I’ll admit it. I’m a mixed-breed career woman/military spouse. When first meeting someone, I always stumble to state my roles in life quickly and concisely. In short, I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom/wife and a full-time CEO. (Please go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor.) Then I usually get a, “Bless your heart—how do you balance it all?” I almost always have a snarky comment like, “Wine and Jesus.” Truth be told, I’ve been processing how I do it, and it boils down to this: I’m a non-traditional CEO.
Allow me to explain.
I don’t hustle.
Over the past few years I’ve read article after article about “hustling to succeed.” Let me tell you, the only hustle I do is at 8:45 a.m. Monday-Friday to get my three kiddos to the bus stop. To me, if I’m “hustling” in my business, then I didn’t plan appropriately. I don’t want to work in chaos. I like order, plans, and processes. So, I’m not a CEO you’ll find hustling to drum up work.
I don’t set goals.
I’m an Enneagram 3 and I’ve learned that if I set goals then I will set out to achieve them. However, over the years I have decided I no longer want to be goal-driven. I’ve started measuring success by the impact we are making for our clients, team members, and our world.
I sat out the conference season (again).
This is the time of year when you start seeing conference picture after conference picture and fellow CEOs begin receiving award after award. In this season of life, that’s not me. In fact, I haven’t been to a conference in more than 6 years. I’ve chosen being present with my family over attending large-scale networking opportunities. I know there will be a time when I’m going to have that professional flexibility again, but I also know the years with my kids are going by fast, and I can’t miss this stage of life that only comes around once. So, I cheer from afar for my CEO counterparts and stand proudly at home, growing a company.
I rethought my approach to networking.
Bus stop. Playdates. School holiday events. Local events. That’s how I “work it” these days. For years I thought I needed to attend any and every professional event I could find to build leads. Then I realized that the more I made legit friendships the more people learned about my company, and that turned into business opportunities. Simple conversations on the go have turned into profitable contracts. It didn’t require me to get all fancied up or spend a mint on airfare and hotels. It took me chatting, getting to know someone, and speaking about my company (and their needs) when the time was right.
I keep politics out of my social media posts.
I don’t take a public stance on my political position via social media. I welcome the opportunity to chat face-to-face with anyone about my beliefs regarding religion, politics, etc. My personal and professional social media feeds will continue to be pics of my family and furry pets, primarily because I want to work with diverse clientele. I don’t want to work with people who are just like me; I want to learn from others. I believe that when you start sharing your beliefs as the best (and only) option out there, then you lose opportunities to learn from others. And, to me, that’s potentially lost goodness I could’ve had in my life.
I am transparent on social media.
I have two social media pages. I have my personal page and my business page. I’ve noticed over the years many CEOs opt to have a personal page and then a separate personal page that’s only used to show their professional side. #1, This mama ain’t got time for that. #2, I am who I am. I want to be transparent. If my personal life is so crazy that I can’t show everyone “who I am,” then in my mind I’ve stepped away from who I aim to be.
I created a non-traditional corporate culture.
I strive to prioritize my life in the following order: faith, family, career. I encourage this daily at our company. In the beginning, I remember people would be worried to tell me they had to go on vacation for five days and they’d make sure to bring their computer. My answer was (and still is), “Heck to the no.” We need breaks. We need to feed our souls. We’ve implemented policies where team members cover other members so they can step away.
I’m not striving to be rich—I’m striving to do good.
If I die and have grown a company that’s insanely successful, but I have a ton of money just sitting in the bank, then I’ve failed with how I define success. I’m human; therefore, I enjoy nice things. But I also know I’m crazy privileged, and that means as our company grows, we need to share. If I’m not giving more as I continue to gain more, then to me, that’s failing. I want us to “Share the Goodness.” At my company, Powerhouse Planning, we support local and international efforts that give back to our world through our Share the Goodness initiative. We’ve done simple things like race sponsorships, and we also engage in large-scale efforts like sponsoring a child monthly so she has food, shelter, and an opportunity to receive an education.
So that’s me.
I know I’m different, and I know many people will tell me I’m sipping on crazy juice. That’s okay, because I’m me and you’re you. But for those of you out there thinking you have to hustle and kill yourself on your way to success, look at your season of life. Look at the season of your company. Start to embrace and celebrate your ideal image of what a successful CEO looks like.
So go onward. You be you, and I’ll be me—and we can all just be proud of how we find success.
Jessica Bertsch is a proud Coastie wife and mom of a 12-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, and 7-year-old daughter. In her “spare” time she runs Powerhouse Planning, LLC, www.powerhouseplanning.com.
Taylor is excited to serve on the Powerhouse team! At her core, Taylor is a creative and a champion for small businesses, with a well-rounded background in human services and marketing. With more than six years in the hospitality industry as a highly awarded host, she believes in a white-glove, human-first approach to short-term rental management. She has a passion for creating exceptional guest experiences and a proven track record in property design and management. She is exuberantly dedicated to helping owners maximize the potential of their investments.
Taylor is an adventure seeker who loves traveling and exploring in her RV with her partner and her dog. She is a foodie with an insatiable curiosity for new experiences. When she’s not working, Taylor is traveling or practicing skills like woodworking, gardening, farming, scuba diving, and rock climbing.
Hannah is thrilled to join the Powerhouse Planning team as a guest services manager. With a five-year background in different marketing roles, mostly in cybersecurity and B2B networking, she is excited to pivot her skill set to be more customer oriented. Along with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and cognitive science, Hannah also holds a master’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Virginia.
Hannah is based out of the Charlottesville, Virginia area, although she has spent the last year traveling with her husband and cat in their self-converted school bus RV! After visiting 20 states and 25 national parks, she is excited to be back on the East Coast.
Coming from a military family herself, Hannah has always had a love of travel and hopes to continue to explore new places, both in her bus and via plane.
When she’s not hiking or checking out new landmarks, Hannah likes to read, pick up any and every craft, and try new foods and drinks.
Janice is very excited to join the Powerhouse team as a guest service manager. She has a bachelor’s degree in computer science as well as digital media and web technology. Additionally, she holds an associate degree in chemistry. Janice has many years of experience in customer service as well as data and property management. She feels she can contribute her great skills in assisting the team. Janice is a military spouse with three beautiful children. Over the past 12 years, she has lived with her family in four different countries around the world. During free time, she loves to travel and bake.
Powerhouse Planning, LLC is honored to announce that it received the Outstanding Appreciation Award from Operation: Job Ready Veterans. This award recognizes the five years of dedicated services Powerhouse Planning has provided to Operation: Job Ready Veterans and its mission.
“We are proud to be the recipients of this award,” said Jessica Bertsch, Powerhouse Planning’s president and founder. “This award also signifies the careers that this partnership has provided to military spouses on our team over the last five years, and for that I am grateful.” OJRV’s mission to bridge the transitional gap for veterans, military members, and military families speaks to Powerhouse’s own passion for providing remote careers for military spouses and veterans. Powerhouse is honored to play a small part in the big work OJRV is doing.