Name: Jessica Bertsch
Business Name/Occupation: Powerhouse Planning, LLC President
When did you know starting a business was right for you? Tell us about your business: We were on our third military move in six years of marriage. I had a 9-month-old following me around wanting to see his corporate career woman mama more. I remember hearing the nanny celebrating him rolling over while I was working in the other room… and I broke down. I knew then and there that in the very near future, I needed to find a way to balance shaping my child’s heart and my career.
Powerhouse Planning, LLC (PH) guides companies toward initiating and instituting high-IMPACT business plans that succeed in the forms of growth, recognition, efficiency, and new opportunities. Small to mid-size companies often struggle to afford full-blown, dedicated teams focused on marketing, company development, and business growth. We serve as an affordable, scalable, and targeted resource to assist companies of all sizes in achieving their goals. We provide business/company development, external/internal communications, and marketing services. The best part about PH is we create career opportunities for military spouses and veterans worldwide!
What is the most disheartening thing you have encountered in your career as a military spouse?: After our first move, I couldn’t find a job I loved for the life of me. I ended up not being able to get a job in my field and ventured into the unknown world of Corporate America. Looking back, it was the best thing that happened to me, but Lord knows, at the time, I was devastated. I was following my husband and supporting his career as I watched mine slowly fade away…or so I thought.
What career challenges have you faced because you are a woman?: In the corporate world, I experienced a little of the “good ol’ boys club,” but truthfully, any time I felt like an outsider, it challenged me. The same could be said about my youth and being blessed with high leadership positions at a young age. I never let the negativity get me down…it drove me to prove my talent and worth.
What advice would you give a woman, in particular a military spouse, interested in staring her own business?: Go for it! It won’t be easy and growing a business takes time. Be patient and success will come.
What is the most challenging thing about being a military spouse and business owner? What is the most rewarding thing?: Challenging: balancing all your life responsibilities with your business. Being a MILSPO, we have to be single parents, repairmen/women, cooks, the lawn maintenance crew, etc. We do it all…and on top of it, we own businesses. When you own a business you get no vacation time at the beginning and that’s challenging, too.
Rewarding: the flexibility. I love doing what I’m passionate about, but I also love being present with my children and being able to move my business with me as we PCS. For PH, I also love seeing so many military spouses and veterans having career opportunities through our company.
How did it feel when you made your first sale?: It was good, but the best moment is finishing a contract and having an extremely satisfied client. I always say that you can have a short celebration at contract signing, but the big party should happen when you get a rockin’ testimonial from a client at the end of the contract—or when they re-contract. That is how we measure success at PH.
What is one obstacle you have faced as a business owner, or on a personal level, as a military spouse, that you would have never expected?: Turning down work. It’s a good and bad thing. There have been times when I’ve had to walk away from large opportunities because they didn’t align with our company values and mission. It’s tough to turn down money, but it’s awesome being able to sleep at night knowing I’m keeping the company rolling in the direction I’m proud to stand behind.
What is one business goal you hope to accomplish by the end of this year?: Keep striving towards a workforce made up of 80% military spouses and veterans. All of our stats were outstanding as we closed out 2014. If we can keep that momentum going and increase it…then we’ve succeeded once again.
As a military spouse, or business owner, I know one thing for certain. It is . . .: I’m blessed! I have a great husband who loves what he does and serves our country. I get to surround myself with men and women on the Powerhouse team who were overly qualified and underutilized in the corporate workforce before they joined us…and I help them find a career. I get to stand beside my fabulous man during his career, build a phenomenal team at Powerhouse, and be present for my kiddos as I’d always hoped I could be.
What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur?: I always chuckle when I’m asked this question. My response is always the same:
I tossed around how much proof God has given me that I could be a military spouse and all the traits appeared to be transferable to the entrepreneurial realm. I’m dedicated to what I’m doing, loyal to a fault at times, driven to the point of exhaustion, able to grow through hardships, and cherishing the sweet moments of victory. I’m not a born entrepreneur. I’m a military spouse who took her strengths and became an entrepreneur.
My biggest fear is . . . : Having a super successful business but little family time. I work really hard to keep it all in check. I definitely want to be an amazing businesswomen, but if my greatest loves aren’t prioritized, then I have failed.
My greatest accomplishment is . . .: We closed seven contracts in a two-week period in 2014. It was crazy… but amazing. We ended the year providing more jobs than I could have imagined. (And it happened literally days before I gave birth to our second child.)
When I grow up I want to be . . . : Me! Sounds crazy, but being me is okay. I want to keep challenging myself and growing. I want to keep pushing and growing Powerhouse. I want to live life and love what I’m doing…and currently I’m doing just that.
In 2050 I hope women are/can/have . . .: More confident and supportive of each other. We each have valuable talents and skills. So much is lost when we get wrapped up in pettiness. I’d love to see women embracing their strengths more and leaning towards partnering with other women to strengthen our overall economy. So much is wasted when we get wrapped up in comparison and competition.
What is your legacy?: I want to be remembered as a person who created a company that genuinely made a difference in the lives of others—both our clients’ or PH team members’. I want military spouses and veterans to have an opportunity to showcase their talents and have careers that are meaningful. I hope that at the end of my earthly life, my family feels that they were loved and cared for…and my company and clients can say the same.
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