By July 22, 2014 Read More →

Starting a Jelly group

Website creator Sharon Jackson set up a Jelly group – despite being an introvert!

Starting a Jelly group - Sharon Jackson, Bay Web DesignsSharon enjoys her own company and is very happy working from home.

But she also wants to help other home workers and people who are tentatively starting out in business.

Here she describes how she set up Sand & Castle Jelly group in Lancaster.

Hi Sharon, what made you decide to start a Jelly group in your area?
I have been organising ‘freelancer lunches’ for a couple of years and, after hearing about the Jelly events, felt it was a natural progression. My ambition has always been to facilitate introductions and relationships between freelancers; a Jelly group is a perfect way of doing this.

What did you do first?
I looked at the UK Jelly website and asked friends who already ran Jelly events to get an idea of what was needed and what to expect. I then started putting out feelers to see who might be interested in coming along. Luckily I had a lot of local connections through network groups like ESTA (Ethical Small Traders Association) so had plenty of positive feedback for the idea.

Most people find identifying and securing a venue is the hardest part. Did it take long to find The Yard Coffee, and what did you say to the owner?
Initially I was looking at an alternative venue as I didn’t think The Yard Coffee had the space. Unfortunately the place I wanted originally was run by the local council which meant lots of red tape, so I was pleased to hear that Rob at The Yard Coffee had an upstairs space he was developing for local freelancers, artists and so on to use. He is a member of ESTA and was totally on board with the idea once I’d explained about it.

Starbucks was my next choice as I know the staff, but I really wanted to use a local business over a chain.

Sand & Castle Jelly group, The Yard Coffee, LancasterHow did you feel on the eve of your first Jelly?
Oh, nervous, excited, worried – all the usual. I’d had a few people sign up via Eventbrite and I’d heard from a few others that they’d probably drop in. I spent part of the evening before preparing ‘goodie bags’ of sweets and balloons for anyone turning up. I also added some business info for Jack Knight from KnightTime Creations as he had done me a lovely logo image for free.

Now you’ve hosted three Jellys is there anything you’re going to change?
I want to get some more promotion for the next one in September, I’d love to get a local paper covering the story and I have been wondering if people would mind me videoing for a while to use as promotional material.

I know from our online interaction that, like me, you are an introvert so perhaps a surprising person to set up Jelly!  What would you say to other home workers who like their own company, but may be toying with the idea of attending or organising a Jelly group?
Yes, it was difficult to ‘put myself out there’ so to speak, but it’s all part of running a business and my personal self-development journey to try new, scary things 🙂

You may like running your business from the peace of your home with only your own company, however no business operates in a vacuum and we all need to get out to meet people.

Running an event like a Jelly group is scary for someone like us, but I feel that it is something that I can control and prepare for. I know what’s coming and how I will probably feel so I make sure I have recuperation plans in place. My Jelly isn’t even a full day – I run it from 10am to 3pm so the time flies quickly and I don’t feel like I am spending the whole day out of my comfort zone.

Attending a Jelly group is a no-brainer, there’s no formal ‘elevator pitch’, no expectations for you to even talk, in fact! We are there to work after all. Turn up when you’ve got the courage and leave when you feel like you’ve had enough. Nobody is going to be upset if you only stay an hour (or even less). It’s the most stress-free way I’ve seen to get out and meet other business people.

work from home secrets

Sand & Castle Jelly is now taking a summer holiday until September, but get in touch with Sharon at the links below if you’d like to go along when it restarts.

And check out my How to Start Your Own Jelly Guide if you’d like to start your own Jelly group.

Sharon is a digital life coach. Through her social enterprise Path 42 she offers a holistic approach to web design and beyond, building you a web presence and also helping you create your own path to a happy work/life career.

Posted in: Jelly

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