Even if you get out of the house to work in coffee shops you may still not be interacting with anyone. So what to do? You could try business events and networking, but maybe you don’t have the time or you don’t enjoy them.
Author of ‘Work from Home’ & organiser of monthly events for home workers at Central, WC1. Believer in mobile & flexible working, coworking, coffee & cake.
An excellent way of getting out of the house and still getting some work done is to attend a Jelly event. Jelly is held in places like coworking spaces and coffee shops, offering free wifi and the chance for home workers, freelancers and small business owners to get together to work, meet new people and share experiences. Selling or pitching is not welcome at Jelly, and knowing there is no need to stand up and talk makes for a uniquely relaxed atmosphere.
It might sound a bit strange if it’s a new concept for you – I couldn’t get my head around it until I went to my first Jelly, but in practice it works well. Each Jelly is different depending on who’s there and how chatty they are, but you can choose how much you participate in the talk or whether you prefer to keep your head down. For non-techie people like me, Jelly is a great place to find someone to sort out those annoying little glitches that can hold you up for ages.
Jelly is also a good way to dip your toe into coworking if you’re used to solo working at home and don’t know how well you’d adapt to being around people again! Bear in mind that it does take a little while to get used to the company, and that in the meantime it’s best to do work that doesn’t need much concentration. You’ll get a virtuous glow from having caught up with accounts, done some much-postponed computer clutterclearing or some industry research.
Start your own
You can find your nearest Jelly on the UK Jelly website or on the Jelly Wiki - and if there isn’t already one near you, why not start your own? Many people have – about 70 groups have started up in the UK in less then two years – and it’s not difficult. There’s plenty of help in my How to Start Your Own Jelly Guide and it’s easy to connect with other organisers through the LinkedIn group the guide mentions.
Becoming a Jelly organiser is a great way for a start-up or small business owner to make new connections in a friendly and informal way. Some Jelly organisers, myself included, have now had to give up due to growing business commitments. It’s hard to attribute how much of this is due to Jelly, but it must be a large contributory factor as you become well-known in your local business community.
What do you think?
Have you been to a Jelly event? How did you find the experience? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credit: Cillian Storm