If you’ve worked from home for any length of time, you probably learnt very quickly that it’s a bit of a lonely existence. You will spend most of your time alone. You won’t have colleagues to chat to and you have no water cooler over which to gossip, proverbial or otherwise.
This is one of the downside of having a work from home business and depression is commoner amongst the self-employed than it is in the general population. Low mood is a peril of freelancing. We are social beings who need that human contact. Even for an introvert like me who is coping with the double whammy of having moved across the country, it was imperative that I make myself mix with people in my new home.
My clients are remote and though most are in the UK, I have never (yet) had any reason to meet them in person. A few months back, I updated my details on meetup.com and set about looking for local groups so that my other half is not my only human contact. For those of us who work alone, human contact and making friends should be a higher priority than it would normally be.
On meetup, I found a group for an organisation called Jelly. It looked interesting, pointing out quite clearly that it was not networking. The idea is that a group of remote workers, self-employed and others who work from home on a regular basis, simply meet up in a public environment and work.
That’s it. You work in company around a table, share some anecdotes, have lunch and drinks, work some more and then go home again. There are two major reasons for attending a Jelly event:
- You break the monotony of working alone at home and not seeing anybody else all day. The last ten years has seen more start ups than ever before which means thousands of people work alone
- You make new friends or potential contacts, but usually it is a social thing. The point is not to network although if you do make a contact or a client, even better
Why You Should Attend a Jelly Event
I actually find on the days I go to a Jelly (my group meets once a fortnight) is that I am actually more productive. The reason for this is that when you can stop and actually talk to people for a few minutes, you are less likely to be distracted by the television, the X-Box or household chores.
Jelly events are simply a great way to meet new people. There is no pressure and as you are not networking, there is no need to put on a suit and prepare a sales pitch. Looking at the website (please click the image above) there are thousands of groups across the UK with more added all the time.
I don’t know where or when it started, but clearly it’s one of the best ideas ever to help the self-employed spend less time alone without feeling they have to network.
This is a global thing and I have only linked to the UK Jelly website above. If you are based anywhere else in the world, here is a list of events near you. This is not exhaustive, you may also want to try Meetup.com. If there isn’t one near you, why not consider starting one?