New Powerhouse Team Member

Rossmery is a web and graphic designer based out of wherever the military takes her—and where there is an internet connection. As a military spouse for almost five years, she has experienced firsthand the challenges that come with being a military family. After a few years of finding it difficult to develop a professional career in cultures where being a military spouse was seen as unfavorable, she took a leap of faith and began freelancing instead. In that first year of business, Rossmery found support, passion, and love for her new career. Today, Rossmery is incredibly grateful for this path of life and is more than determined to continue growing and serving clients. Now she is thrilled to be a part of the Powerhouse team and is excited for the opportunities ahead!

Outside of the office, you can find Rossmery working on a puzzle, hanging out with her hubby and lab (Lily), or reading a good personal development book.

2019-11-26T20:05:05+00:00November 26th, 2019|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Lindsey Stone is excited to join the Powerhouse Planning team as a freelance writer.

In seven years as an Army spouse, Lindsey has spearheaded four moves, one of which was an over 6,000-mile, multi-stop move from the East Coast to Oahu, Hawaii. She currently lives on the Hawaiian island of Oahu with her husband, Brandyn, her two daughters, Korra (4 years old) and Gwyneth (10 months old). Together they share their home with four beloved pets—all rescue animals who have moved with them countless times over the years.

In her professional life, Lindsey is an innovative, experienced leader with an endless curiosity to question, create, and understand how things work. She is especially passionate about developing programs internally to improve processes through capacity analysis and employee development programs.! She is an operations manager with 5+ years experience in marketing campaigns and business development. Her human resources and project management experience goes back 10+ years!

Lindsey is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a M.S. degree in Communication with a focus in Marketing. She is currently a PhD candidate at North Central University where she received the “Dream it, Do It!” full tuition scholarship to complete her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership. She is also studying for her PMP Certification through Onward to Opportunity (O2O).

In her free time Lindsey loves hiking, island hopping, and spending evenings at the beach watching the sun set.

2019-11-05T22:01:05+00:00November 14th, 2019|

The Value of Giving Back

The Hebrew word for “to give” is natan. In two languages, Hebrew and English, it’s a palindrome—the same word backward and forward. To give is to receive and to receive is to give. The act of giving then becomes a reciprocal transaction, an unspoken agreement between a giver and a receiver rather than something that one with more does to/for one with less.

No matter how one chooses to give—whether it’s serving our country, donating food to the hungry, or volunteering time for an organization whose mission we’re passionate about—there is always value for all concerned. That fact doesn’t make the gift of one’s time, skills, or resources any less precious or special. It simply means that the act of giving back is good for the giver, too.

Helping others have their needs met. In its simplest form, giving to others ensures they can have their basic needs met. Everyone has (or should have) the right to food, clothing, shelter, security, and love. The absence of these things prevents those with less from being fully actualized as human beings. It is incredibly difficult to give one’s gifts to the world if it is a battle merely to survive. When you give so that others have enough, you reap the benefit of them bringing their best selves to the world.

Developing gratitude (and putting things into perspective). It is easy to get stuck in our own stories about all that is wrong with our lives. We’re not where we want to be. Someone has treated us poorly. We haven’t gotten what we wanted to get. Being able to help someone with less than we have has a funny way of putting things into perspective. Yes, I work a crazy number of hours, but I have a job. Yes, the kids clogged the toilet and I had an unexpected plumber bill, but I have running water. Yes, my life isn’t exactly what I want, but I have all that I need. Knowing that—that our own needs are met and that we’re in a position to help others meet theirs—that’s cause for gratitude.

Living a longer, healthier life. Google the health benefits of giving to others and you’ll find a whole host of science to back up the claim that giving is both literally and figuratively good for you. Giving to others has been shown to decrease stress, increase emotional well-being, improve cognitive function and more. You can’t argue with science.

Developing your own skills. Depending upon how you choose to give back to others, there are any number of skills you can develop yourself. For instance, if you volunteer for a local community organization, you may learn how to work with diverse teams, communicate with others who may be different from you, manage resources, etc.

In fact, if you’ve ever had the experience of a gap in employment, you’ve likely been advised to find a place to volunteer. That advice is so often given because it’s understood that prospective employers acknowledge the strengths and skills that volunteer service can help to develop. (It’s a happy bonus that if you’re feeling down about being unemployed—serving others is a great way to redirect your attention, feel a sense of purpose, and provide value to others who are grateful for your time and effort.)

Building community (and expanding your world). Giving to local causes you care about strengthens your community. It unites people who might not otherwise connect and creates relationships you might not otherwise experience. And who doesn’t want to live in (or raise children in) a community that values and takes care of each other?

Sharing your values. How you help—if you help—says a lot about you as a person. It demonstrates what you believe in and what’s important to you. That’s not to say that you should give so others perceive you in a certain way. But it is to say that your actions (or inactions) can be contagious to others. Your children, friends, co-workers, they see what you do and may even model your behavior. Giving spreads in the best viral way possible.

For all these reasons—beyond all these reasons—life is a cycle. Sometimes we have; sometimes we have not. Sometimes we give; sometimes we take. When we can both give and take with grace and generosity of spirit, the world is better for it.

2019-10-16T16:40:56+00:00November 12th, 2019|

Spotlight on Powerhouse’s Julie Clark

We love anniversaries here at Powerhouse, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating Julie Clark’s one-year Powerhouse anniversary. Julie is one of our extremely talented social media specialists or, if you’d like, strategists. In her first year here she’s already served clients such as Cape Henry Associates, Jacey Eckhart, and Agent Intel/MILLIE. As Powerhouse President Jess Bertsch is fond of saying, “She’s seriously talented, y’all!”

We asked Julie to reflect on what she loves about Powerhouse, and she said, “From my first phone interview, which was on a weekend or weeknight, I knew Powerhouse would be a great fit for me. Jess understands that freelance work involves unusual hours and unusual work environments.” Very true. She also loves that even though we’re all working from diverse locations and time zones, Powerhouse still makes her feel like she’s part of a real team. Almost as if our virtual office were a real office setting. No matter what project she’s working on, Julie never feels as if she’s alone on a task. That collaborative feel is there, no matter that we might have some unconventional remote offices.

Julie is a fantastically creative thinker who has had a passion for entrepreneurship from a very young age. We’re pretty sure she was hustling a slew of lemonade stands and was a top sales earner in any fundraising efforts she participated in growing up. Julie’s confidence, common sense, and drive have helped her create and sell several businesses over the years. And she always has new business ideas percolating.

While Julie is not a military veteran or spouse, she is the daughter of an Army veteran and the wife of a fireman. She and her husband eloped in 2002 and were married on top of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Today, they are the proud parents of three children, a sixteen-year-old daughter and twelve-year-old identical twin boys. They love experiencing the outdoors together and can be found doing anything from kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, camping, or exploring new nature preserves and beaches. They live on Florida’s Space Coast, which means they can indulge in their outdoor passions year-round. Julie, especially, has really taken to kayaking in recent years. She even takes strangers on guided kayaking tours, which stretches her introverted ways but has been infinitely rewarding.

Because we’re focusing on giving back this month, we asked Julie (who also has a passion for giving back) what ways she gives back to her community. She told us that she routinely supports several fundraisers related to her husband’s work at the fire department, the annual Rockledge Professional Firefighter’s Toy Drive and Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirt Drive. The proceeds support local families in need over the holidays and local breast cancer survivors.

Julie and her husband are constantly looking for ways to help their community and are committed to instilling a passion for volunteerism in their three children. As Julie says, “It’s important to remember not to take anything for granted, whether health or financially, and to look for opportunities to help others who are less fortunate.” Giving back doesn’t have to be done on a grand scale either. “Don’t overthink it,” she states, “It can be as simple as reaching for that item on the top shelf of a grocery store you see someone struggling to reach, or picking up a few items of trash after a day at the beach.” Giving back doesn’t require money or even a lot of time. The little things add up and are just as significant.

Julie’s passion for work, life, and her community mean she’ll be a part of the Powerhouse team just as long as she wants. Well, that and the fact that she is amazing at what she does. She sees Powerhouse experiencing tons of client growth in the next few years. She’s learned a lot in her year here and thinks Powerhouse will continue to impress with our dedication to our clients and the quality of work we produce.

As we always do, we asked Julie for a fun fact about herself. She told us she’s a bit of a nerd about looking for fossils and treasure. In another life, she would have been an archaeologist or paleontologist. Recently, she took a solo trip to the Peace River in the middle of nowhere to look for ancient treasures with a sifter her husband built her. While she hasn’t found evidence of a never-before-seen dinosaur yet, she has collected fossilized bones and shark teeth. She also dreams of finding treasure in one of the many shipwrecks off the Florida coast.

Julie left us with a challenge that we’re going to pass along to you: This week, make a small gesture to give back to your community. If you accept this challenge, we’d love to hear about your experiences. Even if you simply bring a smile to someone’s face, you’ve impacted your community for the better.

2019-10-07T19:18:18+00:00November 4th, 2019|

Spotlight on Powerhouse Jennifer McKee

We are extremely excited to introduce you to our “oldest” Powerhouse freelancer, Jennifer McKee. It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say we’ve been waiting ALL YEAR for this feature! Jen has been with Powerhouse for over six years and is still our number one fan, as well as one of our indispensable, go-to talents. She works as one of our quality assurance geniuses, but she has been known to take on the occasional writing assignment if we beg enough. Jen ensures that the products we turn out are error free and fantastic. Currently, you’ll see her hand in products for clients such as Nomadés and Cape Henry Associates, but given how long she’s been with us, her invisible touch is almost everywhere.

Jen has two favorite things about Powerhouse. Well, we limited her to two or, given her status as a super fan, we’d be here all day. She loves the flexibility that comes with our virtual workplace, but she truly loves “how encouraging, supportive, and just KIND the team is to one another.” We couldn’t agree more. It’s a work environment that founder Jessica Bertsch has purposefully fostered since day one—and Jen should know because she’s been here nearly as long. These are also traits Jen’s taken to heart as she is almost always one of the first to offer an encouraging word or congratulations.

Jen describes herself as “a hot mess,” to borrow a phrase from our founder. A typical day finds her juggling her life, working at figuring herself out, and just trying to be happy. It’s a quest she’s aided in by her husband of seven years, Alan (a sixth-grade science teacher which, we think, automatically makes him a hero), and her daughters, Alex and Maya. Alex is 21 and has just started veterinary technology school while she works full time at a veterinary hospital. Maya, almost 18, is in her senior year of high school and a proud fourth-year color guard member of the Hickory Marching Hawks. Jen isn’t a proud band mom or anything (wink). Her domestic bliss is rounded out by her 3-year-old pit bull, 8-year-old boxer, and her 18-year-old, 4-and-a-half-foot long ball python. Hey, we all have different ideas of what makes a good pet, but we think she might win the most cool pet owner points in our “office”!

When asked about her hobbies and interests, Jen said she enjoys kickboxing, hanging with friends, and SLEEPING. We can get behind those, too! She loves to travel, though she doesn’t think she does enough of it. She also doesn’t think she relaxes enough, which we’re willing to bet is a failing a lot of us have.

Because we’re entering that time of year when we all start to look toward next year, we asked Jen a little bit about what planning looks like in her life. Once she stopped laughing at the very idea of planning, she told us that the best planning advice she can give is this: Plan to have things interrupt your plans. She’s an olympic-level list maker, but life always seems to get in the way. She’s spent a lifetime learning not to be flummoxed by the hiccups that come, but to be flexible and that while the best-laid plans may not go to plan, a general outline is helpful.

We’re pretty sure her ability to change as needed is part of what has made her so successful at Powerhouse. We know she has faith that Powerhouse will only continue to grow and blow clients away with our quality products. We’re just relieved that as far as she’s concerned she’ll be a member of the team for as long as Jess will have her. Which means we’ll see you again in about 20 years when we’re celebrating her quarter-century here!

As always, we asked Jen for some fun, little-known facts about herself. She offered three, though she said none were very exciting. The first is that she has been enamored with military jets since she was 12 years old and her Air Force dad took her to her first air show. She actually loves jet noise! The second is that one summer during college she waited on Stephen King. The third is that, having grown up on Cape Cod and coastal Maine, she can get every bit of meat out of a lobster even though she won’t eat any of it (she’s NOT a seafood lover).

Well, Jen might not find herself overly exciting, but we’re excited to have her talented self as part of the Powerhouse family. Here’s to six-plus years together and many more to come!

2019-10-07T19:34:57+00:00October 7th, 2019|

Why Planning Early Is Crucial to Success

Most of us have probably heard that old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” There’s a lot of truth in that, even if we don’t always want to admit it. Planning—whether you’re planning for a new business, planning for an existing one, or just trying to manage life goals on the horizon—is crucial to success, as exciting as it is. Let’s face it: We all love the dream stage. Thinking about how things will be once the initial work is over is fun. The nitty gritty details of planning how to get from the dream stage to the realities of success? Not so much. Yet there are very real, very important reasons why planning can make or break any dream.

1. Planning provides specific goals/objectives.
Brian Tracy invented the six P formula for personal and business success: “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Not surprisingly, his very first suggestion for ensuring success is to organize your thinking. J.D. Meier, bestselling author of Getting Results the Agile Way, states, “…planning helps organize your thinking, shape your future actions, and prepare for the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.” It’s true. Planning results in specific goals or objectives that everyone in your company can look to as guiding principles for both the big and the little decisions that must be made daily.

2. Planning allows for more control.
The more control you have over a situation, the easier it is to handle. By carefully planning the actions you will take, you remove a lot of the guess work from a situation. You can identify potential flaws in your plan or your execution and correct before they become impossible to manage. Kamran Akbarzadeh, founder of Dream Achievers Academy, notes, “Without proper planning we would not be ready to respond to challenges.” He goes on to say, “Planning ahead helps you and your organization become assertive in taking risks and saying no to either conservative or aggressive approaches.” If we are in control of our path, we have a greater chance to succeed.

3. Planning streamlines/makes us more efficient.
This seems like a no-brainer. Having a plan eliminates waste. Of time, of money, of resources, you name it—planning is the efficiency tool of choice. A little time spent planning how teams will be built, what resources you should focus on building this year, or even how you will spend your time can lead to massive payoff in the end. Take the time now to plan how best to utilize what you have so you’re not scrambling in the future.

4. Planning helps identify potential challenges.
There’s nothing like planning for every eventuality. The best asset of planning is time. Proper planning means having the time to think about every possible outcome and to identify what steps can be taken to combat and overcome each challenge. The absolute best factor to take into account when planning is that your plans will change. By taking some time now to identify how your plans might change and what strategies you can implement when life throws you that curve ball, you can save yourself some serious headaches later.

5. Planning strengthens teamwork.
Truly, the bedrock of any organization is the people who work there. Planning fosters an innate ability to build the best teams and to provide them with the framework in which to succeed. If every member of a team is fully aware of the plan and its implementation, they can more efficiently and effectively carry out their duties. In addition, when everyone knows the plan, it’s much easier to figure out how to make individual contributions fit the planned whole. In 2013, Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) implemented its first ever five-year strategic plan. Reflecting on its success in 2018, Dean/CEO Paul Rothman said, “A strategic plan is only as good as the people who execute the strategies, and faculty and members across JHM embraced the plan and did their part to make the vision a reality.” The team members at JHM knew the plan and were able to keep it in mind when working their individual parts. The plan was such a success that JHM launched a second five-year plan called Innovation 2023.

Planning can make or break a business. It’s important to plan, to plan early, and to reassess the effectiveness of the plan often. Remember, no plan is perfect and there will be eventualities you just can’t imagine. However, knowing your objectives, having confidence you have the right team and the right time, and feeling in control of every situation are exactly how early planning allows us to overcome and succeed.

For more information on planning early and why it’s a good thing, check out the following articles:
Dream Achievers Academy | “Six Reasons Why Planning Ahead Matters”
Johns Hopkins Medicine | “The Benefits of Good Planning”
Sources of Insight | “7 Advantages of Proper Prior Planning”
Cliffs Notes on Planning
Management Study Guide

2019-09-23T22:19:22+00:00October 3rd, 2019|

CEO SPOTLIGHT

How Vacation Planning—and Family Memories—Made a Successful Business

 By: Meredith Flory

When Regina Edry moved back home to Augusta, Georgia from Ohio in 2016, she did not plan on opening her own interior design business and becoming a “Superhost” for Airbnb, yet now her business is focused on helping people plan their travel, sell their home through staging, and make other property decisions.

Working as a caretaker, she owned a home, but she wasn’t spending a lot of time in it due to often working nights. Inspired by Gammy, a spunky elderly woman she cared for who taught Edry how “attitude is everything,” and encouraged by her mother Kathy, a business owner herself, Edry decided to rent out her “cute little house on the hill.” As Edry began to have more and more people interested in staying in the rental home, she gradually moved in with her mother and purchased another property to renovate and rent out.

Edry’s father passed away unexpectedly a few years ago, but it was his influence of making memories for her family that motivated her to be a hostess who connects with her guests. She now owns three rental properties and puts flourishing touches on each to make every stay feel special. She recalls that when she was in high school, her dad decided the family would take a trip for Father’s Day, and the family decided to rent a home on Jekyll Island. It became a twenty-year tradition for her family, and Edry remembers the joy and expectation she and her siblings had of staying at a property each year and looking through the art, bookshelves, and decorations, clues to unraveling the mystery of who the families were that owned these homes. Continuing these stays has been a way for her family to “see our dad everywhere” as they visit his favorite places on the island. Now, Edry wants to “take care of guests in a personal way” that helps their own families make precious memories.

In fact, she does have people rent from her multiple times, and she says that renting a guest house through a company like Airbnb, or other forms of staying with a host, allows you to experience a community in a more close-up way than a traditional hotel stay, whether it’s for business, a family vacation, a getaway with friends, or another travel need. For example, Edry has gotten to know a family that has stayed in one of her properties seven times as they’ve needed to be in the area for their son’s medical care, and she is praying for their son’s health with her own community.

(more…)

2019-09-30T19:03:01+00:00September 30th, 2019|

Did You Know?

Planning is incredibly important, especially when it comes to managing all the moving parts of a small business. Whether you’re trying to get your ducks in a row to start your dream business or are looking for ways to help keep that beautiful business going, Powerhouse has you covered. From starting your initial business planning, to preparing for conferences or team building, to refreshing and “spring cleaning,” we’ve got it.

Check out our Resources Page for lots of helpful tips and strategies to make planning one of your favorite things.

2019-09-30T19:34:03+00:00September 30th, 2019|

MARKETING BUZZ

Three Ways to Keep You and Your Business Organized When You Work from Home

By: Rheanna Bernard

Trying to keep yourself organized, especially when you work from home, can be tricky. Distractions come easier with family, kids, or just the house in general being right there. It’s easy to say, “Oh hey, let me just do this cleaning,” or, “Maybe I’ll just take a second to organize this.” On top of distractions, you have the organization factor that is a little different when you operate your business outside of the traditional workspace. Working from home can give you so much freedom, but sometimes you have to work a little harder. Here are three ways you can look at to keep yourself organized and less stressed.

  1. Use a scheduling system.

Finding ways simply your life can help keep you organized. Using a scheduling system like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule out social media posts can allow you to plan out a week or two ahead, saving you time in the long run. Buffer and Hootsuite both offer free options so that you can test out which set up works best for you. Both enable you to post to Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook all in one place. Setting aside a specific day of your month for scheduling can free up your other days to focus on interacting with your followers without worrying about what you’re going to post that day.

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2019-09-30T19:03:12+00:00September 30th, 2019|

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

Seeing 2020—A New Protocol for Strategic Planning

By: Julie Kirchner

As the last quarter of 2019 approaches, business teams the world over will turn to planning for the next full year.

We will dig out or print multiple copies of our calendar, annual strategic business plan, marketing plan, and budget. We will sit around big conference tables (physically, or virtually and metaphorically) with on-demand coffee and individually wrapped chocolates, surrounded by giant post-it papers on the wall and rainbows of colored markers.

Sorry to interrupt all that inspiration you were feeling just now. Umm…call me crazy, but I’m fairly certain this is not the magic fluff that wildly successful companies are made of. (Unless you’re in the business of giant post-its or colored markers, of course.)

It’s time we cleared things up with a 2020 prescription for our “Vision.”

We’ve always done it this way. We thrive on flexibility and new ideas.

(more…)

2019-09-30T19:03:27+00:00September 30th, 2019|