Ready Jelly Go !

A post by Anita-Clare Field

When I hung up my pinstriped suit for the last time and waved goodbye to my corporate existence, I knew I had made the right decision. I was focussed and knew what I wanted. The nature of my former industry meant that I had been used to a highly energetic, sometimes deafening working environment and suddenly working from home I found that the silence was just as deafening.

I had heard about co-working, and been to a couple of work hubs, then I stumbled across Jelly – A friend had several locally and thought it was a great idea to go and work with like-minded people once a month and share ideas and best practices and chat.

Jelly sounded great but how on earth was I going to convince people where I live in S.E London that we should have one?

A Jelly south of the river ???

I contemplated this for a while and then decided to investigate further, which is when I found Judy Heminsely’s guide to setting up a Jelly on her website for home-workers. I looked at the check list met with some people living locally who loved the idea and I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Crystal palace Jelly then swung into being – these easy steps lead to our first Jelly on January 20th 2011

Co-working for home-workers and freelancers

1. Twitter Account.

Twitter has been a fantastic tool for raising awareness and getting people to come along. I simply searched the local # and started following local businesses and people. My tweets initially were largely about #Jelly, sign posting people to information about this free co-working event that was spreading across the UK. It became apparent that there are a lot of home-workers; freelancers living in my area, there appeared to be a need for such a co-working event.

2. Venue

I researched local venues, mainly on the hunt for free Wifi and enough space for our requirements, somewhere for coffee and lunch. I approached the General Manager of our venue and explained what I was looking for and he came back instantly and said yes.

Crystal Palace Jelly Venue

Don’t be afraid to ask, lots of places are very happy to help out community projects, just simply present your case and the benefits to the venue and you shouldn’t have a problem.

3. Eventbrite

Once a date and ticket allocation* had been decided on I set up the event on Eventbrite, free and easy to design tickets and use to spread the word via the usual social networking channels. Eventbrite is also a great way of keeping track of who coming and sending out emails to people attending with up to date information.

*Ticket allocation is entirely at your discretion, we filled 12 places initially with a couple of drop-outs and as it turned out it was a perfect number to work from.

4. Local forums

Search out local digital news channels, forums and community sites. They are free and simple to post information about your event. They were very generous to us and sign-posted back to twitter, which generated more response.

5. The event

The day before, I checked with the venue, mailed the attendees reminding them about power for their laptops, extension leads, timings etc and said how much I was looking forward to welcoming them.

The night before, the nerves kicked in. I can only liken it to organising any event and especially free ones where because it is free there is an inclination not to turn up. I decided just to go with the flow and see how the people attending visualised it shaping up throughout the day.

Successful event !

The actual day was great, we had seven people and we spent most of the day sharing ideas, best practises and getting to know each other. The day sped by and everyone seem to really enjoy it. There was even time for a post Jelly drink and everyone who was there last week has signed up for Jelly in February, in fact there are only two places available.

I would recommend anyone launching a Jelly if you haven’t already got one; it really is rewarding and certainly a great way to spend one day a month away from the home office meeting like-minded people.

Written by Anita-Clare Field

About the author

Anita-Clare Field

3 Responses to “Ready Jelly Go !”

  • Hazel McLellan:

    Hi Anita,

    I’ve been to a Jelly today and as usual had an uplifting day. Together with a colleague we run Berkshire and Surrey Jellys and I honestly look forward to a Jelly day. I don’t know if helpful at all but we set up a Jelly page on Facebook, which together with Twitter and local forum has been great for promoting Jelly events and keeping the spirit of Jelly alive in between events. Good luck with Crystal Palace Jelly !

  • Thanks Philippa, on the advice of my other #JellyUK colleagues I have released more tickets. Jelly is so worth putting in the work initially, the response has been fantastic and also It feels great doing something for my local community. You really should go ahead and do it- NOW !!!

  • Philippa:

    i love this post. as someone who has heard a lot about Jelly events & has been discussing setting one up locally, this confirms the benefits of doing it. we really now need to just go & do it! hope the february event goes just as well

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