Learn how single parent Nicola Rodriguez re-built her self-esteem after an abusive relationship, giving her the confidence to move forward and start her own business. Nicola now helps people who feel overwhelmed by clutter to organise and feel more calm in their homes.
I’m Nicola Rodriguez, 46 years old from Brentwood in Essex. One of my main challenges is being a single parent with 2 children. My youngest has autism which is hard, but my children give me strength and inspiration, as well as so much joy.
My biggest difficulty to date was having to start my life all over again in September 2021 when I left an abusive, coercive relationship (not the fathers of my children) and had to find a new home, car, set up my Essex House Dolly brand and work on myself as a person to get to where I am now.
My business ‘Why’
I am the known as the Essex House Dolly where I am a qualified Interior Designer, decluttering and reorganising expert and a professional cleaner. I had to have a job that fitted around my children and I can be the CEO of not just my personal life, but also my work life too. I have helped so many clients to not only love their new homes once I have waved my magic but also to empower many women that they can do things and value themselves and they use my story for strength from what I have been through to make their own lives better.
Things that are important to me
I always like to treat people how I like to be treated myself but have sadly learnt the hard way that is not always the case. I have weekly life coaching and therapy from the amazing Bridgette Smith at Wolf Urban, which I have done for 13 months now. Bridgette has helped me to understand myself and to be a better, positive person and I feel that everyone should have a life coach/therapist.
My rock-bottom moment
100% what happened to me last year when I left an abusive, coercive relationship as mentioned above. I felt absolutely on the floor when the realisation kicked in through my therapy that I had been in a relationship with someone for 2 years that gas lit, love bombed and lied to me, as well as understanding that I had been a victim of narcissism and coercive control.
Without the support of certain friends and family around me, including the education from Bridgette Smith, I do not know where I would be right now. I can say now that I have the most calmest, peaceful life I have ever had now and have accepted my mistakes and decisions I made. Now with meditation and keeping my circle small, I am very happy.
Going back to the job I love after not being allowed to do it for a few years was wonderful. I am so lucky that the clients I work with are amazing people and so appreciate everything I do in their homes.
My journey of self-development and growth
Apart from having my two beautiful children, the journey I have been on this year has been priceless. Discovering self love, self care and finally valuing myself has been a huge awakening. I now have such a different outlook towards my life going forward and things that used to be so important to me now have totally changed.
I focused too much in my past of wanting to meet Mr Right and that has now gone. Working hard to building my brand name is what is important to me now as well as my children, friends and of course, my amazing Mum.
I have been really busy this year with not only working but also working with publications such as The Sun, The Express, Closer Magazine and campaigns with Zoella, NEXT and AEG. I am also currently doing an article with Apartment Therapy.
Dealing with overwhelm and stress
I tend these days to not really have stress as I no longer put myself or associate with people that give me stress. I have weekly life coaching which is a great way to eliminate stress, plus I do meditation everyday. I’ve also given up smoking and have a healthy diet; Bridgette Smith has helped me with this too, as she’s also a nutritionist.
My tips for other entrepreneurs
- Definitely have time during the day where you switch off and focus on breathing techniques/meditation
- Invest in yourself and get a Life Coach/Therapist
- Take self-care very seriously and look after yourself
- Evaluate your friends, family and work colleagues and think about the happiness (or misery) they bring to your life. Do they deserve to be in it?
- Think about people that drain your energy or mistreat you and when you cut them out, how much happier you will be.
Mental health is so important and I can hold my hands up to say that I at different periods in my life have suffered with my mental health. I also have Anxiety Disorder, so talking about things and not bottling them up is so important.
BE KIND – this world can be a better place if we were all just that.
To learn more about Nicola’s business, visit her website at: essexhousedolly.wix.com