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HowtoStartaJelly

Page history last edited by Tony Bacigalupo 1 year, 8 months ago

This is intended as a quick overview and guide to starting a Jelly in your city. For more help, and to share more good ideas, etc. be sure to join the Jelly Organizers Discussion Group !

 

What you'll need

  • A place with chairs, sofas, and tables where people can relax, work, and discuss openly.
  • Wireless internet.
  • An open mind and a friendly disposition. :)

About your Venue

 

Choosing a great location can go a long way to making your Jelly a success. Although Jellies can take place just about anywhere (they've been in apartments, coffee shops, and in company offices) there are some things to look for (and look out for) no matter what your location.

 

Look for:

  • A central location that's easy to get to. -- if they can't get to it easily and quickly, they won't come!
  • Ample parking
  • A location with areas/rooms/whatever where people can go if they need to duck out to make a call.
  • A place that's casual and comfortable. -- you want folks to let their guard down and feel comfortable talking to each other. Make sure your venue encourages discussion and has clustered seating that lets people face each other.
  • If you're using a coffee shop or other commercial establishment, make sure the Internet access is free, and power outlets are available.

 

Look out for:

  • Places that make you pay for Internet
  • Places that don't have outlets for people to plug in.
  • Places that might fill up during the time you want to use 'em. Try to ensure there will be enough seats!
  • Quiet places where it's hard to talk.

 

 

How to Create your New Jelly Online

  1. Join the Jelly Organizers Discussion Group and introduce yourself!
  2. Create a new page on the Jelly Wiki for your city's wiki so you have a place to point people when you tell them about it. (To get started, copy the text from another Jelly page.)
  3. Create a mailing list so people can sign up to hear about future Jellies.

 

Spreading the word

In order of effectiveness 

 

  • Tell your friends about Jelly and encourage them to come and to help spread the word!

 

  • Become involved in local groups that are already established and who would appreciate Jelly.
    • Go to their meeting and announce your Jelly meetup and pass out fliers.
    • Post to their message boards, forums, or mailing list. Be sure you learn the groups posting etiquette before you post.
    • Examples groups to lookup in your city:
      • Freelancers
      • Entrepreneurs
      • Programmers
      • Web Geeks
      • Artists
      • Writers

 

 

  • Leverage the Jelly brand to your advantage - Jelly is receiving a lot of media and viral attention. By participating and contributing to the Jelly brand your local group will benefit from all that attention. In turn your participation in Jelly will create even more buzz, creating more attention for your local group! This creates a wonderful Jelly cycle. How exactly do you leverage the Jelly brand?
    • Include the word "Jelly" in your organizations name
      • Why? Simply having Jelly in your name increases the odds that people will know what your group is about. It also decreases the odds that your community will create multiple casual coworking groups under different brands. A strong brand is beneficial to marketing anything. Including your casual coworking group.
    • Create a page for your city on this Wiki. In fact use this Wiki for all your Jelly webpage hosting needs.
      • Why? It's free! And free is extremely sustainable. Also it's possible people will learn about coworking independently of your marketing efforts. If this happens, when they stumble upon the Jelly wiki, your city will be represented. Further the wiki format is great because it does not require a webmaster to update the site. Anyone from your community can fill that role.
  • Create an email list for Jelly participants in your city. (This is actually most helpful after your 1st event.)
    • This is crucial for reminding people of the next event.
    • Don't underestimate the power of email, or expect people to regularly check the wiki to find out about the next event. Instead, send them a brief email every time another event is planned. 
    • We have an excellent and SIMPLE online service that you can use to create your email list, send email, and put a signup form on your city's page on the wiki and anywhere else you like!  and he'll set it up for you. (Thanks to the good folks at Campaign Monitor and tutorial blog for helping out with this!)

 

  • Post fliers where potential Jelly participants hang out.

 

  • Bring it up in conversation with coworkers, friends, and family.

 

  • Get Creative Every city has unique opportunities for reaching the folks you want to get to come to Jelly. Do some brainstorming to figure out who you know, what groups are out there, and who might be able to help spread the word!

 

  • Build Jellies grow over time. Hold them consistently and let word of mouth (in addition to all of the above) help you.

 

Tips & Tricks

 

  • If you're hosting at home, you might take the password off your wireless network for the day, just to make things easier for people
  • If you have time, consider identifying some good lunch spots nearby that you can all go to during lunchtime. Lunchtime chats with the whole group are one of the most fun parts of Jelly!
  • If you host your Jelly event at a public location like a coffee shop talk to the owner or manager of the venue and let them know what you're up to. They will appreciate the heads-up and you may be able to reserve a space for your members.
  • Consider bringing a sign to put on the table if you're meeting in a public spot. Here's a downloadable copy of the logo you can print out: Jelly.jpg or in vector format: Jelly.eps 

 

 

F.A.Q.

 

Strangers in my house?!

You might, understandably, be concerned about having a bunch of strangers over to your house. We'll admit, it does sound kind of strange.

 

That said, we've been doing it in NYC (not the smallest of towns) for years without any funny business whatsoever. People who come tend to be geniunely fun, interesting, honest folks. We think the group self-selects for this.

 

Support

 

If you're still concerned, here's some things to try:

  • Require everyone to RSVP on the wiki, and only let in those who do. (RSVPing on the wiki is a good idea anyway, as it'll give you and others a heads up of what to expect.)
  • Invite some friends to co-host Jelly with you so you know you have people you can count on to help things run smoothly.