“I am usually always on the go so I now take naps when I need to without guilt or bake and eat some chocolate along the way if I feel like it!”

Jane Roderigues

Today I am having a coffee with three fabulous women who have kindly agreed to answer my questions about their no BS happier lives. I have been working with Jane, Kim and Michaela for a few months now, alongside the wonderful Amy Newton, and have been blown away by their business ambition, personal warmth and individual talents.

How long have you each been self-employed, and how do you make the most of the freedom that self-employment brings?

Jane: I work part-time in financial services and the rest of my time is dedicated to all things interiors! The plan is to move full time into interior design so that I can be fully self-employed.

Kim: I have been 100% self-employed for about 18 months now. I love working flexibly, being in control of my workload, and not needing permission to take a holiday! Being able to work when it suits me allows me to be around more for my children and also enables me to take time out for myself. So if I want to meet a friend for lunch, take the dog out for a long walk in the countryside or book in a spa treat to recharge my batteries I can book things in and manage my work pattern around them.

Michaela: I’ve been pretty much self-employed for 30 years. From working in bars and record shops during my University days, to working in TV and Film in my 20s. I set up my own television agency in 2003, had a break when my second child was born in 2011. I set up my interior design business in 2022-23.

I felt like I had been in lock down for 20 years but with this job it gives me the freedom to work around my children, school runs, seeing some incredible properties and enjoying craftsmanship and the arts. By attending networking groups and meeting some incredible men and women has opened up my world, improved my confidence and boosted my self-esteem. 

What are you all passionate about – in business and in life?

Jane: I am passionate about making homes look beautiful and designing a layout that works perfectly for the client. I am also passionate about making delicious home-cooked meals for my family, travelling to weird and wonderful places all over the world, fairness, being kind to others, having an open mind and learning new skills.

Kim: I am passionate about wellbeing in both business and life. Nest and Flourish Interiors is centred around the impact our surroundings have on us and I am passionate about creating spaces that not only look good but make us feel good too. I combine my knowledge of human physiology and psychology with my interior design skills to create spaces that promote wellness and wellbeing.
In life, I try to balance the right amount of work, rest and play for me and my family so we can all feel safe, well and content whilst enjoying life as much as possible.

Michaela: I am passionate about interiors and giving my clients the best service possible, it’s important to me they feel comfortable and safe with their homes’ (and sometimes lifesavings) in my hands. I believe homes can be functional and beautiful but feeling safe and happy in your environment is number one.

I’m passionate about free education, free speech, free healthcare and standing up for yourself and others, fighting for what you believe in. Child protection is also something that concerns me deeply. It really saddens me in today’s world there are so many people who are scared to speak out for the fear of cancellation.

My family are my main priority and it’s important to me that they feel safe, loved and cared for and that I have done the best I can.

What brings each of you joy?

Jane: I love seeing what a difference good design can make to people’s lives. How homes can be transformed into something practical to live in, yet beautiful and somewhere to be proud of. It gives me joy when people make gestures of kindness – a small gift, a kind word, a home-cooked meal made with love, a smile to a stranger. Thoughtfulness goes a very long way in my book. I also love listening to a gritty crime thriller audiobook or a podcast while going for a long walk and spending quality time with family and friends.

Kim: You can’t beat a good laugh with friends so the ultimate joy-bringer for me would be attending a comedy gig. I also love animals and nature, being by the sea and chocolate!

Michaela: Witnessing my children smiles, hugs and kisses, seeing them growing healthily, happily, and confidently. Seeing my husband supporting me and finally doing something for himself.

Disco, dancing, chocolate, mugs of tea and Margaritas. This year, I was lucky to ride a camel and have dinner watching the sunset, then the most incredible hot air balloon sunrise experience, flying over the Moroccan desert and looking at the Atlas Mountains. This reminded me how beautiful the world really is and how lovely and kind people are. With so much negativity in the news the last 4 years, it was so lovely to be reminded of this, I really needed it!

I also like being financially independent and treating myself and others.

How do you nurture yourselves when you do something that is outside of your comfort zone?

Jane: I nurture myself with positive self-talk and remind myself how far I have come since the days of being an overly shy, awkward teenager! I also love to take long relaxing baths and put a face mask on or dance around the kitchen with my daughter to shake the sillies out!

Kim: I factor in some time to debrief and rest and gather my thoughts. Maybe I’ll spend some time snuggled up watching TV or reading. If it’s a really big deal I might reward myself with a little present or I’ll book to have my nails done or a pamper treat.

Michaela: I am not very good at this but I’m practicing. I do share my woes and wins with friends. I love a hot bath, clean sheets and clean PJs and watching a cuddly drama snuggled up with my family. Since working with Helen and Amy, I now write down my weekly wins. This has really helped me, I now see it as practicing self-love and I give myself permission to celebrate me, and that’s ok!

How do you all show yourself excessive kindness?

Jane: I always carve out time for myself each week to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. I am usually always on the go so I now take naps when I need to without guilt or bake and eat some chocolate along the way if I feel like it!

Kim: I’m reasonably good at giving myself small rewards but I do need to improve at the excessive kindness! For me it would be taking some time out for a weekend away with friends or a trip to the Spa or both!

Michaela: By creating boundaries with those who like to cross them. Learning to self-love and taking care of me and my headspace. I am still working on the outside, but that time is coming. 

What is one thing about being a business owner that you have each learned is BS?

Jane: That people who own their own business have it all figured out!

Kim: That being your own boss means you will look out for your own best interests! I’ve had to learn to be a good boss to myself and keep myself in check. It’s easy to fall in to the trap of working every spare moment on your business and putting unreasonable expectations on yourself. It’s really important as your own boss to ensure that you allow yourself time to switch off from work.

Michaela: I already knew how hard working for yourself can be. It really must be a passion what you do, otherwise it just wouldn’t work. However, I wasn’t prepared for how many other hats you’re expected to wear if you’re a small business in today’s society. ie; branding, marketing, copywriter, web developer, social media manager and professional networker etc. 20 years ago, I just had a 4 page website and did my job!!  I do recognise these are hats I can ask others to wear as my business grows.

What will be your next adventures?

Jane: My next adventure is learning new skills related to interior design. I also love to travel and plan to spend next Christmas in Thailand with my extended family! 14 of us in a beautiful villa with a pool and sunshine. Bliss.

Kim: We have a family trip to Paris planned for the summer to watch the Olympic games so that’s definitely the next big adventure but I’m hoping to get some smaller adventures booked in before that! I’m hoping to visit Harry Potter World this year.

Michaela: I would love to travel more, I would love for my children to experience diverse sights and cultures, it’s a big world out there! I’m on a self-discovery journey. Plus, it’s all interior design research Daaarrrhhling! 

An important part of owning our own story is being able to state who we are without explanation. Tell us something about yourselves / your preferences / your needs without any background or context:

Jane: I speak fluent Welsh and grew up in a tiny village in Wales next to the ocean. I lived in Australia for 8 years after spending a year travelling the world. I went on my honeymoon to the most secretive country in the world – North Korea (known as the Hermit Kingdom).

Kim: I’m a fan of Everton football club, I wish I lived nearer to the sea and I don’t like coffee.

Michaela: I need freedom, independence, escapism, fun, laughter, hugs, kisses, honestly, truth and reassurance.

Who are you looking to work with, and how can people get in touch?

Jane: If you’re tired of looking at the same bare and uninspiring four walls, I’d love to help you to redesign your rooms. I can bring colour and happiness to your home with practicality in mind. I’d also love to collaborate with any other designers in the south Manchester area. Contact me at j.roderigues@yahoo.co.uk or DM me via Instagram

Kim: I help busy parents to transform their homes into beautiful spaces, to suit the specific needs of their family and lifestyle with an emphasis on wellness and wellbeing. I offer in-person interior design services throughout Leeds, York and Harrogate and online services for those further afield. I can be contacted via my website and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook

Michaela: I am looking for people who would like to live in safe beautiful spaces that evoke happy memories and emotions. Someone who will wear a ball gown with me and drink Margaritas, whilst dancing under the sunset and listening to Donna Summer. Contact me via my website.

My thanks to Jane, Kim and Michaela for allowing me to share their insights! Look out for more interviews with members of my wonderful business network coming soon.

Helen Calvert
The No Bullsh*t Coach
February 2024