web analytics

My business: providing computer support to the elderly


I’ve been talking a bit about my business idea recently, but I haven’t gone into too much detail about it. I think this is because I haven’t wanted anyone else to steal it, but that’s really quite silly.

No one’s going to steal it, and even if they did, they’d be doing it differently to how I’d be doing it. And they’d be doing it because they stole it, not because they created it as a result of being passionate about it.

So I’ll talk about what I intend doing, as part of the ‘promotion’ of it. At the very least, it’ll help me define exactly what it is so that I can move forward with it.

I was just reading an article – Organic startup ideas – which had some great information in it.

There’s two types of ‘startup’ ideas, it seems. Those that organically grow from something you need for yourself, and those that grow from something you see others as needing.

In my case, my business idea is all about what I see others as needing. Let me go into more detail.

To be honest, desktop computers are probably on the way out as a consumable item. Laptops and tablets are becoming far more popular, and the latest iteration of hybrid tablets (interchangeable between a tablet and a laptop) suggest this is the future we’re moving towards. At least in the next few years we’ll see them gain in popularity.

Tablets are really popular, but only as devices of domestic convenience. They’re not very good for doing actual work on them. But mix them with a connected keyboard that can be removed, and you’ve got a device that lends itself to productivity. Include the option to attach external monitors and you’ve got a replacement for your desktop computer that you can take anywhere and do anything with.

There’s an increasing rush to use technology to allow people to stay connected with each other. Social tools are booming in popularity as devices become more popular. But who are they being social with?

It’s certainly not with the older people in our lives.

These people are being left out in the cold, so to speak. They’re intimidated by the technology that everyone else is using, and ending up feeling disconnected. People are talking about sharing their lives on Facebook, and video calling each other via Skype, and these grandparents out there are increasingly feeling disconnected from the activities of their younger families.

They try to get involved, and they go out and buy computers that no one teaches them how to use. It’s left sitting there in the study, gathering dust. Or they play card games on their new $1500 computer that someone told them was a good idea.

They need assistance, and not by people running those ‘sheep farm’ training studios, where they get 30 people into a room, all of them sit down at a computer and try to follow the instructions being given to them. They’re being trained how the trainer wants to train them, not how they want to learn. They’re being trained on what the trainer wants to teach them, not what they want to be taught.

What’s important to them? It’s really very simple – being connected with their family.

How is learning about Word and Excel and PowerPoint going to help a 70 year old keep in touch with her granddaughter?

And so they remain disconnected, watching a world change around them, and increasingly feeling as if they no longer belong.

I want to change that.

I don’t expect to change the world with this, but I do expect to change the lives of just some people, and that’s good enough.

So my business idea is to provide in-home tutoring to people that want it, with the products that they want to use, to do the things that they feel are important.

Simple question – “What’s important to you?”

“To be connected with those we love, so that we can continue being part of their life.”

Phone calls are what most of these people use to keep in touch. Occasionally written letters sent using the postal service, with photos printed out and placed in the envelope. But that’s a dying practice.

They don’t know how to take photos, upload them to a computer, edit them, and then share them via email or Facebook. Things the rest of us take for granted are completely alien to them.

So I want to set up a home based business providing in-home tutoring to people. Visit them in their own home, help them understand and use their own computers, and teach them how to use only the software or social tools that will help them achieve their object – whatever that might be.

It’s something I’ve been doing in my spare time on occasions for the past 15 years. Every time someone hears about how I work in IT, it’s suddenly like I’m a doctor.

“Oh, you’re in IT? Well, I have this problem with my computer… Do you think you could come over and look at it sometime?”

That’s if they have a computer, of course. Sometimes they just ask for advice on what computer they should get so that they can do what others are doing.

So I’ve been doing after hours tech support for people throughout my life for many years now. It’s obviously something I’ve enjoyed, or I wouldn’t have done it. So now it’s time to turn it into a business and actually charge people for the support I can give them.

Doing work with something that you’re already passionate about is one of the biggest means of finding success with that business. Something that’s been a hobby for many years can become a successful business. Start small, doing it after hours, but then when it becomes more popular and my income from it moves towards paying for my daily expenses, I intend quitting my day job so that I can focus on building the business even more.

I don’t want to be a Business Analyst forever. I don’t want to be working for Enterprise organisations providing support to government departments for projects I have no interest in other than the fact that it’s what’s expected of me so I can continue being paid.

I want to be doing something I really enjoy, that’s helping people get something more from their lives. And helping older people stay connected with their younger family is something that really, really excites me.

There’s other elements to this business too.

Providing advice to customers on what computer or device would suit their needs most of all. Instead of a computer, they might best be served with a tablet or even a large-screen smartphone, along with the support to teach them how to use it. Even going out and buying it for them instead of them having to, and saving them from having to deal with salespeople that treat them like idiots for not knowing the ins and outs of the latest technology.

Setting up a subscription service for all customers that provide them with daily emails providing hints and tips on how to use their computer, software and social media. Providing ‘free’ tech support as part of the subscription, with extra charges for support on top of what’s available as part of the subscription.

The subscription service can also be made available globally, to anyone on the internet that wants that kind of support made available to them.

There’s a lot about this that I really love, so I’m quite excited about building it.

UPDATE 5 January 2017: I never did get around to doing this. Life got in the way with its distractions. Maybe it’s an idea for another time or for other people.  🙂

Thanks for reading! Please add your own thoughts below.

Don't forget to subscribe for new posts sent to you by email!

%d bloggers like this: