How I Became La Jefa (The Boss)
debbie davis project

Dear OM Network,

Every so often, I like to write the network a personal letter about my experiences with Opus Matrix. When I moved to Spain, I only really had one skill. Singing with bands is my passion and I gained a wealth of experience before moving out here.

Opus Matrix helped me to connect with other musicians. While these connections only started as conversations, they eventually led to multiple collaborations. All that networking really paid off as I now find myself with 5 bands. My career is really excelling! Who would have thought?

Moving to Spain has truly been a life-changing experience. It taught me a lot about myself and even life in general. One of the most important lessons is that money isn't everything.

In the UK, I had been consumed by the hustle and bustle and as a result, spent many years stressed out. While I didn't realise it at the time, I was only a few steps away from a nervous breakdown and struggled to find happiness. I wasn't getting enough sleep or achieving a work-life balance. Without the personal time, I felt that I didn't have enough time to REALLY live.

What was all the stress actually for? I wasn't even really enjoying my job. In fact, my work was all about making someone else money.

When I moved to Spain, my priorities changed. I now place myself and my happiness first. At a certain age, we all reach a stage where we realise that our time on this planet isn't infinite. I think that I've certainly reached that stage. I am now 4 years away from retirement age and I have finally found my dream career (of my own making) doing EXACTLY what I love to do with people I love to be around. And best of all, it pays the bills!

I can't help but look back and criticise myself for my stupidity in believing that there was no life to be had after corporate. When I look back now, I see my post-Spain life and career as a big con. I was “bought” by the fact that my employer provided a nice car and computer. When in retrospect, this wasn't important and in fact, the computer turned out to be one of the cheapest models on the market. I had a nice salary and got to attend a conference once a year to some hotel during the off-season (i.e. when the weather was likely to be bad and the prices were the cheapest for my employer). I find this existence to be very sad.

But, as they say, “best to let bygones be bygones”. My life has completely changed for the better. I'm my own boss and I can, at least, recognise that my ex-employers gave me corporate skills for effectively running my own business. You see there IS life after corporate.

I hope that all Opus Matrix people are actively chasing their dreams and don't fall into the same trap I did. We only get one life so make the most of it.

Lots of love,



Opus Matrix

Everything You Need To Know About Self-Assessments
February 20, 2018
self assessment tax

The tax deadline of January 31st has passed and many sole traders are wiping the sweat from their foreheads after scrambling their books and payments together. It’s this time of year that many business owners tell themselves to get super organised to avoid issues next year and there are several methods for ensuring that you avoid penalties and budget correctly for 2018.

With some proper planning, come next January you won't need to panic over last-minute self-assessments or stress to pull together large sums.

What are Self-Assessments?


All freelancers and limited company owners must file a self-assessment. This basically takes account of all of your profits and expenses and calculates the amount you owe in National Insurance contributions and taxes.

It pays to complete the self-assessment early as it will give you an idea of the amount you owe.

Tips for Filing A Self-Assessment


The first step is to create an online account at HMRC. It can take up to seven days to receive your activation code in the post and you can't log-in without it so it's best. If you already have an account, you can just sign-in online.

You will need to sort through your paperwork to determine your profits and expenses. Remember that profits also include any accrued interest on bank accounts and dividends.

You can charge all business expenses onto a debit card. This makes determining expenses slightly easier as there is a paper trail. Each year you can then go through bank statements and highlight all profits or expenses. This information is then entered into an Excel document. The final amount that you have to pay taxes on is then determined by deducting the tax-free allowance (£11,500) and expenses from the profits.

Most information about self-assessments can be found online on HMRC's help page. This page includes everything from how to register to property tax. It can be far more effective to find information online than attempting to call HMRC. Though I have occasionally found their staff to be helpful and it isn't that difficult, unlike some companies, to access a human representative.

How to Budget for Taxes


If you make over the HMRC profit threshold of £1000, then you'll also be expected to pay half of next year's taxes in advance. As a result, you can often face a hefty tax bill.

One of the best ways to determine how much you will owe is by using HMRC's tax calculator. Once you have a good idea of what to expect, you can budget accordingly. The HMRC Tax Reckoner Tool can help you determine how much to set aside each week or month.

It may be easier to set-up another bank account and then save your tax money into this account.

Tax Penalties and Fines

People that fail to pay their taxes on time, don't pay enough tax, or make a mistake on their form can face fines and penalties.

One of the easiest ways to receive a penalty is by failing to submit your SA by the January 31st tax deadline. Even if you only submit one day late, you can face a penalty of £100. Once payments are more than 3 months late, you face additional penalties which start at £10 per day.

If you do owe taxes and fail to pay these taxes by the 31st deadline, you'll also face a penalty. If the outstanding taxes aren't paid by the 31st of February, the penalty is 5% of the amount. After 6 and 12 months, you'll face an additional 5% fine. Overdue taxes also accumulate interest at a rate of 3%.

Mitigating Circumstances


Most people fail to submit or pay their taxes on time for the simple reason that they forget. However, you can avoid the penalty if you missed the deadline due to a mitigating circumstance such as the death of a partner or close relative shortly before the deadline, unexpected stay in a hospital, serious or life-threatening illness, or unexpected postal delay. The full list of “reasonable excuses” can be found online.

How to Avoid Penalties


The best way to avoid tax penalties is by planning ahead. You can submit your SA any time after the start of the tax year (April 5th), which gives you nearly 9 months to get your paperwork together. With such a long window, there's truly no excuse to leave it to the last minute. Get your paperwork together early and submit your SA to avoid penalties and stress.


The OM Team

Be My Job Valentine
February 14, 2018
Be My Job Valentine
Happy Valentine’s Day


No doubt you will receive a bunch of flowers, chocolates or even something extra special from your loved one today. We all make personal choices about who to spend our time with and have fun with but what about the world of work?

Work is a massive part of our lives and choosing the right career is like a marriage, an alignment of goals and personal objectives. Choosing a job you love can be a hard and tedious task but as we evolve through education, we can identify our key skills and how best to use these in the marketplace.
For some, their professional skillset will lead them down a corporate path or niche business career but for others it’s not so simple and when you throw in a personal life and family commitments, the career can often be left on the shelf.

A change in circumstances can affect your career choices and sometimes becoming a parent can make you reassess what’s important and change your mindset. For many mumpreneurs, their inspiration is to choose a career that fits around their hectic lifestyle. There are so many freelance opportunities now that tasks can be completed when you have time and you have the power to switch your working hours on or off.
For example, working evenings may be the best option for you, when it’s a quiet time of the day and you can focus on getting everything done without the hassle of phone calls and emails during the day or children running around your feet.

The wider you throw your freelance net, the more opportunities will come your way and your true love career may actually turn out to be lots of little jobs bundled together to suit you.
Connect with other freelancers and create multiple income streams on Opus Matrix.

The OM Team

Ideas for When You’re Stuck At Home
January 29, 2018
2018 goals

Christmas is expensive. We all spend far too much money during the holidays, which ultimately leads to a quiet January. Whether you're doing a dry January or simply staying home to recuperate the cash, we're here to help with ideas for keeping you occupied.


Get Productive

Just because you may be stuck at home, this doesn't mean that you can't be productive. January is a great time for networking as it's the start of many companies and people's yearly budgets. Most people are also more open to new ideas and opportunities in the New Year.


Get Networking

Opus Matrix is a great platform for networking. Simply chatting to like-minded people can help generate new opportunities as well as ideas. Who knows, these relationships may even eventually lead to paid opportunities!

I strongly believe in the power of networking and most of my professional opportunities have come from simply reaching out to other people in the industry. Not all conversations immediately lead to paid opportunities and quite often it wasn't until I had built a relationship with someone that a paid opportunity became available. I believe that all conversations are worth having – even if it simply leads to a suggestion such as an online course or resume twerk, it can eventually lead to bigger opportunities.


Home Craft Business

Why not start a new business? Whether it's knitting scarfs or ceramics, a craft business may be a great home business. With our online retail space, entrepreneurs can list and sell their goods through Opus Matrix. So boost your income by channelling your inner creativity.


The OM Team