Powerhouse Looks Forward to Good Things in 2019

Can you believe that 2019 is just about one-twelfth over? It seems like yesterday we were celebrating an awesomely successful 2018. Here at PH, though, we don’t like to rest on our laurels, and we want to a take a little time to let you know what excites us about this year.

First, we love having clients we can consistently help and see grow. Really, it’s one of our favorite things! In 2019, we look forward to continued growth among our retainer clients. We offer such a wide variety of services and goodness that our clients can consider us a one-stop shop. We’re launching into 2019 thrilled at the prospect of continuing to grow the relationships we have and foster new ones. Specifically, we’re looking to increase content-driven partnerships. After all, we’re really, really good at creating content, and we’re only getting better. So, should you wish to talk content, let us know—we’d love to help!

Along the same lines, we love our nonprofit clients. They completely own our hearts because each and every one is helping in so many different ways. We’re able to provide them a bevy of services for the price of one full-time employee. From grant writing, to graphic design and IT support, to project management, we’re able to help our clients stretch their budgets so their money can go where it can do the most good. In 2019, we hope to partner with even more nonprofit clients; when we’re an ideal dream team for them, it’s a win-win all around.

As always, our founder and president, Jessica Bertsch, loves to give back. This year, we will continue to give charitable contributions through our Share the Goodness campaign. Check out what we were able to do in 2018 and some of the organizations we helped. As part of our Share the Goodness campaign in 2019, we will continue to grow and give to the scholarship program we established with Indiana State University. Why Indiana State? Well, Jessica is an alumna, and besides, Indiana State is home of the mighty Sycamores! (Yes, we chuckle about that, too.)

Before we go, we just want to give you a taste of some of the content you’ll see from Powerhouse this year. We’ll have spring cleaning checklists for your company and for you (because everyone loves spring cleaning…Well, we feel way better after we’ve done it, anyway!) as well as checklists for grant writers and ideas about what you should have in your grant-writing library; we’ll tell you what the top five stressors are when starting a business; we’ll highlight cybersecurity, an ever-growing concern; and we’ll talk about decluttering your website. We will also be highlighting some our team members who produce top-notch, out-of-this-world content and make Powerhouse the success it is. Maybe we’ll even be able to convince Jessica to make a special appearance. One thing we hope you’ve learned by now is that Powerhouse loves to surprise, and 2019 promises to be a year full of (great) surprises!

2019-02-05T22:04:53+00:00February 5th, 2019|

Powerhouse Celebrates a Fantastic 2018!

There’s really no other way to describe it. Our clients and team members made 2018 a celebration here at Powerhouse Planning. 2018 saw us enjoying our sixth year providing an assortment of services to a wide range of clients, while employing a virtual team that now represents all five military branches, the best talent (regardless of military affiliation), and eleven states (if you think your office conferences are hard to coordinate, try ours!). Despite a fabulous first five years, in 2018 Powerhouse grew our client portfolio by 50% and our team by 41%. In addition, our most impressive statistic is also one near and dear to our president and founder, Jessica Bertsch’s, heart: Our charitable contributions grew a whopping 144%! So join the party as we honor the ways in which 2018 marks our most “accomplished” year to date.

Our clients are incredibly important and impressive. We strive to provide the best, most innovative products, and word is spreading that Powerhouse is the place to go for high-quality, on-time delivery. In 2018, we established partnerships with Jacey Eckhart, Coastal Addiction, MILLIE, and Operation: Job Ready Veterans, just to name a few. From serving nonprofits to government contractors, we provide wide-ranging services that assist our diverse clients in creating the best possible solutions for their clients. In addition, we are proud that longtime client Cape Henry Associates renewed their contract with us for a record fifth year.

Ever heard the phrase, “There is no ‘I’ in team”? Well, at Powerhouse we’re proud to say that we place a high premium on collaboration and teamwork—it’s all about working together to create our POWERful team solutions. But we do believe there is an “I” in our team: Our team is INCREDIBLE. All of our team members are truly spectacular at what they do. Our president has a talent for discovering someone’s “career gifts,” and it shows in the team she’s assembled. Last year we added some dazzling talents to our team such as Meghan Traynor, Julia Clark,  and Ariana Detrez.

Powerhouse has been honored to work with some of the best talents in the nation. In a virtual workplace, it can be difficult to create a true sense of community, but Powerhouse has succeeded. While a lot of us here are relatively new (two years or less with the company), there are some who, even in the short six years Powerhouse has been around, have already achieved “legendary status.” Legends like Jennifer McKee, Technical Writer and Quality Assurance Specialist, who is our most senior team member. Jennifer has been with Powerhouse for five years, and her fingerprints are all over the successful projects we turn out. Another example of our spectacular workforce is Bianca Strzalkowski, our e-Newsletter Coordinator. All those newsletters you’ve received and looked at over the last three years are her babies. She makes us look and sound good year-round. From our amazing long-term IT guy to our lineup of graphic designers, technical writers, marketing gurus, and more, Powerhouse employs the best while providing a work/life balance that is second to none. No wonder our team members tend to stick around while continually submitting outstanding work.

From its inception, Powerhouse has been committed to giving back 10% of its monthly profits. In the beginning, that commitment meant sponsoring a child in Africa through World Vision, a sponsorship that still continues today. As Powerhouse grew, so did our charitable offerings. In early 2018, Powerhouse provided funds for a woman to travel to Haiti for humanitarian reasons. Powerhouse’s founder wanted a way to get the team involved in our “Share the Goodness” movement, and in November and December she challenged Powerhouse team members to nominate organizations in our hometowns to receive some of the goodness that comes our way. Our commitment to give back to our communities saw contributions going to the Scentsy Buddy Drive at Florida Hospital for Children; Space Coast Basket Brigade; Jesse Beckius/Casey Owens Veterans Resource Center; Alzheimer’s Association; Foodbank of Hampton Roads; North Carolina Center for Economic Empowerment and Development (CEED); Onslow Women’s Shelter; Fort Gordon Christmas House; St. Anne’s Child Care Center; and Rockledge Professional Firefighters Charitable Foundation. If you asked her, we’re pretty sure Jessica would say that besides the professional success Powerhouse has seen, the ability to give back and “Share the Goodness” is one of her favorite things about starting this company.

So, as we begin to tackle 2019, we thank you for everything. 2018 was a fantastic year, full of growth and exciting new partnerships. Be sure to check out our services. And keep checking back—we’re adding new goodness all the time as we strive to be the one-stop shop for all of your planning and marketing needs. Don’t see what you need? Contact us and we’ll see what we can do. Our goal is to make 2019 even more remarkable. Let’s make a date to meet next year to celebrate again—same time, same place. Deal?


2019-01-14T22:06:21+00:00January 14th, 2019|

How to Set Realistic and Attainable Goals in Business

Whether it’s January 1st or December 31st or any of the days in between, there’s never a bad time to set business goals for yourself and your company. Businesses are living, breathing entities. They change and grow, or they die. And what breathe life into and give direction to a business’ future? Goals. But not just any goals—goals that are realistic and attainable. So how do you set realistic and attainable goals?

Be (brutally) honest. How has the past business year been for you? Revisit both your successes and the times your company has fallen on its face. The things you rocked and the things that got away from you. Where did you knock it out of the park? How did you misstep? Both your successes and your failures can (and should) inform the path moving forward. Learn from both.

Do your homework. What’s the latest, greatest in your industry? How is the way people do business in your field shifting? What are your competitors and peers doing that’s working? Not working? How is customer behavior changing and how might that impact how/where you find and engage with them? Setting yourself up for success in creating and meeting goals starts with you arming yourself with as much information as possible.

Be SMART. The philosophy of SMART goal setting isn’t new; it’s been around since the 1980s. Its staying power is because it works. You want your goals to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Specific – Pretend you’re a newspaper reporter and answer the W’s: Who’s going to be
involved? What are you trying to accomplish? When will you do this by? Where are the relevant events/locations? What obstacles might you face? And the most important question—Why is this a goal that matters?

Measurable – How will you know if you’ve reached your goal? What metrics will you use? Dollars spent/earned? Number of sales, customers, locations?

Achievable – Can you realistically do what you’re setting out to do? Do you have the skills, time, and resources? If you don’t, can you acquire what you need?

Relevant – Does the goal align with your business plan/strategy? Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good use of your time and attention. Does it make sense to your broader vision for your business?

Time-bound – Remember when you just asked yourself when you’d do this by? (See above.) Set a deadline or target date, not just for your goal, but also for all the milestones along the way. For instance, if your goal is to bring in 100 new customers by the end of the year, where are you at three months in? Six? Nine? Not only should you have a deadline for your goal, but you should also be monitoring your progress toward that goal year-round. That gives you the opportunity to assess where you’re at routinely and to make any adjustments as necessary.

Get your team involved. The view from a leadership role is not necessarily the same as the view of the people taking calls, knocking on doors, fielding complaints, or working the systems you have in place. Sure, if you’re a great leader, you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your business. But you’re likely not interacting with customers and vendors, etc. Ask the people who are working the plan.

When your team responds, don’t just listen—commit to making changes to the things that need to be fixed. And this commitment doesn’t just apply to the troubleshooting part of your business. Ask your team members what their hopes and dreams are for the company. What their brilliant ideas are that might just take your business to the next level. When team members have buy-in, they will work harder for a company that values them and solicits their feedback.

Have a plan for your plan. Written goals are great. Know what’s better? The plan to implement those goals and the follow-up along the way. What will it take to get those goals off paper and have them work to grow your business?

Name the responsible people, teams, or departments. Grace is setting up the new
CRM system that manages information regarding customer engagement. Joe is communicating with team leads monthly for updates and feedback. Sarah is coordinating the celebration lunch if you’re on target with your numbers. Whatever the goal is, someone should be tasked with taking responsibility for each piece of the puzzle.

Put it on your calendar. When are you meeting to check in with each other and report on progress/obstacles? When are reports due? What’s your deadline for meeting your goal? When’s that celebration lunch? Put it all on the company calendar where everyone can see what’s being tracked and by when. Scheduling time for such things conveys the urgency and priority of your goals to your whole team.

Allocate the necessary resources. What do you need to set your goals in action? Budgeting more money for social media? New equipment or software? Specialized training or a staff retreat? Employee incentives? More employees? Look at what you’re hoping to accomplish and assess what resources will be required to make it happen. If you can’t find or create what you need to pull it off, perhaps this isn’t the time for this particular goal. If that’s the case, put it on your goals bucket list and go back to the drawing board to determine what’s possible with what you have available to you.

Big dreams. Little steps. Dream the biggest possible dreams. Want it all for your business and believe that all is possible. But a goal isn’t a dream; it’s the vehicle that turns dreams into reality. The trick is to create goals that are bigger than where you currently stand, but not so big that you’re done before you’ve started. So be honest with yourself. Do your homework. Be SMART. Get your team involved. Plan to work your plan. Put the necessary resources in place. And get to work on those attainable and realistic goals that are going to propel your business ahead.

Need some inspiration for where to start with your goals for a new business year? Click here.

2019-01-02T01:22:51+00:00January 2nd, 2019|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Shelley is a visual designer and front-end developer who has had worked for over 12 years on projects that support the development of water and transportation infrastructure internationally in developing countries, support and encourage the professional development of physical therapists, provide American diplomats in training with digital textbooks, and support the marketing and design vision for a variety of nonprofits. She is passionate about understanding what drives people to information, exploring innovative strategies, designing user-friendly deliverables, and learning new skills. She graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, TN in 2006 with a BFA in design communications and currently resides in Arlington, VA.

When she’s not working, you can almost always find her exploring the Washington, D.C. area; planning her next travel adventure; in the kitchen experimenting with a new recipe; or simply enjoying the company of her boyfriend, friends, and (last but not least!) dog, Liam.

2018-12-31T17:53:12+00:00December 31st, 2018|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Meghan Traynor is excited to join Powerhouse Planning as a Social Media Specialist. She is a proud Coast Guard spouse currently residing in Alameda, California with her husband and their newborn son! Meghan graduated in 2015 with a degree in early childhood education. She started out as a teaching assistant and worked her way up to be the assistant director of a preschool. While Meghan loves teaching and all the rewards that come with it, she has decided to start down a new path as a freelancer so she can stay at home with her son and still be able to help support her family and her husband’s career.

2018-11-08T01:24:40+00:00November 8th, 2018|

Nurturing Small Businesses and Small Humans

By: Lakesha Cole

I caught myself this morning putting on makeup with one hand, the other occupied with a toddler whining because she can’t wear red lipstick to school, all the while remaining fully engrossed in a foreign conversation about anime with my STEM-loving 13-year-old daughter. I’m a work-from-home-mom, author, speaker, and retail entrepreneur. These post-military days, I raise my kids in Tampa, Florida and run businesses in North Carolina and Virginia. Are you exhausted yet?

Moms everywhere are making it happen and “having it all,” concurrently starting and nurturing small businesses and small humans—both of which are never-ending jobs.

Meet Tiffany Eve Lawrence, mommy and founder of Covered Cubs. She’s a Marine spouse and mom to twin 6-year-old daughters, Lyla and Ava. She’s known among her friends as the outgoing and outspoken one who makes friends easily. Her interpersonal skills suited her well for military life and led her to start her own business. Tiffany is hands down one of the most genuine and inspiring examples of mom entrepreneur success I could share with you today.


2018-10-30T14:16:13+00:00October 25th, 2018|


It’s our anniversary! Powerhouse Planning turned six years young in 2018, and CEO Jessica Bertsch has big plans on the horizon. When she launched her entrepreneurial vision in 2012, she did so with a plan to lean on the skills of an untapped resource: military spouses. As Powerhouse experienced upward mobility, Jessica’s team expanded to reflect a unique talent pool transcending geographic barriers. And that means delivering more services to small business owners at a budget-friendly cost. Whether you’re looking to plan a large-scale event or revise branding in 2019, Powerhouse’s suite of services covers it all.

Learn more about how Powerhouse Planning is giving opportunities to freelancers around the U.S. while also helping entrepreneurs grow: Powerhouse CEO Reflects on Company’s Growth, Defining Moment.

2018-10-25T13:46:28+00:00October 25th, 2018|

How to Create Buzz for Your Event

By: Kylie Hastings

The key to a successful event is to get people talking about it before it even happens. Orchestrating a good buzz for the venue, conference, gala, or whatever type of event you are hosting will increase ticket sales and attendance while also helping you anticipate the success. But where do you start?

Here are five steps for making your event the talk of the town—or the internet:

Put a hashtag on it.

 Social media is your first stop when it comes to getting people to talk about your event. Create an event page on Facebook and LinkedIn, then promote on your own Instagram and Twitter accounts. You will also want to create an event-specific hashtag and include it on any social media promotion, including graphics.

This is where your team will come in handy, too. Assign specific tasks to your marketing team so that a strategy can be implemented. For example, acknowledge any posts or comments that are made in relation to the event. Someone should be responsible for monitoring feedback and questions. The better customer service you display on social media, the more interested those who see it will be in attending your event.


2018-10-25T13:47:06+00:00October 25th, 2018|

The Follow-Up: Tips for Not Losing Conference Momentum

By: Angela Caban, MHRM

There is nothing quite like the opportunity to get away from the everyday routine of your office and attend a conference to build up your career. The learning, networking, and professional lunches may have you feeling amped up, energized, and ready to share with the world everything you have learned.

However, conferences can also have a crazy period of nonstop meet and greets, to the point where your head is spinning from all the overwhelming connections being made. Plus, you are probably thinking about getting settled back into your office, tackling the emails waiting for you, and attending the meetings that will follow. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose the momentum built within a few hours of returning home.

How will you remember everything you learned, and, most importantly, how will you preserve the post-conference glow and maintain your revived energy?

Before heading home, there are a few must-do items that will help keep the momentum going and get you organized before you dive back into the mayhem of the office.

  1. Brain dump.

Have you ever arrived home to read over your notes and not understood one word you wrote? Somewhere between the overload of conference information and the hastiness with which you wrote down the ideas you wanted to remember, you may realize that this would be the perfect time to know shorthand. Two things to do before heading home, when everything is still fresh in your brain, are to review and to rewrite important notes. I typically carry two notepads with me—one for housing the scribbly day of notes and the other for rewriting any important ideas I want to remember and share with others. Here’s another tip: Search the conference hashtag online. Oftentimes, on the day I travel, I will dive down the hashtag rabbit hole and jot down anything I may have missed from other attendees and sometimes even the speakers.


2018-10-25T13:48:16+00:00October 25th, 2018|

Client Profile: MILLIE

“The Powerhouse team has been essential in helping us scale our venture in a way that has the potential to help so many more military families than we’d ever dreamed. Jessica’s rock-star team of military spouse talent was a key element in our choosing to partner with them. Organized, professional, precise, and punctual are just a few of the ways I would describe Powerhouse and their work, and I would recommend them 1,000 times over for anyone looking for a strategic content or marketing assist.” – Kellie Artis, COO of MILLIE


2018-10-26T14:59:18+00:00October 25th, 2018|