Jelly for workhubs

How to start your own Jelly – for workhubs, coworking spaces and other venue owners

Jelly is a free, informal coworking day for freelancers, home workers and small business owners who want to vary their routine and work in a different environment, like a workhub, alongside likeminded people.

Setting up a work hub - Gavin Eddy, Workhubs Conference 2010 - Picture by San Sharma, Enterprise NationSo why would you offer for nothing the space you normally charge for? Workhub owner Gavin Eddy of The Old Church School in Frome, Somerset came up with a number of reasons why Jelly is good for business in the How to start your own Jelly guide.

Having now hosted a number of monthly Jellys, he adds these observations to his previous comments:

1. ‘Our experience has been that we get at least one follow–up enquiry from every Jelly event.

2. Jelly users are often engaged in non-traditional businesses which adds diversity and interest to the building.

3. It provides an extension to the networking opportunities for our existing clients’.

The fact is that Jelly consistently winkles out home workers who would otherwise stay firmly beneath the radar. Jelly attracts people who never go to networking meetings either because they don’t feel comfortable or they don’t need to find more clients. The kind of people who will be glad to know about your workhub and may sign up for space.

How to run Jelly in your workhub

You have two options:

1. Find a freelancer/home worker/small business owner who is sufficiently inspired by the Jelly concept to want to run it themselves. This could be someone who already uses your workhub or one of their contacts. If Jelly is already happening in your area approach the organiser to find out if they would like another venue – it’s good for everyone to vary things a little and avoids possible Jelly burnout!

Jelly organisers benefit from a greatly increased profile and meeting lots of new people in return for not a great deal of time and effort, especially once they are up and running. After all, you’ve already removed the hardest part by offering a venue! You can point them to lots of background information from the American innovators on the Jelly Wiki and a step-by-step guide to organising Jelly on How to start your own Jelly and the Jelly checklist.

2. Organise Jelly in-house

The beauty of Jelly is that it’s not at all about selling. I’ve heard about serviced offices jumping on the Jelly bandwagon as an overt promotional tool to get people through the door – and very few people have turned up. Instead view it as a way of reaching out to your local freelancer and small business community and helping them to link up with each other. If they like what you do, and it’s in the generous spirit of Jelly, word will spread quickly.

I wrote the How to start your own Jelly guide for individuals, but it’s equally useful for workhubs setting up Jelly in-house, as is the other information such as Attending Jelly and the Checklist for Jelly organisers. I’ve found Twitter is by far the best way to promote Jelly. It seems to find those who ‘get it’ and want to be part of a Jelly/workhub community. They will have friends and colleagues with similar values.

Jelly Logo - casual get togethers for homeworkers & freelancers

On the day Jelly takes place you will need a member of staff to greet the attendees, make introductions and pass on the usual housekeeping information. That person can either leave the Jelly group to get on while being available when needed or work alongside them for the day.

Indycube in Cardiff has organised regular Jelly events since opening in early 2010. Each Jelly attendee is shown around, introduced to other coworkers and invited to choose a desk. They are encouraged to make themselves at home, for example by putting the coffee on whenever they feel like it. Indycube has a room that can be used for Jelly but when the coworking space is not already fully occupied they work alongside everyone else.

You will no doubt want to tell your Jelly guests about the services available at your workhub, and give them a quick tour. Make sure the emphasis here is firmly on information giving, not selling, and leave literature around that can be picked up and taken away. The Jelly attendees are bound to have questions about hours, tariffs, services etc, so make sure the member of staff concerned can answer these confidently and accurately. If they do you might sign up some new clients immediately!

Enjoyed this and want to know more? Try –

Coworking for home workers and freelancers

Attending Jelly

How to start your own Jelly

#jellymoment

Jelly for home workers

Jellyquette – what’s that?

Checklist for Jelly organisers

Pass Jelly forward

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