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Disarmed; Not Ready To Arm

Edward George Murray, Jr. “Ed
January 22, 1959 – June 11, 2019
Photo cred: Alice F. Smith

On June 22, 2019, as he was lying in state, my brother Ed was exactly 60 1/2 years old. He was born on January 22, 1959. He died on June 11, 2019. We were both born in 1959. He was my Irish Twin.

I was devastated. For the past 29 years, I had been Ed’s primary caregiver. He became mentally challenged in November of 1984. His mental health declined rapidly for the next year. In November 1985, my father and I were finally able to get him help, as we became co-conservators for him.

Our father mostly handled Ed’s care alone until his death in 1990. After his death, it was my turn. I didn’t realize there was medication to help Ed cope with his paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis. He had take Haladol, Geodon, and was finally on Abilify. I learned that by trying different medications Ed could become functional, but there was no cure for his disease.

His illness was brought on by smoking marijuana laced with angel dust (PCP). Mental illness is one of the negative traits on our DNA and those drugs were the triggers for Ed’s decline. I didn’t understand what Ed was going through, but as time went on, I sought to understand. With the introduction of the internet, I was able to get to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.org). Finding that organization was a godsend. With their articles on Ed’s illness, I was able to understand him better and to understand my role in helping him to live his best possible life.

Before his illness, Ed was a loving father, provider, and the special uncle everyone loved. In his illness, Ed needed patience, love and stability. At first, I didn’t understand that and he would have flair ups. I had to hospitalize him in a mental institution three times before understanding how to manage his care. However, once I got it, I got it. I attended or had my family to attend, every medical visit, every hospital stay and walk with him through whatever his illness brought on. We were armed and ready to fight this debilitating sickness! This disease would not easily take our loved one from us.

In 2005, he had a stroke that almost killed him. In 2015, he had a bacteria infection that ate part of his spine. Ed’s life was not easy, but it was memorable. Laying my brother to rest has disarmed me. I was not ready to arm myself with his memories in place of his presence. I will never forget the times we spent together, the laughs we shared and the love we showed each other. He was more than my big brother….he was my lifelong friend.

Ed was well known before his illness. But, after he became ill, he became a memory for most people. Every day he tried to sift through what was happening in his head. He’s at rest now. He looked so peaceful and relaxed. All of the stress and worries he had endured are gone. Thank You God for allowing me to be an advocate for Ed. There are so many things I have learned from him. These 29 years have given me enough memories until we meet again. Rest well, Ed.

Handling Uncertainties of Income Disruption

Street.com cites, “The current shutdown affects approximately 800,000 government employees. Among them, more than 380,000 have been furloughed and another 420,000 continue to work without pay.”

In 2013, I was told my services were no longer needed. I had recently bought a new house (yes, in 2008 during the housing crash), was going through a divorce, and did not have a Plan B. I was mortified! Like many Americans facing the government shutdown, I was one paycheck away from complete homelessness.  It’s Day 25! This shutdown has me reminiscing those days between jobs and needing additional funds.

I had to take time to create another Plan A. When you are going through income disruption, solutions are what you need so here are a few from my time of facing that income disruption.

1.    I reviewed my talents and skills to determine what marketable skills I possessed. I have always had writing skills, so I started writing business plans, professional documents and creating resumes.

2.    I became clear on exactly what my needs were; it is amazing how much I had that I didn’t truly need. I streamlined my life and sold those things I didn’t need nor wanted at that moment. Decluttering allowed me to think.

3.    I only wanted to talk with people who offered solutions. I had no place or time for pity. I needed results so I limited the amount of time I spent with rehashers, complainers and the pity party. If you could give me a lead or a referral to making so money, I had nothing but time for you.

4.    I talked to creditors to work out short term plans so I could spread what money I had out equally. It also gave me more money to work with towards earning more money. I looked-for short-term investments or purchases of items I could resell to make money were available?

Hopefully, this shutdown is a temporary situation and they will be back to working for pay very soon. You never know just how resourceful you are until you have to use them. I also opened my business consulting firm, LSMB Business Solutions, LLC, during that time. I want to help people find secondary and even tertiary incomes, that is why I am also hosting “Vision Boarding For Multiple Streams of Income Goals,” on January 26 in Chattanooga. Having multiple streams of income is absolutely essential in combating income disruptions in these unsettling political times. My hope is for you to find the help you need to get you through. All the best to you.

The LSMB Back Story…(as previously published)

The LSMB Business Solutions Back Story

Linda Murray Bullard, MBA, CSSP, PMP

Before I started my business

Insurance was just beginning to feel the effect of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA, Obamacare). In 2008, I had designed and built my dream home and gotten married. Life was good. I was working for a large healthcare insurance company and coping with internal management challenges. The rumble started in 2010. There were whispers at the insurance company of a major overhaul like we had never seen. The executives seemed anxious. They had to begin thinking of shifting the entire organization to meet the challenges of doing business different. By 2011, just as I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration of organization management, I started to physically feel the deafening calm before the storm.

The catalyst for starting my business

It occurred on January 24, 2013. After 26 years, I was told my services were no longer required. That was the longest relationship I had other than my family. I also filed for divorce which was finalized in February 2013. Initially, I was devastated. The time to become more financially independent was upon me. Struggles sharpen your survival skills.

It might sound crazy, but the same bill that cost me my job would in a matter of weeks also saved the life of one of my family members. The dismissal turned out to be the best thing that could happen to me and my family. I learned from those experiences never to put all my eggs in one basket ever again. I was also able to benefit from the Affordable Housing Act, which allowed me to adjust my mortgage payments. Life had settled down.

And, I found that the 26 years I spent were not wasted. The experiences helped me to establish a relationship with the people I now serve. I worked thirteen different positions on my previous job and learned how to become marketable when desiring to move from entry-level to manager…without a degree! This also helps me to create content quickly.

The Beginning

It was in 2011 when we were first made aware of the possibility of the shifts in our jobs. Instinctively, I started taking additional business classes in 2012 right as there was a layoff of sorts. I was determined that I would never put the control of my standard of living in someone else’s hands. The classes helped test your ideas in the real world, which added to my college learning and existing business acumen. The Launch Chattanooga administrators of the classes were and still are very supportive. In fact, after graduating from the class, they were my first customers. I wrote 17 business plans for other graduates and the institution paid me for them. I was ecstatic! I have been facilitating classes for them and others for the past four years.

In addition, the time off gave me time to pull out an old 2007 personal essay to see if it was book worthy. The essay evolved into “The Well Ran Dry: Memoirs of a Motherless Child,” which is a creative autobiography that I use to empower teens, women and men. It encourages them to look past their circumstances to see their best life. The book was accepted by the US Library of Congress in December 2013. It is available for free just by asking for it by name in over 16,000 public libraries in the United States. And, it is also available for purchase on Amazon.com, as well as all major online book outlets.

The Evolution

My original plan was to create business plans and get paid after the client received their funding. I quickly learned that was an unwise decision. So, I begin pulling from my experiences from previous employment. I assessed the needs of my Avatar. By doing this, I created more products like resumes, mock interviews, business and career coaching sessions and training workshops. I also formulated a strategy from over 25 years of professional speaking and youth messages in church to draw larger audiences.

My ideal clients are women between the ages of 34 and 54 who are struggling to find what they need to go next level. I help them to create a strategic plan for moving forward. Many times that means going back to find that passion project that was silenced by life’s noises. My current business model consists of multiple revenue streams, strong business relationships, and a zeal for helping startups specifically. I am still creating products, as needed. My next book is a five-part series designed to assist startups step by step. The book is in the production stage.

Exciting Plans for 2018

Just this past weekend, I spent major time with key influencers who gave me invaluable pointers on how to increase my social visibility. A few of them even did video with me. *check my LinkedIn page. In 2018, I plan to increase my revenue by a very substantial number over last year’s numbers. Also, I would like to touch the lives of more people and finish my five-part series: Building Your Own Business: The Startup Handbook, which is based on what I have seen over 30 years in Corporate America.

Lessons Learned/Words of Wisdom:

1)    Get a mentor or business coach. Pay attention to both, what they say and what they don’t say.

2)    Seek a successful like-minded community of founders and business people. Find your people!

3)    Build a team. Yes, you probably can do it by yourself, but don’t. You really need a team…no for real, for real!

4)    Utilize your local Small Business Development Center or Small Business Administration office in your area. They have free and budget-friendly information you need in your business life.

5)    This is a journey. Enjoy it and be patient with your business and with yourself.

Tips to Showcase My Expertise: Now that I am a business strategist, every small business owner I have ever met knows exactly what they want to sell; however, few of them understand this is only one half of what they needed to become successful. The statistics don’t lie. There are 50-90% of business owners closing their shops anywhere from the first 18 months up to 5 years into their businesses’ life cycles. Some who make it past year five die in the next five years. Fully understanding how and when to pivot for your business is extremely important…in fact, not knowing can be fatal. I want to help women do business well. My students labeled me “The Business Plug” because I plug them into the resources and people they didn’t know exist. I strive every day to live up to what they see in me. I know how this journey started, but my ashes are truly turned into diamonds and I enjoy showing others how they can have the same or even more.


Network With Me: Join me in taking part in the 2018 One Million Woman Link Up to monetize LinkedIn. #SmartWomenPartnerGrowRich http://bit.ly/2JeQAfO

Contact Info:


Business Email: [email protected]

Cell phone: (423) 838-3117

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindamurraybullardspeaks/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LSMBBusinessSolutions/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lsmbbusinesssolutions/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LSMBBiz

Look, I previously said you need to build a strong business network. I’ve found just the community for you and your business. Join me for the 2018 One Million Women Link Up!

#Comment #Like #Share #Lead #TheBusinessPlug

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What Do The NonProfits Say About Their Experience With Elevate 2017?

Since June 2017, I have been pouring into various nonprofit dreamers. These are various people in our community who dream of having impact at the ground level. They see problems and offer solutions. They are not about pointing out the issues and waiting for others to address them. They are not just singling out what’s wrong with our society. These are over seventy-five men and women who have rolled up their sleeves and put on their work gloves to get their hands dirty doing the work in our communities.

Check out the videos from Logan Taylor, Sharon Loving and Pamela on YouTube to get an idea of their experiences.