‘The Hip Senior’ reinvents itself amidst pandemic, achieves international reach

Marianne Bailey is the founder, publisher of Hip Senior magazine.
Caption
Marianne Bailey is the founder, publisher of Hip Senior magazine.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Worldwide crisis offers opportunity for owner of Centerville business helping seniors.

Like a lot of business owners, Marianne Bailey found herself at a crossroads when the pandemic took hold nearly a year ago.

Bailey had to decide where to steer her Centerville business, the Senior Tutor, which offered senior citizens instruction and tips on using computers, tablets, smart speakers and cellphones.

As lock-down orders descended, she was suddenly cut off from her principal clientele. And many of her customers were some of COVID-19′s most vulnerable targets, heightening the dilemma for them and herself.

Marianne Bailey of Kettering, owner/operator of The Senior Tutor. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Marianne Bailey of Kettering, owner/operator of The Senior Tutor. CONTRIBUTED

“I was in homes teaching technology,” Bailey recalled. “COVID hit. And I spent a couple of months scratching my head, being freaked out like everyone else. What does this mean for my business?”

It meant opportunity.

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Bailey, who will celebrate her 51st birthday next month, was forced to adapt. She created online meeting help rooms to connect with customers, many of them in nursing homes. And from the uncertainty, she pulled together a newsletter — a newsletter that turned out to be a online magazine that today has readers across the country and in 10 countries.

“I created a newsletter and showed it to a friend of mine,” Bailey said. “She said, ‘Marianne, that’s a magazine.’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re right.’”

It was now or never, she decided. In June, she created the newsletter — or magazine ― with 10 pages of material she compiled by herself.

By July, she had a 20-page publication with six people writing for her. The publication’s size roughly doubled every several weeks.

“Now I have 24 people writing for me,” she said. “I have readership across the U.S. and in 10 different countries.”

Once the newsletter (which can be found at https://thehipsenior.com/) was moving forward, she shifted gears yet again, creating a directory of senior-focused businesses marketing to senior citizens, creating a “safer shopping experience.”

Bailey had also been active on Facebook live. From that, a new podcast was created, which is now in its infancy.

Shelby Duncan, community liaison for Grace Hospice in Cincinnati, has worked with Bailey since in the second issue of The Hip Senior.

“I enjoy bouncing ideas off of her because she will always give me honest feedback and genuinely wants to help the people who are involved in her projects,” Duncan said. “I love what she is trying to do in the community to offer services of value to our seniors — and the passion that she has for The Hip Senior.”

The theme running through all of this might be seen as: Stay active and engaged in life. Bailey’s newsletter features articles on dating, tips on avoiding COVID scams, travel, weight-loss regimens, money tips and much more.

“We want people to be active and engaged with us in return,” Bailey said.

The market is there, she believes. The number of Americans ages 65 and older will reach 80 million in 2040, and the number of adults ages 85 and older will nearly quadruple between 2000 and 2040, according to the Urban Institute.

She believes her experience might also offer an example for women-owned businesses, as well.

“I want to create a foundation that helps other women who are in business improve their lives, whether that’s getting out of bad relationships, or sending their kids to college,” she said. “They can learn they can be in business and be successful, even on a shoestring budget, no matter where they can came from.”