Taking Care of Business – Jessica Bertsch, President of Powerhouse Planning

By: Julie H. Kirchner

Jessica Bertsch married her “Coastie” (that’s U.S. Coast Guard) husband, Fritz, 14 years ago, and as a family, they have moved six times. Only now, each time Jessica moves with her husband’s career, she takes hers with her—a blessing that she worked hard to create for herself just over seven years ago when she started Powerhouse Planning. Jessica’s Powerhouse has since grown to become an unwaveringly talented freelance team at the forefront of providing virtual workforce solutions for client businesses.

Jessica and Fritz have three children, including Quint (8), Gracie (4), and Auvie (3). When Fritz is underway with the Coast Guard, Jessica handles the household and the kids, along with keeping her business running successfully. She definitely doesn’t want to make this sound like it’s all a piece of cake, though—and that if you’re not doing it all and still feeling “balanced,” then you’re doing it wrong. No way. Jessica remains firmly rooted in the reality of the hard work and the personal resolve involved. “My husband has been at sea over a quarter of our marriage, so I’ve done a lot of parenting, and a lot of building a business, solo,” she says.

“I want people to be excited about where they are in their journey and to always be improving.” – Jessica Bertsch

Founder and President, Powerhouse Planning, LLC

This month, Powerhouse is focusing on the topic of self-care for freelancers and business owners. So, how does a CEO, military wife, and mother of three take care of herself?

Jessica says, “I feel like I’m the healthiest that I have been since I started Powerhouse, but it is ongoing. I have done everything you read about. I’ve set office hours—I used to be the lady who took the laptop to the couch when we were watching TV and relaxing. I set more realistic expectations for myself—the other side of this is that I value other peoples’ time and space. It’s okay to slow down, because of the way our culture is. Because of the way our virtual workforce is.”

Jessica also works to practice self-care by staying true to her boundaries, and she starts off every morning by reading a devotional to “get started on the right focus every day.” When asked if she uses reminders or time organizers to help her keep the most important things in focus, she laughs, “Yes! All the things. People would be overwhelmed if they saw my life, ‘for real.’ I am crazy organized, and I have to be, because of how our life is.” She also gives credit to her mom, who flies in and helps out when Fritz is at sea.

What other self-care habits help Jessica feel balanced, healthy, and put together? “A girlfriend once told me, ‘Jess, you’re kind of a “yes” person.’ And I am. Because someone told me that and called me out on that, I’m kind of aware that I don’t have to volunteer for everything,” she says. And now, Jess says, “I take a moment, whenever I do say ‘No,’ to feel proud of myself, because I’m being balanced on my priorities.” (more…)

2020-01-14T18:47:00-05:00January 14th, 2020|CEO Highlight, PowerTips e-newsletter|

Did You Know?

January is typically a month full of resolutions, goals, and aspirations for the coming year. It makes sense given we’re leaving the old behind and beginning anew. What better time is there to take a moment for some self-care? Let’s face it, freelancers and small business owners might be some of the worst offenders when it comes time to “pamper,” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things we can do that are good for business and might just make our lives a little easier, too.

Check out some of our checklist resources. New to grant writing? Attending any conferences this year? Have a resolution to work on team building? Let Powerhouse save you some time and utilize the checklists we’ve already built for you. Or take a moment to review the services we offer. Maybe the best way you can help yourself this year is to let us handle some things that free you up to be the best you can be professionally. Whatever you decide, take some time to focus on you, your business, and how 2020 can be your best year yet.

2020-01-14T18:43:33-05:00January 14th, 2020|PowerTips e-newsletter|

Five Tips to Host an “Influencer” Party

By: Karen Pinkston

Part of self-care as an entrepreneur is celebrating your success and having fun by engaging with your customers and fans. This new year, why not host a different sort of party, where your team can have a blast while also promoting your brand at the same time.

Influencer events, where you invite social media influencers to sample and preview your products, are becoming one of the biggest trends to grow your brand with like audiences. With more than one billion active users each month, your company has an opportunity to target niche audiences and build brand loyalty with Instagram influencers.

But to make your party successful, you’ll want to follow these top five tips.

#1 Pick the right influencers.

The first step is to find the micro-influencers, people with fewer than 20,000 followers, who really connect with your brand. They must have a genuine interest in your type of products and a history of showcasing similar content. One successful example is when a Canadian ski resort wanted to attract new visitors, they used a top adventure photographer to showcase their resort on Instagram and with short Facebook videos. His stunning photos showed an authentic “insider secret” to escape the crowds, reaching the resort’s target audience of travelers.

#2 Create an Instagrammable invite.

When you send your invitation, make it creative to get the influencer excited about coming. If it’s really good, then they might even post in advance about the event to get their followers amped. For example, when a new outside entertainment venue opened in Tampa, Florida, the developers sent influencers “invite packages” that included Polaroid cameras. Influencers used the old-fashioned cameras to take preview shots of the park, Sparkman Wharf, and post them.

[More tips on upping your “influencer” game here!]

#3 Location is everything.

When meeting with your team, think of the most visually interesting location to host your event. Is there a hip rooftop bar, a new, trendy hotel lounge, or even a cruise ship where you could host your party? Keep in mind that you’re trying to create the best photo shoot opportunities. Think about places with great lighting, and make sure there’s reliable Wi-Fi and outlets to keep your influencers connected and charged up. An example is Instagram’s own annual top influencer event, Instabeach on Malibu’s beautiful strip.

#4 Little details matter.

When you invite your influencers, make sure you clearly explain to them what they should do. Do you want them to make one post about the event and by what timeline? Choose a single, simple hashtag for your party and print it on as many outreach and promotional materials as possible. This will encourage others to use the hashtag and create an easy way for you to track your success.

#5 Have fun!

Think of creative games and contests to keep influencers engaged during your event. Plan to have great food and snacks as well. The key is to make sure that everyone has a good time so that your team feels good about the event and your influencers leave with a positive impression of you and your brand to share with the masses.

2020-01-14T18:40:36-05:00January 14th, 2020|Marketing Buzz, PowerTips e-newsletter|

Fine-Tuning Your Communication Skills

By: Meredith Flory

For entrepreneurs, our increasingly technology-driven society can be a blessing as unique ideas, products, and services can reach clientele and specific market niches easily. However, when considering self-care and needed time away from one’s desk, constant communication through email, texts, and social media can also be a source of stress. Each business needs to make a plan for approaching communication among staff, clients, and the public to protect not only your business interests but also your mental and emotional health.

Set limits and expectations for communication.

Smartphones are able to keep us connected to our teams and clients, but it’s important to understand both spoken and unspoken communication rules for the field you work in. Make firm decisions as a staff as to how long is acceptable to wait to respond to an email, text, or phone call during the workday and how you will handle away messages or direction to a coworker when out of the office. Make sure rules are clear for how those out of the office are allowed to set limits on responding.

Be present with those in front of you.

While setting rules for being in contact with your team is important, it’s also good etiquette to know when to put away the phones. Make sure staff understand that when you are at a work function, such as a dinner meeting or presentation to a new client, it is important to show the people you are in front of that they are a priority and put communication with others away.

Use “reply all” sparingly.

Another possibly dangerous area of constant communication to navigate is “reply all” emails and group texts. Group communication can function to let everyone working on the same project know important dates, deadlines, and other information, but it can also cause headaches. Almost everyone can share a story of being left to scroll through unnecessary comments and emails from people who should have learned to talk directly to one person. Or, on the other hand, missing an important detail because someone replied only to the sender. Be mindful of people’s time and overrun inboxes and learn to differentiate the information that should be for the whole group versus only for a select few.  (more…)

2020-01-14T18:36:35-05:00January 14th, 2020|Business Etiquette, PowerTips e-newsletter|

Client Profile: The Children’s Hunger Project

Powerhouse Service Provided: Day of Giving Campaign

“Jessica and her team have been absolutely wonderful to work with. Not only did they take the time to truly understand what we needed to get done, but they also worked very quickly to get some of our items done right away. The brand standards that they developed for us were useful immediately. Their assistance with some of our campaigns really helped us track our progress.”

– Keith Gee, Executive Director, The Children’s Hunger Project

2020-01-14T18:33:50-05:00January 14th, 2020|PowerTips e-newsletter, Service & Success|


Self-care and the small business owner don’t always go hand in hand, especially if you’re just starting on your entrepreneurial journey. Still, it’s fairly common knowledge that taking a little time to focus on yourself can have so many positive benefits.

Check out serial entrepreneur Deep Patel’s list of ways small business owners can incorporate self-care into their business plan.

Sure Payroll also gets behind the self-care movement and has some other ideas on how to incorporate self-care to help make you the best business owner you can be.

Self-care is important, no matter how you slice it. If you’re going to be the best business professional you can be, you have to put away the office concerns and focus on being the best, most well-rounded, healthiest you there is.

Consider making it an office challenge. Invite everyone at work to incorporate some element of self-care into their daily or weekly routine this year. Competition like this will help hold you accountable for your own self-care; plus, it’s always better to go on a journey like this with someone else. Your entire business might just be better off for it.

As always, check the Powerhouse website as well as we’re constantly updating and adding tips and tricks on a variety of subjects.

2020-01-14T18:32:11-05:00January 14th, 2020|Business Resources, PowerTips e-newsletter|

Island Pet Movers – Helping Our Four-Legged Friends Travel Safely

By: Lindsey Stone

With new pet travel regulations being implemented with no broad standard across airlines, Kari Mendoza—owner of Island Pet Movers—not only recognizes the need for education within the military and local communities of Hawaii where her business operates, but also has set a goal for 2020 to increase the public’s knowledge and perception of pet travel. This vision includes a promoting greater understanding of how pet travel works and why it is important for pets to travel safely and at reasonable cost as well as diminishing negative perceptions. Mendoza says, “I would say many of our clients are scared to fly their pets, thinking their beloved pets will die in the cargo of an airplane. This is a huge misconception of how pets are flown. Pet transportation is very safe. Unfortunately, with social media and ‘fake news,’ people spread fear, which has led airlines to change their policies.” (more…)