Working from home can be a lonely business

An increasing number of entrepreneurs are running small businesses in France. Whilst there are many benefits to ‘being your own boss’, working from home can be a lonely business. One of the biggest challenges to self-employment can be isolation. The launch of “Jelly” brings a new coworking initiative to Languedoc-Roussillon and France.

The Jelly concept started in New York when a couple of freelancers felt they needed to get out of the house and mix with other home-workers for a change of scene. Jelly has since developed into a casual working event where home-workers simply meet together to work for the day.

Unlike traditional business networking, Jelly is not an event for self-promotion and business-to-business selling. Jelly is quite relaxed and can be held in a wide variety of public and easily accessible locations. You don't even have to turn up for the whole day, just a short while.

Jelly is a coworking event, not a business.

I was encouraged to start Languedoc Jelly following an enthusiastic response to the idea from many freelancers and home-workers in this area. What’s particularly exciting about Languedoc Jelly is the blend of Anglophone and French business owners that would like to work alongside each other, exchange advice, pick-up new skills or contacts, maybe even cultivate business ideas and work together on new projects.

The first Languedoc Jelly event will take place in Montpellier in April 2011. The date and further information will be published via the Jelly website with details of how to book.

Attending a Jelly is free, with perhaps a small charge for food or drink at the venue. Participants are advised to bring a laptop, a phone or even a sketchbook – and most importantly an open state of mind.

To find out more follow or

I would really like to hear from anyone else that is already running coworking events or would like to set-up Jelly in their area.

Charming idea…i have only my computer and my room office which can get lonely sometimes…I am in Lille…can we get together and “jelly”?

Hello everyone - we had the first Jelly in Languedoc yesterday!! I’ve posted a ‘quick start’ guide on starting your own co-working event in France. I hope this is useful and if you do decide to ‘Jelly’ please let me know!?

Not too hot on the geography here yet, but think Chartres is far enough from Paris or am I wrong?
I am definately on for doing something in Paris if you and others are interested…something very informal and casual to start off with…just to have the opportunity to meet and share with other foreign business owners and if something biggers comes from it great & if not…pas grave!!
So if anyone in the Paris area is interested in meeting up…please shout.
Bon week end.

Excellent idea. I get really bored working at home too. Only company is my dog. I live in Chartres. Anyone live around this area? Can I help you to set up one here?

Thanks Judy…i’ll look in to “Jelly” some more and maybe maybe maybe try something for Paris…
thanks all.

Thanks alot Annette,
I didn’t hear of those places, I’ll look them up :-))

Can I chip in? there was a Jelly set up in Paris but the website looks to be abandoned :frowning: Dashed if I can find the website now! But this one shows how Jelly is spreading (it is sooo hard to resist the puns!)
As Annette says - very easy to set up your own Jelly! You just need to find a space in a coffee shop, (McDO might be a good one!) with free wifi, and away you go. When I was at the UK Jelly last week, they said (a) it didn’t matter if there were only 2 of you at first; others will find you. (b) it can even be at your house. Oha nd the other thing was that you don’t have to bring a laptop! Creative people might bring pad and pen, jewellery or knitting, or even as some chap does, bring your invoices and do your accounts - announcing it to all means you actually get it done, rather than shoving it in a drawer until the deadline (oops - can I be describing me there?!)

Hi Derval - have you come across La Cantine or ? They are not “Jelly”, but certainly share a similar aim of providing a co-working space for freelancers and home-workers.
Do also read Judy’s post about Jelly here - there may be one Jelly in Normandy soon!
(And you could, of course, organise your own Jelly too :slight_smile: )

Thanks Suzanne - first events are happening in Hérault in April !! Updates on dates/times will be given on the Facebook page - hope to see you at one of the events, but realise you do have a few other things on(in) your hands :slight_smile:

Great idea!

Excellent concept & well needed I think…I only joined Surive France this week and just put a note out only yesterday asking if there was any kind of group like that in Paris…so far I can’t find one…and then I saw these postings today that you have started something eslewhere in France…I’d be very interested for Paris…

Thank you all (and Mr & Mrs H of course) for such a positive response to the co-working concept - the first Languedoc events will happen in April so “watch this space” for feedback on the first Jelly Français!

Organising a Jelly is not as much work as you might fear - so at some point soon I’ll try to post a “Jelly guide” for anyone else that’s interested in setting up a co-working event in their area. Thank you Judy for all of your support and really look forward to your feedback next week.

If you are following me on Facebook you will know the co-working idea hasn’t been greeted with such enthusiasm by the English/French? Forum police AKA … (well, actually I don’t know what the AKA is because they don’t appear to have real names …) Pfffff!

This is excellent timing Annette. As you know, I am very interested in setting up a Jelly in Normandy for co-working. I am off to the big UK Jelly next week to look at how it all works, and will talk to as many people as I can who are involved in the regional Jellies. The impression I have is that it is not anything remotely formal or onerous, so for those people who would like a Jelly in their region, I’d say just do it!! It will be lovely to see how the concept grows, and to come back here in 3 months, 6 months, a year, to see how Jelly is spreading! With more and more people working from home, fewer of us have much opportunity to benefit from socialising with colleagues - which is an incredibly important part of working life, I think, not only for morale, but also for bouncing ideas around, getting opinions and ideas, sharing good tips. … Will be in touch the other side of UK Jelly!

Hi Tracy, hi guys
First things first, Tracy we are virtually neighbours! My husband works in Mercurey, and we live the other side of Buxy. About 30mn away from you :slight_smile: I also very much like the idea of a local Jelly network, although I have very very little time of my own, I find that even 15 years down the line, working as a self employed person is a very lonely business. Most of my clients are in GB or in the States, but certainly not local, and altho’ I’m part of a translators’ team, my colleagues are mostly based in Britanny. Which Caveau do you work for Tracy? Incidently, about 15 k from my neck of the woods, there are more english people from what I’ve seen than there are in my area and yours, I’ve met lots recently with children similar in age to ours. So maybe there could be a chance of meeting up with/without kids?!
All the best, Marina

Hi Annette,

What a great idea! I hadn’t heard about this new concept either. Loneliness is definitely tough for the first year of any new entrepreneurs.

Thanks for this post, I hadn’t heard of Jelly before, it sounds brilliant and exactly what I need. I work from home as a a live event designer/video editor and a film maker. We have been in France for just nearly three years now and Amanda works as an English Teacher to French business and is out pretty much all day.
Where can I find more details about how the jelly system works?

Hi Catherine, I definitely will ! x

Ooooh Tracy please get in touch!

Hi Marina,
Where are you in Burgundy? My husband and I live in Chagny, also in 71, we have 2 small children aged 6 and 4, who were both born here. My husband is self employed as a carpenter and I work part time in wine caveau and part time for myself as a private tour guide. I really relate to the working at home thing, as my job at the caveau is very isolated in the winter as well so may be we could start our own Jelly, once I find the time to check out what Annette is talking about.