“Virtual Professional” Is About the Stupidest Term I’ve Ever Heard

“Virtual professional” is about the stupidest term I’ve ever heard.

What in the hell is a “virtual professional?” What makes someone a “virtual professional? How does that term distinguish one profession from another? What separates particular fields and areas of expertise? How do those two words tell the audience what a virtual professional does, specifically? Oh, that’s right–it doesn’t!

A virtual professional could be anyone doing anything virtually who considers themselves professional. So a doctor who sells medical information on a website is a “virtual professional” and a building contractor who markets for clients on the Internet is a “virtual professional.”  Attorneys, handymen, interior designers, architects, you name it. By that logic, if they sell services or market online, they’re all “virtual professionals.”

Gee, that makes a ton of sense (not)—a word to encompass every living breathing professional on the planet who happens to do business online so that it literally means absolutely nothing.

Lot of good that does me if I’m a client. If I’m looking for a bookkeeper, I’m not going to sit there and go “I know! I’ll look under “virtual professional.” If I’m looking for a web designer or administrative support or whatever other specific expertise or discipline I might be seeking, why on earth would I ever search under “virtual professional?”

I wouldn’t. They wouldn’t. Because it doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t even occur to anyone to do that. And even if it did, the results would be all over the place. They’d have to sort through pages and pages of all the inane, irrelevant listings in order to find the one or two (maybe!) that actually did the thing they were looking for. No one is going to do that.

3 Responses

  1. Ha! I could feel your frustration as I read this! Anyone tagging themselves as a Virtual Professional should sit back and think about how it sounds… Virtual Horse-Pucky! I will say I followed your lead and went to Google and typed in “Virtual Professional”… seems it is actually a widely used term. Congrats to those for being successfully vague!

    😉 Danielle – this was fantastic!

  2. Anna Kuhl says:

    I totally have to agree. If you choose a title for yourself or your business it needs to actually describe what you do. Likewise your keywords need to actually be phrases that people will type in, not phrases that some random keyword tool told you would be awesome for business. I love the term administrative consultant as it encapsulates what a lot of we VAs actually do (as well as sounding professional). Thanks for that, Danielle!

  3. Naomi T. says:

    Danielle, you are hilarious! I’m in agreement that this particular title makes no sense at all. I’ve seen a lot of hoopla re: the VA title this year alone. I think an individual in this profession has to choose an appropriate administrative title that works best for them and the services she/he offers. Keep the sound advice flowing wise one. :>)

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