and who I was working with. However, being a startup, each couple of weeks our CEO would remind us of our runway, essentially a playful word to describe how many months left we would have jobs. Reminders of limited job security served as a constant alarm to get my sh*t together. Tortuously urging me to get something started, while anticipating the inevitable.
Though my salary was modest for a recent grad, I found myself living paycheque to paycheque amidst the charming streets of Halifax. Determined to secure a brighter financial future, I began to research side hustles, as one does. Through mainly YouTube and podcasts I gravitated towards the world of residential real estate investment. Having experienced the life of a renter throughout my university days, I felt armed with an understanding of the industry.
Yet, a fairly serious obstacle loomed—my lack of savings. I had none.
I took to social media, posting a heartfelt plea on my Instagram story, seeking a $9,000 down payment for a promising 7-bedroom rooming house in my hometown. By an extraordinary twist of fate, two followers emerged as my help—Patrick Scanlan and Kyle McConnell. Their unwavering support and financial contribution marked the start of my journey, for which I am forever grateful and will forever name them in my story.
With newfound resources in hand, I set off on a journey, pouring blood and sweat into converting that humble rooming house into a prosperous investment.
I was hooked. Within no time the investment was generating a monthly cashflow of ~$1,200.
Fuelled by this early success, I started acquiring as many as possible. I reinvested everything and even convinced a few friends to partner with me once in a while. By the following 2 years I would own 12 properties.
But then, a global pandemic took control of the globe.
Price Surge. Time to Sell
As its ripples reverberated across nations, it brought forth an onslaught of challenges for real estate investors like myself. Government restrictions prevented adjustments to rental rates to keep pace with inflation while barring the eviction of tenants facing financial difficulties. Struggling to meet my financial obligations, I found myself standing at the precipice of uncertainty. Every penny within my grasp was reinvested in growth, with little regard for my personal income. Out of town money had driven purchase pricing up to unprecedented heights.
My realtor had never seen anything like it. The 28-unit I had just bought 6 months ago for $2.7M was now worth $3.8M.
I decided to sell everything at 27 years old.
(Queue internal dialogue) "But now what, Tyler? How do you go up from here? Everything's getting more expensive, you've just sold everything you built up and you're now essentially unemployable"
It's funny how just years ago I would have wished to be in that position, but all I could think about at this time was - "you're going to waste it and go broke again"
So I had to create a new focus that was longer term.
Self Storage Introduction
Self-storage, an industry known for its profitability and stability, presented itself as a potential avenue for redemption. Reports indicated a steady increase in self-storage construction, even amidst the turmoil of the pandemic. Intrigued, I delved into the intricacies of this industry, searching for a fresh start.
I began to look into investing in the self-storage industry.
I started SimpleStorage.ca with the purchase of a 20-unit storage building with a fully functioning mechanic shop on a 10-acre plot of mainly undeveloped land. My trusted realtor found me the deal and I bought it for around $350,000.
We cleared the land (and the mechanic shop) and started work on the expansion plan.
Finding suitable storage facilities or plots of land proved to be a hurdle, but it paled in comparison to the trials of establishing a reputable company. Determined to succeed, I devised effective marketing strategies, drawing increased traffic to the SimpleStorage.ca website.
Within a mere two years, SimpleStorage.ca had emerged as a frontrunner in the storage industry, boasting three prominent locations catering to diverse markets. In addition to our storage offerings, we diversified our services, providing third-party management and franchising options. Our commitment to security led us to offer comprehensive security camera setups for businesses, as well as support and installation of cutting-edge smart locks.
As I reflect upon this journey, I am humbled. From the beginning of seeking a downpayment to soon expanding our brand across Europe.
I plan to expand my real estate assets across Europe, but it’s a new market and I’ll be syndicating so I needed a new tool.
I created www.trycactus.com because it’s a tool that I believe should be available to all investors. Right now we’re focusing first on self-storage investors, but we plan to expand across all asset types later in the year.
I truly believe investors should have access to a full view of their financial picture. Cactus offers a comprehensive solution for investors looking to stay informed and make data-driven decisions. With our investor portal, investors in your business can access real-time updates and performance reporting, providing complete transparency and peace of mind. Our communication tools allow for seamless communication between investors and fund managers, with the ability to share documentation, reporting, and manage all communications in one place. Our smart pricing feature allows investors to view competition pricing and optimise pricing strategies by analysing market trends.
If you’re interested please sign up for early access on our website: www.trycactus.com