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Student Storage Specialist of the Week: CEO, Sam Chason

Sam Chason

December 14, 2022

5 minutes

Sam Chason, CEO at Storage Scholars

Student Storage Specialist of the Week: CEO, Sam Chason

This week's 'Storage Scholars Home Office Spotlight' is on CEO, Sam Chason. Sam is the founder and visionary behind the successful college storage company, Storage Scholars. Sam started the company from his Wake Forest dorm room in 2016 as a freshman. I could go on to tell you all about Sam and his determination to leave college without debt and how he grew his empire but there's no one better to tell you his story than Sam himself.

August 14th, 2016:

The question was never how I would do it, but rather what would be my opportunity vessel…

Coming into college, I had one goal in mind: to leave without debt. The idea of joining a fraternity, playing club soccer, and going surfing on the weekends were all things I didn't think about until I got to school and started meeting like-minded people. I knew college would be fun and I would get a degree, but all I couldn't stop dreaming about was walking across that graduation stage at Wake Forest with the weight of a $250,000 tuition bill lifted off my shoulders. That dream quickly started to take form. Here is the story of how it happened and how I have managed to build a multi-million dollar college storage enterprise while keeping a balance in life. 

From the moment I walked onto campus, I started talking to friends, professors, and university employees, trying to determine if there were any gaps in the market. It wasn't more than a month into school that I started talking to my good friend and hallmate Wubetu and found my opportunity. I realized that many international students would fly to campus with two suitcases, buy numerous belongings when they arrived, and not have a simple way to store them when they went home at the end of the semester. I drew up some flyers on Canva, went door to door, and after a few days realized I was on to something. The idea was to provide students with the supplies they would need to pack up their belongings; we would pick everything up, store it and drop it off when they returned. In concept, this was simple, but the execution was far more challenging given the landscape of the timing when I would operate and who I expected to hire to help me. All operations would take place during final exam weeks when students were most busy. It was amazing because there was a clear pain point, and we were in business immediately. Yet, there begged many questions. Who was going to help me during the busiest time of the year? How would I have time to take my own exams? Who would answer the phones when I was taking my calculus final? I was living in a constant state of pronoia (a feeling that the world was always working in my favor) during that first move-out season which set the stage for the work environment I would live and breathe for the next six years. Everything always works out, there is always a solution, and you will always learn from your mistakes – so make them early and often. 


November 30, 2022:

Fast forward to the present day, the style of work, seasonality, and challenges that come with that remain the same. I look at my work year very similarly to how a student does. There are huge upswings at the beginning and end of the semesters and plenty of time during the year to prepare for the big exam week. Students' exams account for 40-60% of their final grade. The stakes are even higher for us, as nearly 90% of our revenue will come during final exams week. Being able to handle the enormous upticks of responsibility and stress requires preparation. My mom has always said that move-out season is like my Superbowl. It's months of preparation that all come down to one big moment. Unfortunately, as we continue to expand to more schools, what used to be a week-long move-out process has stretched to over a month. I focus a ton on my mental and physical health to keep my cool and consistently make the best game-time decisions. For me, that comes down to five things: 

  1. Exercising daily 
  2. Envisioning the light at the end of the tunnel 
  3. Weekly cold exposure 
  4. Always having something fun to look forward to  
  5. Breathwork 

Let me explain...

1. Some people go to the gym, play team sports, go for runs – I do it all. I spend a lot of my time walking, running, or biking on Lady Bird Lake in my hometown of Austin, Texas. I will often use the trail to get to Black Swan YogaLift ATX, or the YMCA for a pick-up basketball game. The most important thing is making sure I break a sweat every day. How I do it is less important and is constantly changing.

2. For a student at the University of Texas, the light at the end of the tunnel after getting through exams and moving out is summer break. During those late nights at the Perry-Castañeda Library, you start to daydream about taking the boat out to waterski on Lake Austin. Sometimes those few minutes get you through the following six hours of studying. My life works the same way. I envision the moment when we move out that last student. I imagine the weight that will be lifted and the freedom it will mean for a few days until summer school moves begin…it really doesn't calm down at Storage Scholars until mid-September :) 

3. The best-kept secret in Austin is a place called Kuya. I frequent this place for about two hours three to four times a week. There are plenty of places like Kuya, such as The Ocean LabGenerator Athlete Lab, and True REST Float Spa, but they all focus on the same things: 

  • Boosting energy
  • Improving blood flow 
  • Heightening mood
  • Increasing overall longevity 
  • Reducing inflammation 
  • Burning fat 
  • Increasing your immune system

What could possibly do all of those things at once? A combination of extended heat and cold exposure (sauna and cold plunge). I discovered this practice about a year ago, and it has changed my life. I am happier, sleep better, and am sharper in the morning. 

4. Working 80-90 hours a week for weeks on end can get overwhelming if I don't sprinkle in daily elements of fun. This may be a concert on a Saturday night with friends at The Concourse Project. On other days, it is as simple as my girlfriend and I taking a break to make lunch together and taking it outside to eat by the pool. When I am at work, I am "on" dialed in, focused, and ready to take Storage Scholars worldwide. But, I have a unique ability to "turn it off" when the work is done. It is all about finding a balance between work and play – something I have been learning to master since I was a kid. 

Getting a deal on Shark Tank!

5. My life hack for maintaining a level head in the big moments, times of chaos, and overall stressful situations is controlling my breath. I do a daily practice of Tim van der Vliet's DMT breathwork. This practice focuses on long, large inhales and exhales. Incorporating breath holds at the top and bottom of a round of five breaths, in just a few minutes, I often start to see colors and feel a rush of calmness and tranquility run through my body from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. Before any important meeting, decision or presentation, I will focus on bringing awareness to my breath. You better believe I was doing breathwork inside that box before I popped out and pitched on Shark Tank last month!

Dealing with my mental health is super important. Still, even though the business continues to grow each year, my job has become less stressful as we hire incredibly talented college students and professional staff. Those long nights in the warehouse in North Carolina have been traded for long nights at the WeWork on Barton Spring in Texas. The grass is always greener. Some days I would trade manual labor for back-to-back Zoom calls. Most days, I am so happy I am no longer the one sweating in the sweltering 90-degree heat carrying boxes outside of apartments like Villas on RioThe Signature 1909, or Villas at San Gabriel

Going into the 2023 move-out season, we have set new "big hairy audacious goals," one of which is to expand to over thirty new schools. Even with more than twice the workload, I always remind myself that if I keep my habits consistent, everything will work out, I will always find a solution, and I will always learn from my mistakes. At the end of the day, we're just moving boxes from point A to point B. How hard could it really be? 

-Sam Chason 

Want to know more about bringing Storage Scholars to your school, or have questions about summer storage? Send Sam an email or visit our website for more information.

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