As Barry Gordon wound down his career in dry cleaning, he found himself spending a lot of time helping friends his age and older with their computer and smartphone problems. “I could see that many things I take for granted were perplexing to my friends,” says Mr. Gordon, who is 66 years old Ä and lives in Harrisburg, Pa. Mr. Gordon quickl
As Barry Gordon wound down his career in dry cleaning, he found himself spending a lot of time helping friends his age and older with their computer and smartphone problems. “I could see that many things I take for granted were perplexing to my friends,” says Mr. Gordon, who is 66 years old Ä and lives in Harrisburg, Pa. Mr. Gordon quickly discovered he had a knack for understanding and teaching about these types of skills. And that became his springboard for starting a new business—providing tech assistance for older individuals.
While still working at the dry-cleaning business he co-owned, he started developing more of the skills he would need for his next line of work by watching online tutorials and. joining discussion groups about the many kinds of tech problems people often face. “I
took advantage of everything that I could find that was free,” Mr. Gordon says.
He retired from dry cleaning in July 2018, and two months later he launched
SeniorTechTutor.com. In his new job, Mr. Gordon brings a friendly approach to tackling tech problems his clients bring to him, including trouble with the apps on their phones or setting up a smart TV, installing software updates and ensuring more secure internet connections.
Mr. Gordon has had several hundred clients since he started; word-of-mouth is his best form of advertising, he says. Ages range from the mid-50s to the 90s. “Many of them are very receptive and very good at learning new skills,” he says. “But you need to teach them differently than how you would teach an 18-year-old, when things just went in and stuck.” In many situations, Mr. Gordon says, older people have no one they can trust. “We become good friends and I help them through whatever problems they’re having with their technology,” he says. When a client in Florida called to tell him, “I lost my Google,” he says, it took him a minute, but he figured it out and got her Google icon back where she could most easily find it. During the heart of the pandemic, he conducted all of his sessions on Zoom. With clients’ permission, he uses an interactive shadowing tool that allows him to help them remotely. Mr. Gordon also teaches technology classes in senior-living facilities. Staying up-to-date on technology for his clients is helping him age well, too, Mr. Gordon says. His mother died last year from dementia, he says, “so it’s important for me to make sure my mind is staying active. It has been a gratifying experience.”