How do I determine whether I am capable of starting a business?
start a business

This is undoubtedly a question that many entrepreneurs wonder before starting their own company. Starting a company can be scary as it involves leaving behind the security of a salary for the unknown. On one hand, you get to be your own boss and may ultimately make more money, but on the other, it could end in failure. Many entrepreneurs unsurprisingly are filled with fear and doubt. However, there are certainly some things that you should consider before taking this step.

Do you have enough time?

A new business requires dedication. It may mean that you'll have to work unconventional or extra hours. Yes, even sometimes weekends and evenings. It will probably also require your complete attention. Therefore, if you're undergoing other major life changes, such as starting a family, it may not be the ideal time.

Despite the intense time requirement, you'll also need to make sure that you have a good support system in place. This support system needs to be able to help you achieve some balance so that, regardless of the long hours, you also have enough time to relax and avoid burnout.

Are you good at making decisions?

A successful entrepreneur must be able to make decisions – both large and small. Unlike conventional jobs, you'll be in charge of making all or almost all of the decisions. These decisions will greatly impact the future of your company and will involve some risks.

You should be able to consider all the potential pitfalls and benefits of a decision to ensure your company progresses in the right direction. Most successful entrepreneurs, therefore, can think analytically as well as creatively and incorporate both of these aspects into their decision-making process.

Not only should you be able to make smart decisions and have a clear vision of your company's direction, but you must also be able to make these decisions within intense or stressful situations. With the success of your company resting on your shoulders, stress will be unavoidable.

How well do you know your potential company?

Starting a business requires a great degree of confidence and belief. In order to remain confident in the face of criticism and rejection, thoroughly understanding the product or service you are trying to sell is essential. This understanding will also allow you to identify your unique selling point, which will greatly shape how you market and sell your company. It will also help you to identify gaps within the market, your target audience, and create an effective business plan. This doesn't mean that your direction can't and won't change. In fact, your vision and understanding should constantly evolve alongside the growth and development of your company.

Anything else to consider?

These are only some of the questions that should be considered to determine if you are capable of starting your own business. There are plenty of other questions and logistics that must be addressed before taking the first step and no business venture should be undertaken without careful consideration.

The OM Team

The Importance of Inspiring Yourself
September 25, 2016
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inspiring

As the legendary Walt Disney once said: “If you can dream it, you can do it!” and I would like to add “no matter how old you are.”

This is one of my favourite inspirational quotes because it pushes me to believe in myself, in my capabilities, in order to achieve anything I wish to. There is nothing that the human mind cannot do. Everyone has enough willpower and inner strength to accomplish any goal, so if you have a dream, do not let anyone or any fear stop you from making it real.

Humans are powerful rational creatures that for centuries have conquered so many extraordinary things in numerous fields, such as medicine, art, technology, architecture, etc. This is why we should keep in mind that each one of us was born with exceptional skills that can make a difference in this world. This difference can be made on a broad scale, for the communities we are living in, positively affecting not only ourselves, but also other people, for instance, or it can be made for our own happiness. Everyone has the potential to reach any target. It is the amount of effort and self-confidence that we put into the pursuit of our objectives that will determine if the result will be successful or not.

Sometimes age is felt as a barrier because contemporary society makes us think that we are not allowed to start new projects and dare to achieve something completely new and special after we have crossed a certain “age limit”. Luckily, nothing could be more false than this. We do not have expiry dates written on our forehead. It may seem obvious, but age is really just a number and if you are tired of your same lifestyle, of your same boring job and habits, it is never too late to start from the beginning and to create something that can bring more joy into your life.

This inspiring video is the clear example that age is only a mental limit.

Wang De Shun, the protagonist of this thought-provoking clip, is a handsome 80-year old man from North East China, who has gained popularity in these last years, thanks to his endless determination, pride and love towards life. He explains that over the course of his existence he has never stopped believing in himself and has always applied his multitude of skills to all the different fields he was interested in: acting, sports, modelling, arts…until he has recently become a famous model on international catwalks.

Although he is 80 years old, his passion for fitness and wellbeing has allowed him to look at least 20 years younger, demonstrating to the world that the way we look and the way we grow with experience and move on in life is determined by our mind set.

This is why it is essential to keep ourselves always mentally active, joyful and to maintain a strong attitude, so that we can face any obstacle we encounter in life. It is important to create hobbies and interests for ourselves that can teach us new things, no matter if we are 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 years old, because it is never too late to fully enjoy life and pursue what makes us happy. If for example, you have always dreamed of practising a certain type of sport, or to take up acting, dance, painting classes, do not stop yourself and embrace all your interests!

Everything is an opportunity to become more satisfied and spiritually richer. If you have always wondered how having another job would be like, even if completely different from the one you currently have, take a step forward and have the courage of exploring  new opportunities! The reason is simple: maybe what you would like to try out might be the right path for you, so do not hesitate!

Age is not dictated by that date written on our ID, but it is us with our mind deciding how old we are. Just remember: a young, passionate and proactive brain will affect how young you look and feel!

The OM Team

Setting up a Business
setting up a business

I launched my business in 2013 - probably more by luck than by design, in the first instance. Having had a 5½ year break from my marketing career to raise my family, the time was right for me to return to work; but in what form?

Simply going back to becoming someone else’s full time employee did not appeal, as with young children and a (supportive) husband with a busy, demanding job I needed the flexibility to work around the needs of my family.

I had been informally helping a friend with the marketing of her business and one day I just decided to brand this venture, launch a website and see what happened with setting up a business. So here are some things I’ve learned along the way, that are perhaps worth sharing if you are about to venture along the same path:

1. Seek out and create your own opportunities – you never know, a comment made in passing might just turn into your next big opportunity leading to success
2. Be friendly, honest and consistent – reputations take months and years to build yet can crumble in minutes, so treat others as you would like to be treated
3. Stick to your own area of expertise and become really terrific at it. People often confuse what I do - marketing - with PR, with website development, with sales or with design. Each one of these is a specialism in itself and whilst none of them are my area of expertise I have a very good network of people who do work in these disciplines and who I am happy to recommend
4. Which brings me to my next suggestion– network. Make new professional friends beyond your own specialism, both to extend your reach and influence and because being friendly is a nice act of human kindness, you never know when you might need one
5. Surround yourself with a trusted support network – setting up a business can be daunting and lonely, but if you have friends and associates to help and advise it make it so much more fun!

And here I am, nearly two years on, with my biggest client yet - the unique, iconic and this year record-breaking Royal Highland Show – where I lead and delivered on the show’s marketing; everything from developing the marketing strategy, to leading a multi-disciplinary team of agencies, to co-producing the show’s first foray into live streaming…and everything in between. So go on, take the plunge!

Cate Nelson-Shaw
[email protected]
@YellowBookCnslt

It’s never too late to start a business
start a business

In these years of economic crisis it has become increasingly difficult to find a stable employment. Times are changing and obtaining a job in any field is getting year by year more competitive. However, it's never too late to start a business.

Finding a job is not only hard for younger generations, but also people who are over 50 years old struggle to get hired, or to simply get an interview. According to recent statistics, in the US and in Europe women over 50 appear to be the ones fighting the most in order to continue their careers or being hired.

Employers, in fact, seem to be mostly interested in wanting as part of their business young professionals in their 20s or early 30s. It must be considered, however, that also professionals above their 50’s, with years of remarkable work experience, are a valuable asset for companies and still have solid possibilities to develop a successful career in their field of expertise.

Among the qualities that employers seek for in a potential worker are: reliability, high professionalism, seriousness, deep knowledge and competence. These are all characteristics that middle-aged job hunters often have, thanks to their priceless years of work experience. In other words, an employer might be much more willing to hire mature women presenting extensive resumes and highly valuable sets of excellent skills, rather than recent graduates with strong ambitions, but with just a few internships and histories of short-term employments.
It is important to also remember that, applying to companies and different institutions, is not the only way to conquer a lucrative job. Middle-aged and unemployed women should always take into great consideration all the incredible skills that they have gained during their various life and work experiences, which make them absolutely special, valuable and unique.

If working for a company is not want you are looking for or dreaming of, then you should always keep in mind that with just a bit of creativity you can be your own manager and create an incredibly profitable job yourself. Just take a moment to list all the precious things that you know how to do.

Are you a great accountant, designer, marketer, photographer, financial analyst, therapist, consultant or have an incredible flair for anything related to arts? This is then what you should focus on. Take that brilliant skill of yours, make a rational plan of how you could exploit it in order to make a living, and start your own career!

It might seem strange to read these words, but think about it seriously. Freelance is a fantastic solution and many middle aged women worldwide have embraced this path obtaining outstanding results.

To find out more about how to become a freelancer, read the following article published by The Guardian.

Clarissa Lulli

Sign up at Opus Matrix to start a business today!

Shine in our online community
October 30, 2015
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online community

As the days grow darker and the cold wind starts blowing in, it won't be long until Christmas lights are twinkling. Whether you are in business or not, there's no doubt that this is the time of year when things get busy with so much to do. This is where Opus Matrix can help you achieve more if you make the most of your membership plan and help you to shine in our community!

Opus Matrix is more than just a website, it's an online community. It's a wealth of resources and ideas from like-minded people who are interested in collaborating on new projects. Members can skillshare and exchange their talents for mutually beneficial reasons. This can be a great way of getting things done without breaking the bank. For example, if you need a web designer, perhaps they will create one for free in exchange for a discount on your products in your shop.

Opus Matrix is an online community with an effective tool for searching for people with key skills but it is also a great platform to get your voice heard. From your profile, you can post your own blogs and get these seen by a large audience via our social media channels. Also, if you are a Business Plus member and you use Twitter, your tweets will be embedded in our site and shown to every Opus Matrix member when they log in. The OM team would like to encourage members to be active on the site and reward everyone with points for doing so.

As the old saying goes ‘points win prizes’ and we will reward the most active member at the end of the year with a £100 Amazon voucher. Firstly, you need to make sure your profile is up to date with as much information as possible to help you get found through our visitor searches. The more active you are in terms of posting blogs and connecting with others will also earn you points.

Look out for the Hall of Fame page next week, as everyone starts from zero from the 1st November. Look forward to catching up with you on the site!

The OM Team

P.S. We would love to hear your feedback and if you have any issues with the site, please contact [email protected]

 

Who Said That Stay-at-Home Moms Cannot Have a Bright Career?
October 27, 2015
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stay-at-home momsSource: http://users.atw.hu/tavmunkaonline/10.jpg

According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, there are over 11 million of women owning a business in the United States today. Among this great number of ambitious working women, there is a high percentage of stay-at-home moms who manage their own careers directly from home.

It may seem overwhelming for the majority of mothers to only think about managing children, husbands, household chores, finances and various duties all at the same time, that only imagining to add a part-time career to the list of things to take care of on a daily basis might appear unimaginable.

Many women may believe that, once that motherhood hits their lives, any chance to develop or continue a rewarding career will be archived forever, or that investing their time on that job they have always dreamed about, would be practically impossible. However, here there is surprisingly pleasant news for you - even though you are an extremely busy mom with plenty of tasks to manage, you can still have a successful job from home! Just think about all the set of skills you already have. You might have learned some of them in university or college, or you may have developed them because of a strong passion you have always had.

Anything can be a source of inspiration and could potentially lead you to an outstanding job right from the comfort of your own home, allowing you, at the same time, to keep taking good care of your beloved family. All you need is a touch of creativity. By acknowledging the powerful competences you already own, you will be able to put them into practice and create a profitable job that will, not only help sustain your family economically, but also boost your self-esteem and increase your level of qualifications.

Have your friends and relatives always told you what an amazing baker you are and that nothing tastes more wonderful than your dishes, or that no one draws, sews, takes pictures, decorates, manages accounts, organizes events or writes better than you? Well…it is now time to start finally taking all those compliments into serious consideration, because those things you are so tremendously great at doing could open unexpected doors to outstanding job opportunities!

Based on your personal level of knowledge and capabilities, there are a huge variety of lucrative professions which can be undertaken within domestic walls. The 10 most popular activities for home working mums in North America are the following:

  1. Online Marketing Specialist
  2. Medical Transcriptionist
  3. Translator
  4. Web Developer/Designer
  5. Call Center Representative
  6. Tech Support Specialist
  7. Customer Relations Specialist
  8. Teacher
  9. Writer/Editor
  10. Business Consultant

In order to start an overwhelming career, however, it is fundamental to work on the development of a professional network, which will enable you to find clients, investors, or coworkers. This is why it is highly recommendable to create a personal account on professional platforms as Opus Matrix, which, similarly to LinkedIn, will allow you to find the right jobs, to expand your business, or to quickly get in touch with smart experts. Creating an account on Opus Matrix is easy, free and can significantly improve your professional future.

It is now time to make a strategic work plan, turn on your computer and become an outstanding working-at-home mom! Good luck!

the OM Team

Going back to work after having children
going back to work after having children

The day I was finishing work to start my Maternity Leave my employer went into administration; and so began the 5½ years I spent first with my eldest (now 7) and then with my youngest too (now 5). These years were a mix of pure bliss and as well as utter despair and although I wouldn’t swap them for the world, in terms of CPD, possibly not the best.

“Parents - women particularly, but not exclusively, there are plenty of dads also in this situation - face all kinds of hurdles when it comes to returning to work” says Janet Unsworth, Non Executive Director of www.scottishchanginthechemistry.co.uk, an organisation that seeks to increase board diversity. “They may lack self confidence, might have problems finding childcare, perceive they have nothing to offer, might be afraid their skills are out of date, that their requirement for flexibility makes them less attractive to a potential employer, they may be lone parents, or perhaps their partner isn’t very supportive. It can be a real challenge sometimes quite demoralising”.

However, with some positive thinking and a bit of creativity, there are strategies for success if you are planning a return to work. So, here are a few suggestions:

  • consider volunteering – either at grass roots level or by joining a committee, an advisory group to a board or a board itself as Non Executive Director – goodmoves.org.uk is a good place to start
  • explore the possibility of Returnships with potential employers
  • understand where you might need to upskill and seek out workshops, courses, distance learning and funding opportunities to help you achieve these, for example skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk
  • reinvigorate your old network – I had some professional correspondence cards made, hand wrote a personal note and sent them to a selection of contacts I wanted to reconnect with
  • seek out introductions from friends and contacts to other professionals in your field
  • seek out networking groups – of which there are many – for new contacts and support. It might take a few attendances to find the right ones for you but once you do, they can be invaluable
  • undertake appropriate follow ups with people you meet: connect with them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter not on your Facebook page (professional contacts do not need to see your dinner!). And make sure you have a terrific profile and a decent professional photo, no selfies or holiday snaps
  • invite them for a coffee to explore mutually beneficial ways of working
  • be prepared to give something for nothing in the hope and expectation that the same professional courtesy will one day be extended to you
  • be brave and go for it!

And if all this just sounds too scary to even contemplate, remember you are not the first person to return to work after time spent looking after children and your conversational repertoire can and does extend beyond the emotional wellbeing of your offspring and their associated needs – so go on, take the plunge, you’ll be fabulous!

Cate Nelson-Shaw

[email protected]

Twitter: @YellowBookCnslt

A week goes so fast….on Opus Matrix
October 10, 2015
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3 months free

It's been one week since Opus Matrix launched already and it's great to see some activity on the site with new members connecting and discovering the benefits of collaboration on a global scale.

A week can go so quickly when you are busy, especially if you are working your socks off to get your business idea moving forward. There's always so much that we have to do that it is tempting to say it's not possible or that you'll come back to it at some point. However, it's important to stay focused and remind ourselves how little time we have. Otherwise, nothing will get done.

“You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to….. everyone.”

We only have the same amount of time as any entrepreneur or creative genius. Everyone has little things that get in the way of executing your plans from childcare to shopping trips.

For those who find themselves stuck in jobs they hate, it's worth spending time on planning your way out or even simply quitting as every minute you spend is effectively wasted if it is not what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.

If you haven’t already, take advantage of our Autumn offer and get 15 months for the price of 12 on all membership levels. Read more here.

The OM Team
Starting up at 50 plus
startup

It’s a well known fact that in 2015 ageism in the workplace is rife and, unfortunately, is set to stay for the foreseeable future.

We have been particularly hard-hit by this recession. Back in 2008, statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 28% of those aged between 50 and State Pension age were out of work, compared with only 20% of those aged less than 50 years of age. Fast forward to 2015, and the figure has risen dramatically with the unemployment rate for over 50’s standing at a staggering 47.2%.

Furthermore, the ONS shows that those who lose their job aged 50 or over, have only a 10% chance of ever being re-employed.

Amongst many others, these 2 factors has meant that many women like you and me in our 50’s and older have, out of necessity, to show a significant interest in entrepreneurship. This has been borne out by a recent PRIME Report which shows that half the Self-Employed population is over 50.

All this may seem very negative, but there are many positive factors to being over 50 in this day and age which can act in our favour. We are no longer under absolute male domination. Besides, we are more financially independent than we have ever been. If we are fortunate enough not to live in countries where the State religion limits our actions as women, then frankly the world is our oyster.

It is also a well known fact that businesses started by people over 50, have a 70% chance of surviving their first five years, compared with only a 28% survival rate for those below 50.

Don’t believe it? Well, check out some fifty something success stories

Arianna Huffington started The Huffington Post at 54; Patti Lee-Hoffmann and Gayle Mills were approaching their 50th birthdays when inspiration struck for Flutter Eyewear.

Across the U.K, U.S.A. and Canada alone, with an estimated population of 150 million women over 50 facing the same issues, having access to the internet, we don’t have to go it alone. The internet has allowed us the ability to connect with one another via websites like opusmatrix.com.

I started opusmatrix.com to allow women, especially those just like me, to connect with one another, to share our skills and experience and not have to make it on our own. Opusmatrix.com facilitates SKILLSHARE, allowing its members to barter or sell their skills, and in so doing, generate work and income for themselves. Opusmatrix.com allows for the creation of work opportunities globally - an opportunity which might not otherwise have been possible had we been working on our own. Opusmatrix.com is here to provide a supportive network for us all to grow our businesses, without the sharp elbows!

If like me, you’ve reached your 50’s but are still keen to follow that dream, then Opus Matrix is the platform from which to reach out. We’re no longer bound to the kitchen or the housework and a generation of feisty women, who have reached heights which would have been unimaginable for us women 100 years ago, has gone before us. Many others have set new standards of achievement for women showing us just what is possible for us today.

Believe it or not, being pushed out of the employment door, may prove  to be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Come on. Quit making excuses!

Join us and get your first 3 months FREE

Debbie Davis,

From employment to Self-employment – it needn’t be difficult
employment

Market research and online reading is great for enhancing your knowledge and getting your head around the steps you need to take.

Going self-employed can be like having the carpet pulled from under your feet, if you are in the process of leaving a full time job or perhaps facing redundancy.

In most cases, people can adjust their working hours. For example, if you work 9 – 5 every day, try getting up an hour earlier to work on your business or work in the evenings, if you prefer. As humans, we are all given the same amount of time and we need to use it wisely to get where we want to be. If possible, speak to your boss about reducing/adjusting your hours to part-time, even by one day a week, which can be solely dedicated to building your business.In so doing make work work for you!

As you work on your business plan, you may want to set a date when you will leave your current job and go self-employed full-time. A good option is to do a bit of self-employed work on the side and see what works; also to join a community of aspiring female entrepreneurs and more established SMEs - like at Opus Matrix - which can remove the fear and risk factor one can face by going it alone.

A platform like this will allow you to try out your business idea relatively inexpensively before you actually commit to self-employment entirely i.e., without creating a website or committing to marketing a particular product or service. All you need to do is create a Profile, Business or Business Plus and have your product/products and/or services promoted to a readymade audience of between 4 million and 8 million per year. You can also discover new sources of income from other entrepreneurs wishing to ‘purchase’ the skills you have acquired over the years, but which you have never valued.

Why not join us today?

Debbie Davis