To be the premiere online learning center for Virtual Professionals. Through an online environment, with the support of an instructor and subject matter experts, students can study a myriad of subjects pertaining to small business management and professional development. While classes are geared toward those working in a virtual environment some students may benefit in any workforce or for personal development.
AVP defines a Virtual Professional as any person whose career entails working remotely through the use of technology to provide a product or service to clients or an employer.
For years, founder Kelly Poelker had a desire to develop a training course around her book Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA; co-authored with Diana Ennen. After talking and working with a number of veteran virtual assistant industry colleagues and academic advisers, Academy of Virtual Professionals LLC became reality in late 2007. Our first official teleclass, launched on March 18, 2008 will go on record as Get a Grip on Technology, instructed by Nora Rubinoff of At Your Service Cincinnati. The first 16-week program, officially known as VAS: Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant (based on the ever popular Virtual Assistant – The Series book and workbook). The program was instructed by Tom Smerk, who was very instrumental in getting AVP up and running.
The rest is yet to be written by all of our students…
About Our Founder
Veteran VA and industry leader, Kelly Poelker, started as a part-time virtual assistant in February 2000, when she established her company Another 8 Hours, Inc. headquartered in O’Fallon, Illinois. It didn’t take long before business grew to the point that her full-time job was getting in the way. Denied the opportunity to work remotely as an independent contractor for her employer, in November that same year she gave notice and became a full-time entrepreneur on January 1, 2001. She hasn’t looked back since!
Kelly quickly joined the ranks of some of the best virtual assistants in the industry. Destined to share her business knowledge and expertise she began hosting a weekly chat for aspiring VAs and co-authored her first book, Bizy’s Guide to Starting a Profitable Virtual Assistant Business, with work-at-home veteran Diana Ennen. In 2001, Kelly co-founded the first ever virtual assistant conference, appropriately named VA Conference, with industry greats Janet L. Jordan and Alfred Gandee. When Janet and Fred both met with untimely deaths in 2006 VA Conference sadly came to an end.
Over the next decade Kelly would continue to share her passion for business with others by authoring and publishing additional books, including the longest standing book on becoming a VA, Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA. VA-The Series books include a main manual (available in multiple formats), an accompanying workbook, and the ebook, Working Virtually: A Guide to Working Remotely as an Employee, all co-authored with Diana Ennen. For a little fun she also co-authored a cookbook with Diana called the Bizymoms Cookbook. The success of Kelly’s VA books has been an unexpected treat. Along with becoming what’s referred to as the VA industry “bible” and an Amazon bestseller on becoming a VA (print and Kindle editions), VA-The Series book and its accompanying workbook are also the most widely used textbooks in college virtual assistant programs across the country.
Kelly had the pleasure of representing the VA industry for a special series on Entrepreneur Radio’s Mary Goulet Show along with a few other industry greats. She’s also received media attention in Entrepreneur Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, MomsTown Reality Radio, Christian Science Monitor, HOMEBusiness Journal, WSRadio, and Microsoft Small Business Center among others. She’s been featured in Priscilla Y. Huff’s books Make Your Business Survive and Thrive and 101 Best Home-Based Business Ideas for Women. She’s a contributing author to Thrive In Your Career: 70 Tips from a Collection of Small Business Experts and Virtual Assistant Solution Pack.
Kelly was a charter member of the original International Association of Virtual Office Assistants (IAVOA) from 2000 – 2007. Since 2008 she’s been an active member of the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) serving on the Executive Board as Treasurer (2008 – 2011).
Kelly was my personal coach as I went through the VA training program, Virtual Assistant-The Series (co-authored by Kelly and Diana Ennen). During that time, she openly shared her vast knowledge and expertise of the VA industry, and operating a small business, in general. She was consistently right on target at understanding where I was in the process of building my business, both logistically and emotionally, and always offered her guidance, wisdom and compassion to get me through the learning process. As a VA, a coach or a mentor, Kelly is second to none. I highly recommend her services as a VA, as well as her training program for aspiring VAs. Kelly is a treasure, and I’m honored to know her.
~ Marilyn Stafford, Alliance Virtual Services
There is not enough space to write how much I appreciate Kelly’s support. She is a wonderful woman with all the right attributes. She is intelligent, creative, responsible, friendly, smart, reliable, and of course beautiful! I was able to launch my own home business thanks to her wonderful book of becoming a Virtual Assistant. She also answered all my questions, gave me feedback and inspired me to become a Virtual Assistant. I’m greatful for the opportunity I had to get to know Kelly and learned from her experience.
~ Miriam Vasquez, ACE Virtual Solutions
I first met Kelly upon my graduation from VAU in October 2001, and was taken by her leadership skills and business savvy. I was new to the world of virtual assistance and had an idea of what I wanted my business to be. With Kelly’s tutelage, advice and guidance, I developed Virtually Everything to be what it is today.
~ Barbara Rowen, Virtual Everything
I have rarely met anyone in the Virtual Assistance field more committed to aiding in the success of her peers than Kelly. She is continually reaching out to new VAs to help them launch their businesses and to existing VAs to increase their skills. Kelly is a pioneer of the VA industry, having launched her business when the term and concept were first being coined. She is one of those highly professional and successful individuals that VAs seek out for advice and information on every topic from technical challenges to customer service, and she offers an unflagging willingness to answer questions and act as a sounding board.
Kelly is co-author of some of Virtual Assistance’s most respected how-to books, including Virtual Assistant – The Series, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions, and Bizy’s Guide to Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business. For many years Kelly dedicated every Monday night to being available to newbie VAs for a free group support chat, open to everyone.
Also evident at all times is her sense of ethics and her experience and dedication to her own VA practice. She is the model of a successful virtual assistant, devoted to providing her clients with high quality work. She goes far beyond the call of duty in partnering with her clients and helping them be successful and happy in their businesses. As well as consistently working hard on their behalf, she also treats them with warmth and compassion.
She continues to be a great resource of information for me as well as the VA industry as a whole. I would not hesitate to recommend Kelly for any endeavor.
~ Nina Feldman, Nina Feldman Connections