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

New Year, New Opportunities
2018 new year

The New Year creates the chance to reflect over the last year. With the start of the New Year, it's the time to review 2017. Did you accomplish your goals for 2017? What changes did the last year bring you and your business? And of course, what do you hope to achieve in 2018?

Each year, we all set New Year resolutions. Whether your resolutions are personal or professional, we have some tips for helping you reach your goals.


Three Tips for Keeping Your New Year Resolutions

  • Set realistic and manageable resolutions
  • Break your resolutions into smaller weekly goals
  • Stay motivated by measuring and celebrating your progress


Recent Blogs


For a more in-depth read, check out our recent blog post on New Year Resolutions. The New Year is also a fantastic time for trying new things and our blog Discover Hidden Talents by Trying New Things may just provide the motivation you need.

Remember, Opus Matrix can help you achieve your resolutions. Whether it's networking to find the perfect job, connecting with your next business partner, or opening new opportunities, we're the perfect platform for achieving big things. Read more about it with our blog Achieve Big Things With Opus Matrix: The Ideal Platform for Collaborating.


Hall of Fame


Here’s our Hall of Fame at the moment. As you know, our recent competition is coming to an end and there are only 2 weeks left before we announce our new winner. Click here to get started sharing your posts.

At the end of January, we will announce our winners. For our current competition we are offering a £50 prize for the best fully completed profile and £50 for the most active user of the site. The winners will receive the prize as an Amazon voucher. Good Luck!

Position Name Points
1 Toni Charles 350.00
2 Tonia Hall 210.00
3 Jane Quinn 190.00
4 Anita Oleksy 174.00
5 Novelette Ellis 132.00



Happy January!

The OM Team


Discover Your Hidden Talents By Trying New Things
December 30, 2017
barry white

We get it, taking risks by venturing into the unknown can be scary. What happens if you try something new and it turns out that you're rubbish at it?


Well, as contemporary poet Erin Hanson once wrote:

There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask "What if I fall?"

Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?


The only way to discover hidden talents is by taking the leap and trying new things.


Discover Similar Skills


One of the safest ways to discover hidden talents is by considering skills that are similar or related to the skills you currently possess.


Channel Your Inner Barry White


For example, Barry White entered the music industry as a producer, but is most widely known for his musical talents.

As Barry White had a good ear for music and clearly a passion for it, his career as a producer often included writing and even singing songs. In fact, it's his voice that truly propelled his career leading to several awards and international recognition.

Barry White's career included many hidden talents – even voice over work in animation films. From singing to writing songs to producing and everything in-between, White truly explored all the options of his smooth, soulful voice.


Final Note

So, be like Barry White. Take the leap. Explore new horizons. You never know, you may just discover a hidden talent that launches your business in a new direction.


The OM Team


5 ways to use the Opus Matrix Network
December 23, 2017
5 ways to use our network

So you've officially joined Opus Matrix. You may now be wondering how you go about getting the most out of the network. While there are many ways to use the network, we'll discuss five of the most common.

Create a Profile


A profile is essential to your engagement with Opus Matrix. It tells other members on the network about you including what skills you can offer to a project.

You should think of your profile like a CV or LinkedIn page. It provides useful information that helps others to make quick judgments about you. That's why it's essential to have a complete profile and yes this includes a professional profile picture.


Write A Blog


Our blog page provides a useful platform for members to think about subjects as well as demonstrate their skills. Blogs can be written on everything from general topics like the importance of sleep to more industry-specific.

Writing a blog is one great way to boost your engagement score as well as connect with like-minded people. Who knows your next business partner may just comment on your blog!


Sell Products in A Shop


We offer a platform, where members can sell their goods or services in ready-made shop windows. As an extra bonus, we allow members to sell their goods or services commission free.

Each member receives an activated shop within their profile, which means that both business and non-business members can sell products or unwanted gifts.


Connect With Your Target Audience


Opus Matrix helps you to connect with your target audience through our groups and project pages. This ensures that your product or service is always delivered to the right people.

With over 6 million annual users, your guaranteed to reach the right audience to boost your business.


Reach A Large Audience via OM's Social Media


Social media is a powerful marketing tool as it allows you to reach a very large audience. OM has an extensive social media network, which includes 1000s of like-minded people.

Engaging with these people can help you to develop your ideas and business. These conversations may easily lead to collaboration and even partnerships.


The OM Team

Achieve Big Things with Opus Matrix: The Ideal Platform for Collaborating
debbie davis project

We are all seeking online engagement with our target audiences on various platforms. There are lots of techniques to reach people, but true engagement takes time, patience and an eye for detail. Like composing a new song, each individual element plays an essential role and needs to be played at the right time to gel with the singer and other instruments. Whatever project you are working on, you’ll need to spend time working on each element and ultimately how they will fit together in the final delivery.

Our founder, Debbie Davis, was a well-established singer in Scotland before moving to Spain. As she settled in there, she wanted to continue her passion for music by singing gigs. This can be very difficult without the right connections and, so she began to reach out to other musicians in the area.

She used the principle of collaboration developed with Opus Matrix to connect with people and share ideals. She found musicians that suited her style and began to discuss her love of disco. Initially this wasn’t something the others had experience in but once they realised they could use their skills to achieve something special, they were all on board.

Debbie is now part of four different musical groups and it wasn’t seen as business initially, nor did it happen overnight. It began with a passion for music that allowed her to build personal connections with like-minded people. She was able to engage with musicians to discuss how they could be involved and how their top strengths could be used. After chatting about their interests and skills, Debbie invited Denis from Plan Bee to be her bass player and sing on some tracks. In return, Denis invited Debbie to join his Plan Bee band and sing under his plans.

Check out the Debbie Davis Project:

Debbie believes that the best way to collaborate on Opus Matrix is by finding people with complementary skills to yours. This can be achieved by talking to business connections and once realised can be the driving force behind big projects. With a bit of patient and time work, amazing things can be accomplished.

Debbie made personal connections that led to conversations about business plans and eventually created business opportunities for Debbie. Opus Matrix is an online community that helps people connect and eventually collaborate with one another. It is a place where people can share ideas, skills, and much more.

Debbie would have never accomplished her goal of singing in Spain without the help of connections. Whether you're looking for personal connections to fuel a passion or business opportunities, Opus Matrix is the ideal platform for meeting like-minded people, sharing ideas, discovering other's plans, and eventually building the relationships necessary to make ideas happen.

Follow the Debbie Davis Project on Facebook


Engage is the key to success in business and we want to facilitate this for our members. Try the skill finder tool and find people with similar or related skills or interests. Find out what they are doing and what they are trying to achieve and you may find some common ground. It could be the key to your success!

Different people bring different influences and the best businesses often emerge through chance meetings of individuals.

The OM Team


The Importance of Managing Time Effectively: Setting Realistic Timescales and Other Tips
November 27, 2017

Whether you're an entrepreneur or are employed by a large-scale company, time management is important. However, most people struggle to manage time efficiently and often get bogged down in non-essential tasks.


Without the ability to manage time efficiently, you will miss deadlines and fall behind on assignments. This will ultimately lead to unhappy clients/customers and increased stress. Thus, it is essential to master time management skills.


In this blog, we'll provide you with three tips for ensuring that you efficiently manage your time.


Start Early


Procrastination can damage your reputation and business. It's best to start early as this allows time for errors. Often people leave assignments till the last minute, which causes unnecessary stress and sometimes sloppy, inadequate work.


Try making a to-do list to keep yourself motivated


Break Large Assignments into Smaller Tasks


Breaking large assignments into smaller tasks help ensure that progress is being made. Sometimes, large projects may feel overwhelming and you may struggle to know where to start. Smaller tasks can make the project seem more manageable.


Try setting weekly or daily goals


Set Realistic Timescales


Setting realistic timescales or even overestimating deadlines can help prevent problems and delays. If you finish early, great – everyone will be happy. If you finish late, that could be the end of your career or business.


Realistic timescales also prevent you from becoming stressed as you won't be trying to accomplish too much work within a tight period of time. The above tips, such as breaking a large assignment into smaller tasks, can be used to determine a realistic timescale.


Try to complete the task two days before the actual deadline


Still struggling to manage your time effectively? For more useful tips and suggestions, check out some of our other blogs like our article on how to optimise your daily schedule for maximum impact.


The OM Team

How to Optimize Your Daily Schedule for Maximum Impact
November 7, 2017

Optimising your schedule for efficiency is key. Whether you're balancing multiple responsibilities or tackling a stressful position, making the most of your working day can be a challenge. Thankfully, this is one subject that has received a ton of research.

Drink Coffee at 9.30 am and 2 p.m

Caffeine is an essential part of any workday. However, did you know that there are certain hours during the day that are the most effective for drinking coffee?

It all has to do with cortisol levels. Cortisol is a natural chemical that promotes alertness, which means that caffeine is most effective during periods of decreased cortisol.

Medical research reveals that cortisol levels typically peak about 30 to 45 minutes after waking. For most people, this means that cortisol levels drop at about 9.30 a.m and often they don't peak again until noon.

Most people also typically experience an afternoon slump around 1:30 to 5 pm. So, 2 p.m is the ideal time to have your second cup of coffee.

Take a Break

It may seem unproductive to take breaks, but research suggests otherwise. According to Science Daily, productivity dwindles after one hour so taking a quick break can help you to refocus. Breaks have also been proven to help sustain concentration and energy levels.

While most employees in the UK (the BBC reports 1 in 5), don't take lunch breaks. Lunch breaks have numerous benefits, not least of which include greater productivity, well-being, and job satisfaction.

Send E-mails in the Morning and at 2 p.m.

Research conducted by HubSpot revealed that e-mails sent at 6 am were more likely to be read, while e-mails sent at 4 p.m (just before the end of the day) had the lowest click-through rate. While different studies have reached different results, most agree that early morning and about 2 p.m are the best times for effectively sending e-mails.

Group Tasks Together

While it's commonly believed that multi-tasking increases productivity, this isn't actually true. A study conducted by the University of Michigan discovered that people were 40% less productive when multi-tasking.

It's actually more effective to complete similar tasks at the same time; for example, try scheduling next weeks meetings during a two-hour block. This will allow you to free up time for the rest of day to get things done.

The OM Team

5 ways to improve your business cash flow
October 13, 2017
cash flow

Profit is always a top priority for entrepreneurs. Whether you're just getting started or are already established, you may be looking for a way to boost your cash flow. Cash flow is important as it allows companies to make investments and purchase necessary resources without delay. To help you boost your cash flow, this blog provides five top tips that entrepreneurs found most effective.

1) Incentives for Early Payments and Penalties for Late Payments

To encourage customers to pay their bills or invoices on time, using a payment system can be a good idea. Providing incentives for early payments can encourage customers to pay earlier, while penalties decrease the amount of missed payments.

As your company's cash flow depends on invoices being paid, setting up a payment system is essential.

2) Evaluate Old Contracts and Expenses

Established companies often have outdated and old contracts with suppliers. These contracts should be assessed regularly, including researching any recently emerged suppliers, to make sure you're still getting the best deal. There may be a company that can better meet your needs.

Similarly, any outgoings should also be assessed. There may be direct debits that you no longer need like that Spotify account or printing service. Eliminating these expenses can increase your overall cash flow.

3) Look for Ways to Improve Efficiency (Upgrade Material and Train Staff)

Another great way of increasing cash flow is by ensuring that both staff and equipment are operating efficiently. Old equipment can slow down the production process, which ultimately decreases cash flow. At the same time, employees may not be using the best or most efficient processes and as a result, may be wasting valuable resources.

4) Stretch Out Payables

While some suppliers are unhappy with bi-monthly payments, stretching out payable can help spread expenses across the month. Instead of paying all your bills at the beginning of the month, spacing this out can spread out expenses and ensure that you have enough cash flow for the whole month. This is a particularly great technique for cash-poor companies.

5) Determine the Best Areas for Investment

Analytic tools, such as Google Analytics, can be helpful for making smart investments. Through assessing the data provided on these platforms, you can ensure that money is being spent on successful marketing campaigns. This data also helps companies use resources efficiently, eliminate any unnecessary outgoings, and ultimately increase cash flow.

These are just some of your options for increasing cash flow. Ensuring that you have enough cash flow to last the month, is undoubtedly important and techniques that work for some companies may not work for all companies. For more business advice, check out some of our other blog posts for Opus Matrix.

The OM Team

The Importance of Sleep: Your Life May Just Depend On It

Are you feeling overworked and tired? According to leading neurologist Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep, you're not alone. Sleep deprivation is a very real problem in the UK as roughly 66% of adults in developed nations fail to get the World Health Organisation recommended 8 hours of sleep.

The Harmful Impacts of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation can cause numerous health and mental problems. In fact, sleep deprivation has such serious impacts on our well-being that over 20 large-scale experiments have conclusively confirmed that it can lead to an earlier death.

For example, an adult sleeping only 6.75 hours a night, without medical help, is only likely to live till their early 60s. According to Matthew Walker, sleep deprivation negatively impacts every part of your body. With nearly 50% of adults trying to survive on 6 hours or less of sleep a night, this is a problem that desperately needs to be fixed.

The Social Stigma Against Sleep

Why then is sleep one of the first things we sacrifice when life gets busy? Matthew Walker believes that the importance of sleep has been undervalued and there is a significant lack of information on the harmful impacts of sleep deprivation.

It also certainly doesn't help that Western society equates success to a lack of sleep. In Western society, productive and successful people don't sleep – just look at Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill's claims of only sleeping a few hours each night.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

However, by sacrificing sleep, we are also sacrificing our well-being. Matthew attempts to communicate this message and challenge the social stigma against sleep in his recent book Why We Sleep.

Why We Sleep takes a thorough look at the benefits of sleep: better mental health, creativity, ability to lose weight, and even sperm count. It also presents information about the many drawbacks: increased risk of cancer and heart attack, impaired judgment, shorter lifespan, a greater chance of disease, and more.

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem facing modern society.

After reading Why We Sleep, you'll have a new perspective on the importance of sleeping at least 8 hours a night. Though if reading the full book may cause you to lose sleep, The Guardian's article The Shorter You Sleep, The Shorter You Live provides a good overview of the basic facts and messages within the book.

The OM Team