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

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


New Year Resolutions: How to Become A More Effective You
January 16, 2018
new year resolution
Have you set your New Year resolution yet?


According to a poll conducted by YouGov, most people have set New Year resolutions aimed at improving their self. The top five include eating better, exercising more, spending less money, taking better care of themselves (such as getting more sleep or eating better), and reading more books.


Switch Off

These goals all align with becoming a more effective you. Self-care is essential for increasing your productivity. Perhaps the biggest barrier to proper self-care is our constant connection to our phones and e-mails. It's hard to have personal time to destress when your e-mail is always within reach. As a result, we often struggle to feel refreshed or even get a good night sleep.

In order to start focusing on yourself, it's important to switch off. In fact, I find an hour of no-technology before bed helps me have a better night sleep. To do this, designate one or two hours every day to turn off all your technology devices. Yes, even your Netflix.


Reduce Stress

Another side effect of always being switched on is increased stress levels. When we cannot escape work, we cannot reflect and relax. Even social media platforms and online news outlets have been proven to increase stress.

Decreased stress is just another reason to TURN OFF your technology!


The Perfect Balance Between Sleep, Diet, and Exercise

When we get busy, we often sacrifice one of the three ingredients that are essential for well-being: sleep, diet, and exercise.

We're all guilty of sleeping less so that we can exercise more or eating bad food as its quicker than making a healthy meal. Our wellness depends on achieving the perfect balance. We cannot be truly healthy or as effectively lose weight without this balance.


A Healthy Life is a more Productive Life

Wellness and self-care are essential to being productive. We are not as efficient when we haven't slept well or our bodies hurt from a lack of exercise. Our wellness is the foundation that our personal and professional success is built on.

Being healthy makes us happier and as a result, helps us to see the world differently. It helps us have a can-do attitude and ultimately achieve big things!


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

Budgeting for Christmas: how to be creative and save money by making gifts
November 10, 2017

Feeling stressed about forking out large sums on Christmas presents? A large percentage of people go into debt trying to pay for Christmas. Christmas shouldn't cause debt or require credit cards.

To prevent massive bills, it's important to set yourself a realistic Christmas budget and then stick to it. It can be easy to get carried away and buy presents that you can't afford. However, the stress of managing finances will ruin any Christmas cheer.

Get Creative

One fantastic way to stick to a budget is by getting creative and making Christmas gifts.

My grandmother always used to say 'it's the thought that counts' and sometimes a homemade present can be even more meaningful than a new, flashy one.

Homemade Gifts Can Mean More than Bought Gifts

I, personally, have found this to be true. My daughter has an excellent collection of knitted jumpers, hats, booties, and blankets that family members have made. In fact, she even has a knitted jumper that was given to my husband when he was an infant by his Oma. The fact that it was made by hand has meant that it's been kept and passed onto the next generation.

Sources of Inspiration

Not a talented knitter? Don't worry as there are TONS of other Christmas gift ideas on the Internet. Websites like Country Living and Good Housekeeping have blogs dedicated to give you inspiration; for example, 58 DIY Christmas Gifts Your Friends and Family Will Love. Or, Pintrest can also be a great source of inspiration.

It is a tradition in my town to give Christmas cookies as presents to friends. Before Christmas, we spend time together making cookies and then personally deliver them to our close friends. As it's a town tradition, our friends are also likely to stop by with their own plate of homemade cookies.

When I think back over all the Christmas presents I have received and Christmas memories, it's the homemade presents that I remember the most clearly. Not only does homemade gifts save money and reduce stress, but it also helps recover the true meaning of Christmas.

The OM Team

5 Women Entrepreneurs Making an Impact in Tech
October 22, 2017
women in tech

The tech industry is one industry that is heavily dominated by men. However, according to some sources, we have now entered the golden age of women entrepreneurs.


As indicated by the GEM survey, this is a global trend. The GEM survey revealed that between 2015 and 2016 the number of female entrepreneurs increased by 10%, which was nearly double the number of male entrepreneurs. In the United States, women now make up 40% of entrepreneurs.


With female entrepreneurship on the rise, it isn't surprising that some women are making a splash in the tech industry. Join us as we take a look at some of the hottest female tech entrepreneurs.


Whitney Wolfe (Founder and CEO of Bumble)


Whitney Wolfe is the founder and CEO of the dating app Bumble. Bumble repositions the dating world to place the power into the hands of women. On Bumble, women always make the first move and if she doesn't reply to a connection within 24 hours it disappears forever. With over 18 million users, this app has had substantial success.


Terry Jester (CEO of Silicor Materials)


Silicor Materials is well-known in the tech industry for having developed novel methods for producing solar silicon at roughly half the price of older methods. The final product is the most environmentally-friendly silicon available as it uses 2/3rd less than other rival methods and doesn't use hazardous materials.


As CEO of Silicor Materials and a mechanical engineer, Terry Jester has played a pivotal role in the company's success.


Rapelang Rabana (Founder and CEO of Rekindle Learning)


Also known as 'Marissa Mayer of the Silicon Cape', Rapelang Rabana has achieved tremendous career growth all before the age of 30. With her background in computer science, she co-founded Yeigo – one of the world's first mobile VoIP applications.


She has also been recognised as one of Africa's Best Young Entrepreneurs by Forbes and World Economic Global Shaper.


Following this recognition and career success, she established Rekindle Learning. Rekindle Learning attempts to promote women in the workplace as well as the potential of mobile technology to address socio-economic problems globally.


Anna Auerbach (co-founder and CEO of Werk)


Anna Auerbach established the website Werk with the specific goal of promoting females within the workplace. Women often struggle to juggle care duties and a career. Werk attempts to eliminate this problem by helping women connect with employers that are keen on flexibility.


Esra'a Al Shafei (Founder of Mideast Youth)


To Esra'a Al Shefei, a Bahraini civil rights activist and digital entrepreneur, the internet is a way to encourage freedom of speech and create change. Her company Mideast Youth creates mobile and web applications to provide young people in the Middle East and North Africa with a platform for voicing their opinions.


Examples of Mideast Youth projects include and helps highlight social justice issues in areas that traditional media struggle to access while is a forum for LGBT communities in the Middle East.