Marilyn Hallett

You've Earned It

What does your company do?

You've Earned It/YEI is a digital media platform for South African 60-plussers. There are 5.2 million South Africans aged 60-plus which makes this the country’s fastest-growing demographic segment! Numbers are projected to more than double between now and 2050! YEI has curated a platform that provides valuable information to South African 60-plussers across the key pillars of Finance, Health and Wellness, Retirement, Lifestyle and Travel. YEI provides products and solutions that suit all 60-plus individual needs. We’re proud to be the #1 digital media platform serving 60-plussers in South Africa! YEI showcases offers, discounts, deals and benefits, plus relevant, informative and on-point content geared at 60-plussers – retirees, pre-retirees, baby boomers and pensioners. To unpack this, YEI researches and writes articles on all issues affecting 60-plussers - from empty nest syndrome to dementia care, from Tax Guides for Seniors to senior home-sharing, from how to cope with a meagre pension to hints and tips for senior entrepreneurs (requesting assistance from professionals in their field of expertise to assist us on many occasions). YEI also showcases savings, benefits and pensioner discounts and deals from organisations across the board. The YEI platform comprises a website, a free fortnightly newsletter, a YEI Facebook page and WhatsApp groups in all provinces. YEI has, this year, ventured into video interviews, podcasts and we're about to have a regular radio show on Coastal Radio.

What is your biggest success?

Getting the You've Earned It/YEI book published by Juta's in 2008 - this was what propelled me into taking the YEI concept online. Some people were a little sceptical about my taking a 60-plus concept online - there is a perception that older people are not computer literate. We have proved them wrong - the majority of 60-plussers are digitally savvy, vibrant and active. They may not necessarily be able to always keep up with technology, but they try darn hard like the 80 year old I invited to a zoom meeting. She had never used zoom - I sent her the step-by-step instructions and she followed them, and a very proud 80-year old joined us in the zoom meeting! Keeping YEI going since 2011 is a great achievement, even though there are many difficult and challenging times. Now, we are venturing into radio, which has always been a goal for me personally, and now it's starting to happen. So there have been many achievements over the years. Not bad for a 71 year old, who started off with a dream, was like a dog with a bone, and never gave up.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

So many! Leaving a wonderful career in the field of academic recruitment to take a major leap into the unknown world of entrepreneurship - this was a giant step for me. Hurdles along the way have been the odd months where I have not been able to pay myself a salary, but somehow, we manage. The biggest hurdle was getting ill with cancer two years ago. My colleague held the fort, but it was a major task for her while I was off sick, and I'm quite sure we lost a couple of clients because I wasn't at the helm. However, I seem to thrive on challenges, and we are back on the right road again. Always ensure that there is someone who can step into your role when stuff happens.