Today is a big day for us here at Starts at 60. Two years ago today I flicked the switch to turn on our Facebook page and our website Starts at 60. There was no one listening when I wrote my first article, and I didn’t know whether over 60s really wanted a place online where they could enjoy the company and conversations of each other. We were the only place on the Internet talking to 60 year olds that I could find, anywhere. It felt really scary to step out and see if 60 year olds really wanted something online.
Two years later we are reaching nearly 10% of the Australian over 60 population and more in New Zealand and throughout the world. Yes folks, more than 450,000 people visit Starts at 60 every month and the number is growing every day. And we’ve done it all on our own, without the investment of a major media company; without a background of working in magazines and media; with only hard work, great readers, good staff and awesome sponsors who have got behind what we are doing for the over 60 generation. We’ve done it from the desire to give over 60s something they really need. A place online that you can call home. And frankly, I want you to know, this is just the beginning.
Back in those first few weeks, I worked my day job and raced home at night to see if anyone had read my articles or looked at my site, a much clunkier version of the website we have today. Some of our first readers became some of our best writers, and have, over the last two years become wonderful friends too. For that I am very grateful. We now have 250 community writers having a voice (and anyone is welcome – just email us).
I’m nearing 40, as most of you know, and this is my website. But it is not at all about me. It is about you, your needs, your lives, your challenges and your opportunities. And the bigger it gets, the more I realise just how severely online interaction in this generation was missing.
About six months after I started Starts at 60, when we had ten or twenty thousand readers I rang up a few important people in the “Older” market of Australia and introduced myself and told them what we were going to do here at Starts at 60. I remember vividly as they told me one by one that they didn’t know if sixty year olds were really online or even interested in reading things online. It put a fire in my belly to disprove them. My parents are online, and have been for years. They read the paper every morning for decades. Now, they load up their ipads in the morning and read Starts at 60 as one of their breakfast to-dos. So many people do that we have often had 15,000 visits by 9am when our office is in full swing.
In the two years since we started we have published 7000+ articles and rank fabulously on Google for our quality of content. We have an office, and an editor, some wonderful team members and fabulous volunteers, and I have been able to give up my old day job and make bringing Starts at 60 to you my day job. We have attracted a couple of wonderful sponsors who value and support what we are doing and the position of high integrity and trust that we hold with over 60s. MLC, Living Gems and Escape Travel all play an important role – and note, they do so by educating and giving you useful information respectfully – just how we like it.
You’ll notice that there has been a couple of copy-cat sites emerging on the Internet. Many people don’t even know we are different businesses. We are… very very different.
Sadly, over the next couple of years or decade even, there is going to be a lot of businesses try to monetise you, flogging you things, serving articles that are rather blatant promotions for brands that don’t provide you with real, quality content. I hope against hope that you will always see the difference between the companies that do this and what Starts at 60 do. We want to bring you a service and community every day that you love and trust, and will only work with sponsors, brands and supporters that honour this.
I am, over the course of 2015, going to start talking loudly in media about the needs of the 60 year old and represent you. Not politically, but as a group that deserves a voice in the economy, to be respected for their role in workplaces, in lifestyle, in entertainment and in life. You deserve more than society brings, and it is about time the discrimination and invisibility of the generation that built our country was challenged.
And so, today, I just ask that you know the difference between us and others in our market, businesses run by big media machines. Starts at 60 is personal. It is here because I saw something in my parents, my inlaws, and their friends that they were missing out on online… a way to belong to something that inspires, something that supports and something that brings people together to make the best use of their time.
Thanks for being a part of our community. You make going to work every day exciting and energising for me and the Starts at 60 team. The year ahead is enormously exciting… I wish I could tell you all the wonderful things we plan to bring you, but I can’t … yet. It is going to be an almighty surprise.
So today, we want to hear from you. How did you find us? What do you enjoy? How often do you read Starts at 60? What do you want from us? Have you written for us? Tell your story of being a part of the Starts at 60 community.
And, today we ask if you could do something special for us… bring a friend!