She Makes $120-260k in Mini-Mailbox Money?
Going small: Mini-storage units a fascinating idea for mini real estate & a good idea for our nation.
Invest $22,500 in tiny storage units and cashflow off them?
That’s around a 533% COC (cash on cash return w/ $22,500 down and $120k profit). I’ll break it down for you. If you aren’t subscribed, let’s make this official.
First to the micro-boxes with micro profits then to the macro view of our nation.
Making $100’s of Thousands with Tiny Boxes?
How’s this for a business model?
People LOVE the reoccurring revenue of the self-storage industry (7.5% CAGR1). But it’s not cheap to get into:
Requires buildings, land and/or a mom & pop to sell it to you.
You need millions to invest in the space (maybe $100’s of thousands).
You have to compete with a ton of the big roll-up players.
Hmmm… what if we could just miniaturize it?
Ok, except I forgot my shrinking laser at home. Stay with me for a second.
I’ve been looking at self-storage for a while, but here’s the rub… I think these days of 35.4% return are dwindling:
That’s the thing about the markets.
When there’s a great opportunity, smart people take notice.
Then the opportunity size gets chiseled and chiseled down until finally, it’s in line with the rest of the market.
Literal Mailbox Money & P.O. Box Storage
She turned $22,500 and a space rented for $1,500 into $120k profit a year.
It’s the first Pack & Ship store in her little mailing empire. BTW - Lisa is not handy maybe handsy - but not handy. I call BS on this photo. :)
Let me tell you about Lisa, she owns a slew of businesses, from the Christie’s Las Vegas franchise to cupcakes, to a bathing suit line, to running for Congress to being a former Miss Nevada. She is about 5’2 inches of pure entrepreneurial Korean immigrant hustle.
Regardless, when she told me about her decision, I imagined this chick packing boxes and chuckled to myself.
My immediate response, “Lisa, why in the world would you open a shipping store?”
Turns out jokes on me.
Lisa is now on her third store, with an operator who runs them, and all together they’re doing $900,000+ in revenue, $260,000 in profit, with a total amount of $45,000 invested in kick-starting them.
So I told her to GIVE ME ALL HER SECRETS.
The How-To of Mailbox Money:
Lisa was looking for her next venture to allocate some assets. She had some spare money to invest where she could, “Scale up, scale-out, and then hold forever.”
She started calling around looking for cashflowing ideas:
Multi-family = expensive and already allocated
Stocks = all-time highs
Private equity = already invested (wanted more cashflow)
Then one of her mentors said, “Have you thought about owning a pack & ship center?” It’s like a UPS but a private entity. For instance:
You start a new business (hand-knitted succulent covers perhaps). You need a PO box for your daring new venture so you can get an LLC, file taxes, and not have customers lineup at your house. Then you also realize you are going to need a lot of boxes to be sent to you, and you’re going to need to ship those covers out to your adoring fans. Where do you go? A Pack and Ship Center.
Her mentor owns 3 UPS franchises in California, loved the model and it cash flows millions. Why shipping?
Low startup costs
Easy business model
Postal business increasing by 5.3% 2 per year
Increase in new businesses (that need mailboxes) at 13 year high3
It ain’t rocket science, put in mailboxes, website, counter and run
BUT he cautioned; he would never go the franchise route again.
When you own a mailing store, ALL the money is in the mailboxes, but apparently, FedEx/UPS limits how many you can have. If he did it again he’d put 1000 boxes in it.
Enter Lisa’s New Venture We’re Hijacking:
ShipLasVegas: Your neighborhood mailbox and shipping etc.
Her little wheels a turning, she realized:
Her home town of Las Vegas was booming, which means more entrepreneurs and demand coming in as new residents flock in.
The money to start a mailbox company was pretty low.
She knows real estate, why not apply a similar rental model to this space?
Are you all ready to become mini-landlords? Here’s the breakdown:
Step #1: Get the 10,000 hours in 2 Weeks
The most brilliant thing she did. She went and talked to the local operator she’d shipped with for years. He quickly told her that his shop was making $1.2M revenue and $300-400k profit a year after 10+ years in business. Since he had a model that worked, she gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
She said, “Bob, I want to open a store like this myself. I will sign something stating it’s at least x miles away from you (so I’m not competing), but since I love your store, can I follow you around for 2 weeks and document every single thing you do? At the end, I’ll give you a bound perfect set of SOP’s for your entire store and I’ll pay you $10k for your secret sauce.”
And just like that, she has the keys to the castle. The biggest mistake I’ve made when building businesses is trying to recreate the wheel. I don’t go build a new tire at Goodyear, I buy one and race.
Step #2: Find A Rental Space
She looked in “gentrifying neighborhoods” with at least a few miles between her and the closest competitor. Her first store was $1500 a month rent, her second was $2500. Her ideal size is 1200-1600 sq ft.
Step #3: Build It Out
Her build-out costs were $20kish for the first space and about the same for the second. These include things like:
Mailboxes ($6,600 all in for the first round new- pro tip - check on craigslist as second go-round she bought them for $1200 used)
Flyers & Signage, & Launch Events
Packing materials etc
Step #4: Find An Operator
Turns out Lisa didn’t want to lick stamps for a living. So she hired an operator. Her model is to hire friends who are hustlers. Hack: look for those in hospitality, who are hustlers and not easily fazed. She chose a former cocktail waitress on the Vegas strip who knew all about hospitality but was kind of over being an employee with accompanying butt slaps.
Her pitch: You get equity, ownership and to be part of a budding franchise. If you do well you’ll get more equity and more pay.
Step #5: If You Build It, DRAG THEM IN
Then it’s all about notifying the community….
They did some happy hours, book giveaways, signage out front, mailings and google PPC for customers. If I did it, I’d buy an existing business and grow it instead.
What am I going to do with this?
#1 Invest in Lisa’s next venture and maybe the Holding Company if she lets me.
#2 Look at buying an existing store and having an operator run it.
#3 Invest in one of you humans following her model.
Moral of the story: There’s money in the micro, in the boring, in the standard, in the every day. It doesn’t have to all be NFTs or stonks.
Should we do a full playbook on Lisa’s model? I had her speak to our UA mastermind and have gotten requests to do a one-day event with her, if that’s of interest comment below.
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Have We All lost our Collective Sense of Hard Work?
I love Lisa’s model because there is no ego behind it.
She isn’t creating the next YouTube but she is SERVING her community. She plans to hold these businesses for her children. She has no desire to sell. She’s playing the long game. I believe strongly that as a society there is money to be made in the sweaty, unsexy businesses. But more than that, maybe there is honor there too? As opposed to fast money made on the interwebs or the gamification of stocks, what if we remembered that when we build businesses we are here to SERVE customers. We aren’t here to simply profit off of them.
What if we remember what it’s like to labor for a minute? To not turn up our nose at hard work? If you want a text thread to remind you about the opportunity to be found where others won’t deign to work read this:
Don’t confuse pure profits with purpose.
Question everything & ship it,
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