Bringing a Big-City Amenity to a Small Town

By: Heatherlynn Akins

When Tim and Courtney Madden met, they were young students at Penn State who dated but then went their separate ways. Little did they know their story was only just beginning and would, eventually, lead to Courtney starting her own business with Tim acting in many advisory and support roles for that business. In the eight years between Penn State and reconnecting in 1998, Tim joined the Navy and served as a diving officer on the USS Salvor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii before starting an IT career first in Denver and then for Colorado Mountain College in the small, mountain town of Glenwood Springs. Courtney spent nine months in Madrid after graduation before returning to the States via Dallas, TX where she settled into a career as a fifth-grade bilingual teacher as well as a middle school Spanish teacher. When they married in 1999, the couple decided to make Glenwood Springs their home, where they could be near the world-class skiing resorts of Vail and Aspen. Four children later and the Maddens have become well-known fixtures in their community.

In early 2019, Courtney decided she was ready for a career change and started looking into various opportunities. A family friend, entrepreneur Johnathan Gorst, was looking to start a new restaurant delivery venture and the two began talking about the possibilities of teaming up. Before they could start operations, however, life happened, and Johnathan and his family moved to New York. Courtney was left with a concept and a desire to open KraveKar, a restaurant delivery company that contracts with locally owned restaurants to deliver meals to both hometown residents and the many tourists who flock to the town annually. It was a service not previously available to the town, but one many out-of-town visitors from the big cities expected and many residents longed for.

The idea is simple: A customer uses the KraveKar app or website to select a restaurant and places an order. Then Courtney and her team of dedicated drivers pick up the food and deliver it wherever the customer chooses, whether that’s home, a hotel, a park, or the world’s largest hot springs pool, which just so happens to be a major tourist attraction in town. While it works similarly to many of the national companies who offer this service, KraveKar comes with that small-business attention to detail. If part of your order is missing when it’s delivered, Courtney and her team will go back, pick up the missing items, and deliver them as part of their service. They’re also actively involved in the entire process, from cultivating relationships with local restaurants to driving the car that delivers your food. Courtney doesn’t believe in a hands-off leadership approach. (more…)

2020-09-24T20:22:41-04:00September 24th, 2020|

Did You Know?

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, nonprofits contribute around 5.6% of the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product). This isn’t an insignificant number, and nonprofit growth is on the rise. While most nonprofits in the United States have operating budgets under $500,000 (only 5% operate at $10,000,000 or more per year), this doesn’t mean nonprofits don’t have room to grow and expand. Just remember to be true to your mission and build on the trust of your communities and partners.

Powerhouse Planning can certainly help. Whether you outsource various projects to us to keep your operating costs down (which means more revenue for your target populations) or you want some self-guided ways to grow, check out our resources and services we offer. Powerhouse is committed to helping nonprofits grow to meet their full potential.

2020-09-24T20:22:52-04:00September 24th, 2020|

Don’t Miss It!

Powerhouse Planning is so excited to share that Jessica Bertsch will be speaking alongside Dr. Gary Chapman during PILLAR—the digital retreat for deployment countdowns!

Best-selling author of “The Five Love Languages” and “The Five Love Languages: Military Edition” Gary Chapman will discuss the unique challenges and opportunities deployment presents for military couples.

During his session, Dr. Chapman will answer viewers’ questions about how military couples can show love and support over a distance.

Jessica is looking forward to talking about Finding Joy (Even When You Count Down!) and sharing her favorite tips for finding joy with your spouse, your littles, and yourself.

If you’re a military spouse wondering how you can speak your spouse’s love language more intentionally during deployments AND aiming to find joy during deployments then grab your FREE ticket using the link below! 

2020-09-24T20:23:04-04:00September 24th, 2020|

Four Tips for Growing Your Nonprofit

By: Meghan Traynor

We understand that starting and maintaining a nonprofit can have its challenges. We’re here to help! Here are four ways you can grow your nonprofit into a successful organization.

 1. Build trust.

Building a strong community with your supporters is vital to your organization’s growth. Here are a few ways you can build trust and foster community with your fans:

  • Provide donors with firsthand experiences so they can see your organization in action. Even if they don’t all take you up on your offer, you are still opening the door of trust with them.
  • Provide relevant data about the need in your community and what your organization is doing to meet that need.
  • Be honest and transparent with donors, volunteers, staff, and followers for a meaningful and sustainable impact.
  • Express gratitude. Thank your donors for every gift. Personalize a thank-you letter for each donation and include how it will make an impact in and for your organization. You can even go the extra mile and send a follow-up thank-you note after the donor’s gift has been used that showcases the impact their donation made and, if possible, a testimonial from someone their donation helped.

The more often you communicate and build trust with donors and followers, the more inspired they will be to continue supporting your organizations mission. (more…)

2020-09-24T20:23:26-04:00September 24th, 2020|

Manners Matter When Growing Your Nonprofit

By: Randi Cairns

When you think of etiquette, you likely think of things like keeping your elbows off the table or not talking with your mouth full. As a society, we have certain rules or conventions we’ve agreed to regarding the proper way to behave in certain settings.

Well, business etiquette is the same thing: It’s about how we behave or interact with others in our work environment. And while most of the personal rules we tend to agree on apply in a work setting as well (nobody needs to see your lunch while you’re talking about your fundraising goals for next quarter), here are three tips specific to business etiquette and growing your nonprofit. (And yes, like your mama told you, manners DO matter.)

1. Be responsive. Whether it’s with the people you serve, your volunteers, your funders, or your critics, show them you’re listening. It’s great to be passionate about your mission. It’s better still to make sure what you’re offering aligns with the needs of your stakeholders. Are you paying attention when your clients tell you what they need? Are you delivering on promised deliverables to grant funders? Are you communicating—both when things are going well and when you hit an inevitable obstacle or challenge?

You want buy-in from others if you’re looking to grow your nonprofit. An easy way to get that? Let them know their feedback matters. (more…)

2020-10-01T14:40:40-04:00September 24th, 2020|


Client Profile: Green Vet Homes/Living Off Rentals

Powerhouse Services Provided: Company Development and External Communications

“The best part of working with Powerhouse is the comprehensive nature of the team. I can discuss the business as a whole and what the needs are, rather than a narrowly defined role that only handles one aspect of the business. Powerhouse has been key in getting me to start thinking outside of just what I’m capable of as a solopreneur.”

– Kirby Atwell, Green Vet Homes/Living Off Rentals

Learn more about our partnership here: Hiring a Virtual Team for Your Rental Property Business

2020-09-24T20:23:43-04:00September 24th, 2020|


Growing your nonprofit can seem like an impossible task at times. How do you balance meeting the needs of those your currently serve with your desire to reach even more worthy individuals? One great way is to improve or rethink your marketing strategies. The Balance Small Business has a great resource for marketing your small business. And, of course, Powerhouse has the expertise to put any plans or dreams you may have marketing-wise into action.

If you need to improve your management style or techniques to more effectively and efficiently administer your nonprofit, check out the Free Management Library resources. This free site has tons of articles focused on improving management in order to grow your nonprofit resources.

Finally, we’re living in a trying time for nonprofits. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on how we all operate and live our lives. Check out this free resource for nonprofits on how to mitigate the effects the global pandemic has had on our society and how to reorient your nonprofit to continue to meet the needs of your target populations.

2020-09-24T20:23:53-04:00September 24th, 2020|


Finding Pride and Representation in Literary Outreach

By: Meredith Flory

The stories we tell matter, helping us process the lives we have and dream of the lives we could have. Diverse representation in stories helps us see ourselves more positively and the lives of others with empathy. The Kentucky-based nonprofit organization Read With Pride is working to help stories from the LGBTQIA+ become more visible.

In 2019, graduate students Kadee Whaley and Alyssa Sciortino noticed a need through their work. Whaley has been an educator for a decade and is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Kentucky. Sciortino is a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). Sciortino explains that she has often been inspired to “push [her]self and [her] colleagues to recognize the need for diversity and representation” to better serve their clients. She observes firsthand how often toys, literature, and educational tools are lacking “not only images of cultural diversity but also diversity in body image, age, religion, disability, sexuality, and gender” and sees children’s literature as a way to help adults talk to children about topics they may feel uncomfortable discussing. Working with college students, Whaley shares how in her courses she encourages “students to consider the experiences of others” and feels a responsibility to encourage civic engagement as a means to “achieving equity for all.” Forming Read With Pride gave her an opportunity to put this into practice.

Starting in Lexington, Kentucky, Whaley and Sciortino hatched an idea to help put LGBTQIA+ stories into the hands of those who need them the most. The mission of Read With Pride is to raise awareness and readership of LGBTQIA+ authors and stories in Appalachia, and the ladies work to make these books available for purchase at various locations. With an inaugural event at the TriPride in East Tennessee, they began to see their mission take shape. Whaley explains that all of their books are available for under $10, and many are used or donated. She continues that part of their goals include making books financially accessible for their region, as many areas of Appalachia are dealing with “generational poverty and underfunded schools.” While the pandemic has caused a halt to many of the events they had planned in 2020, Whaley and Sciortino continue to find ways to serve their community online and in-person.


2020-09-24T20:24:17-04:00September 24th, 2020|

Catching Up with Powerhouse Planning’s CEO Jessica Bertsch


Powerhouse Planning, more affectionately known as PH in our online blog series, is eight years old this month. On September 11th, PH turns the big 0-8. In celebration of another turn around the sun, we decided it was time to catch up with our illustrious founder and CEO Jessica Bertsch to see just what she thinks about PH eight years after she signed the paperwork making Powerhouse Planning a dream turned reality.

PH: As you are very well aware, we are eight years old. However, not many people may realize that our actual “birthday” falls on 9/11. Was that deliberate?

JB: The true story is that I filled out all the paperwork to make PH official, and when I got to the date line and filled in “September 11,” I realized exactly what day it was. I deliberated for at least five minutes on whether I should go ahead and click “Submit” or wait another day so we wouldn’t be associated with such a dark day in American history. But then, I really started thinking about it and consciously decided that I wanted PH to be a light in the darkness and something about beginning what I hoped would be a force for good on such a day seemed like the right thing to do. The rest is history.

PH: Reflecting on the entirety of PH history, what do you think you got right?

JB: A man I worked with before I started PH, and someone who has been a bit like a mentor to me, told me that I should always surround myself with people who are smarter than me. So when I started PH, I looked for those who are true experts in their field. Look, you don’t want me heading up your IT services or working your graphic design projects, but hiring the right people has meant that we can provide super high-quality products to our clients. By surrounding myself with experts and smart thinkers, I’ve been able to definitely grow outside of my own comfort zone knowing I’ve got the right people to make it successful. Another related thing to that is that I think we’ve done a fantastic job of helping our freelancers grow their comfort zones as well. We hire them for one thing, but when we discover their “hidden talents,” we encourage them to pursue and expand. It’s something that’s worked out very well for us.

PH: What, if anything, have you gotten wrong? And why is it important to reflect on those things?

JB: Oh my, I’ve gotten so much wrong! Most of the mistakes I’ve made have been on the behind-the-scenes business end of things. Things like giving accurate quotes to potential clients on what kind of hours, money, and time will be necessary. I also have struggled with finding and creating healthy boundaries between work and home. When you’re an entrepreneur who works from home that can be one of the biggest challenges. I’ve needed to learn how to grow a “healthy me” so that I can be the best CEO, wife, mother, and human being I can. And I’ve been completely transparent about the mistakes I’ve made. It’s important to help others learn and grow, so if my experiences can help someone just starting out from making the same mistakes, then I have an obligation to own and share those mistakes.

PH: How did you create such a strong community in a virtual work space?

JB: That’s something else we’ve gotten extremely right. I don’t know of another virtual work force that truly feels like a team, especially in the last four or five years since our Executive Assistant, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, has come on board. She was telling me the other day that PH now employs 22 freelancers, which just blew my mind. We offer new hires a New Hire Toolkit that explains the culture here and sets them up for a strong beginning. We’ve worked hard to offer virtual book clubs, awards, recognition, and just some fun virtual events that help us grow and enjoy each other and the culture we’re creating. Not long ago, some of the freelancers took an hour out of their Friday to just hang out together virtually. That’s something truly unique. And we’re low pressure about it. If you want to be a raving PH fan, we’ll embrace you wholeheartedly, but if you just want to be a fantastic behind-the-scenes worker, we love that too. We’re inclusive and truly celebrate each other’s wins. We like to joke that it’s a good thing we’re virtual because if we worked in a traditional office space, we’d just have too much fun during normal work hours and then have to go home and get all our work done!

PH: Where do you envision PH going from here?

JB: Honestly, I don’t know! I went into this knowing to expect years where we wouldn’t grow or where we’d plateau, and every year that’s what I’ve expected. Yet every year we end up growing. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great thing and I’m glad we’re continuing to grow and meet a need in the business community. I think as we continue we’ll be making better, stronger, smarter decisions. I’d like to see us go deeper into government contracting and grant writing, areas where we’ve only begun to dip our toes in the water. I also think we’ll maintain our company where we are right now. I’m very conscious of our growth because I want to ensure that I can still be a strong wife and mother, 100% present in my family’s life, and I want the same for our freelancers. I can see growing more once all my children are in school full time, but for now I think we’ve reached a good work/life balance.

PH: What are you most excited about right now in the PH world?

JB: I’ve loved seeing what we’ve been able to do for nonprofits over the last two and a half years. The fact that we can provide the services of around five full-time personnel for the price of one gives us the ability to really help. We can provide grant writers, graphic designers, technical writers, marketing specialists, quality assurance experts, and more for about what it would cost them to pay one employee. That’s just a dream for nonprofits, especially smaller ones who just don’t have the budget for these things yet. We’re big on wanting to be a force for good, and our freelancers really appreciate their nonprofit clients because it lets them feel like they are doing more than just work—they’re helping provide services that benefit our greater communities.

PH: One final question. Is there any little-known secret about PH that you’d like to share?

JB: We’re an open book. Honestly, I can’t think of anything. I guess this would be a great time to share about our favorite PH volunteers. My husband, Fritz, has done so much behind-the-scenes stuff since we started. Anything from helping me unpack my office every time we move to creating Excel spreadsheets. And my son, Quint, is my favorite payroll helper. The whole family gets involved in marketing videos for nonprofits as well. PH has truly been a family endeavor, and I would never have gotten this far without them. The only other thing that comes to mind is just how proud I am of our little company that we haven’t had to use any of the COVID-19 relief funds set up for small businesses. Our very nature means that we already had processes and procedures in place for being 100% virtual, and we didn’t really even lose any clients or work. We’ve actually thrived during the pandemic, and that’s something I attribute not only to our business practices but also to the amazing freelancers who make PH what it is.

2020-07-12T20:05:05-04:00September 8th, 2020|

20 Reasons You Need Powerhouse Planning

It’s September, and we at Powerhouse are sincerely hoping you are back to experiencing a little bit of normal. If you aren’t, well, what is normal anyway? While you are celebrating your new normal, we are also celebrating here at Powerhouse. It’s our birthday month! Eight years ago, our intrepid leader Jessica Bertsch launched what has become a truly amazing, POWERful force for good in both the workplace and in communities around the world. In honor of our birthday, we have compiled a list of 20 reasons you need Powerhouse, covering a wide variety of perspectives and services.

1. We are always growing. We don’t rest on our laurels at Powerhouse. We are constantly adding to our list of services, our community outreach, and our ability to stay on top of what you need most.

2.  We are passionate about our clients. Of course, we wouldn’t exist without our clients. However, we truly want the absolute best for those with whom we partner. It’s not uncommon to find Powerhouse members actively supporting our clients outside of the business services we provide.

3. We are an entire team of experts. We all have our skill sets and the things we are good at doing. Jessica has assembled an entire stable of skill experts available to help with a vast variety of tasks. The best news? You get an entire team for the price of one employee (maybe even less)!

4. Nonprofits have our heart. We love all our clients, but we have a soft spot for our nonprofit clients. Powerhouse is about more than just the business acumen we offer; we are committed to being a force of light and good. So when we can help nonprofits, we are all in, especially when it comes to strategic planning, grant writing, or helping identify the most efficient way to spend the dollars available.

5. We are a true virtual TEAM. Yes, we are an entirely virtual workforce. Yes, we represent pretty much every region in America, but we are also a team in the true traditional workplace sense. We work closely together to ensure we are giving clients the best possible product. And if we have a ton of fun along the way, well, that’s just another way in which we are perfectly unique.

6. We are flexible. Not only are we able to pivot on a dime if a client needs us to, but we also provide flexible work hours for our freelancers. We want our freelancers to have the freedom to choose the work schedule that works for them so that they can also be the best in all aspects of their lives.

7. We rock “office attire.” In compiling a list of reasons why Powerhouse is the absolute best place to work, one of our freelancers asked if the fact that we can “go” to work in our fabulous athleisure attire counted. Of course it does. We know that if you’re comfortable, you’re going to be more productive. Rest assured, though, we do rock traditional office attire just as effectively.

8. We support military spouses. When Jessica started Powerhouse, she was passionate about being able to offer truly portable careers for our military spouses. We are proud of the fact that most of us are active or retired military spouses. For those of us who are not, we love the fact that we work with people who are often overlooked, overqualified, and underutilized.

9. We share the goodness. Powerhouse gives 10% of its annual profits to various charities around the world. Most are causes near and dear to our team members’ hearts, and we LOVE knowing we work for a company that feels strongly about being a force of good in the world.

10. We are career coaches. Have we mentioned that we are all-in with our clients? Besides providing on-time, fantastic products, we also offer career coaching. We are invested in our clients to the point that if we see something that can be improved, we will make sure to mention it (along with some ideas of how to make the change). We just can’t help wanting our clients to surpass their expected potential.

11. We are problem solvers. Need someone to take over the projects that are keeping you from focusing on your talents? That’s exactly why Powerhouse exists. You don’t even need to have all the logistics worked out. Just come to us with a vague idea of what you need, and we will turn it into more than you ever imagined it could be.

12. We are eternal optimists. Ask any of our freelancers and they will tell you that one of the best parts of working with Powerhouse is the positive, encouraging, uplifting team environment. We offer fulfilling work and positive affirmation that lets our freelancers know that they are appreciated and that we are a little in awe of their talents (okay, okay, a lot in awe).

13. We become part of your team. When you sign with Powerhouse, you gain additional team members. Seriously, we will most likely become your biggest fans as well as a virtual workforce helping you become all you can be. It’s definitely not uncommon to hear team members talking about how “we are the best” when referencing a client’s products and services. We really do feel like we are your team members, even if we never meet you in person!

14. We are marketing superstars. We get marketing. Whether it is traditional marketing or the more and more common online/social media marketing, we have got you covered. From graphic design to help with large-event planning or conference/trade show attendance, we can help you make the most of your marketing budget.

15. We are invested in the whole person. Our team members are more than just experts at what they do for Powerhouse. They are family members, parents, community volunteers, and more. We embrace that and want our freelancers to find the perfect work-life balance for them. From our president on down, everyone at Powerhouse is encouraged to make life a priority. It may just be one of the best parts of working here, knowing that if life happens, not only can we take the time to deal with it, but it’s absolutely going to happen with active backing from our Powerhouse coworkers as well.

16. If we don’t offer it, we will. Looking for help from a virtual team, but don’t see what you need on our services page? Just ask. Chances are we can find a way to make it happen. We grow where our clients need us. We are willing to bet our current freelancers have the skills you need, but if they don’t, we will find some who do.

17. We encourage growth. We strive to help our clients identify areas in which they can grow and improve (and offer the expertise to help them do so), and we do the same with our freelancers. When they are ready to grow and expand their skill sets, we are here to encourage them to do so. Most of our freelancers were hired for one skill set but have expanded their knowledge to become experts in other areas as well.

18. We are team builders. Not only is Powerhouse a dynamic team, but we also have the skills to help you improve your own teams. Company development is a bit of a passion for our founder, and she is adamant that every company can implement steps that will result in a stellar team. From hiring to mentoring to developing resources, Powerhouse can help you become the team of your dreams.

19. We lighten your load. In fact, we excel at it. We are comprised of a community of experts in our individual fields, plus we thrive together and grow together, which means we can take on the things that weigh you down so you can focus on the things that will make you grow and thrive.

20. We love what we do. Have we mentioned that? Helping clients be the best they can be while providing portable careers for some truly amazing freelancers all while investing in our communities and people just makes us jump out of bed in the morning. We love going to work (with some of the shortest commute times there are) because each day gives us the opportunity to know we are making a positive difference in our lives, our clients’ lives, and our communities. As cliché as it sounds, it really is what drives us and the reason we are celebrating another successful birthday.

2020-07-12T21:24:12-04:00September 1st, 2020|
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