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53 Essential Freelance Terms You Need to Know

As a freelancer, it’s essential to understand the language of the industry you’re working in. Knowing key terms and phrases can help you communicate more effectively with clients, colleagues, and other professionals. This guide will provide an introduction to 53 essential freelance terms that every freelancer should know.


A 1099 form, also known as an “Information Return,” is a tax document used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report the income of self-employed workers, independent contractors, and freelancers. This form is used to report any non-salary or wage payments that have been made to you during the fiscal year.


An agency is a business or organization that provides services to its clients. It can provide professional, creative or specialist services.


A bio is a short description of yourself or your business.

Brand Identity

Brand identity refers to the visual elements and personality of a brand. It encompasses everything that is associated with the brand, such as its logo, tagline, color palette, typography, and overall design system.


A clip is your writing samples or published articles


Closing is when a seller obtains commitment from the buyer to purchase a product or service.

Conflict of Interest

Conflicts of interest are situations that arise when a person or organization has competing interests, which could potentially interfere with their decisions or actions.

Content Strategy

Content strategy is the practice of planning, developing, and managing content with the purpose of creating an effective and engaging user experience.

Content Writing

Content writing is the practice of creating compelling, relevant and informative content for websites, blogs and other forms of digital media. This content can include blog posts, articles, e-books, infographics, press releases and white papers.


A contract is a legally binding written or verbal agreement between two or more parties that defines the rights, duties, and/or obligations of all parties involved. Contracts are an essential part of freelancing and are used to protect the interests of all parties involved.


Contract-to-hire is a type of employment arrangement, in which an individual is hired for a specific project or job on a contractual basis and then, if both parties are satisfied with the arrangement, is hired as a permanent employee of the company.

Contract Work

Contract work is an arrangement whereby an individual or organization is temporarily employed for a specific project or task for a set period of time.


Copy is the text within a project, document, or publication.


Copywriting is a form of communication that involves writing persuasive, eye-catching and engaging content to capture the attention of an audience. It is used in various mediums such as advertising, marketing, blogs, websites.


A project deliverable is an item or end-result produced for a client.


Engagement in social media is how often and the way in which users to interact with content, a brand, or another user.


End of Month (EOM) is the common term used to refer to the last day of the month.

Estimated Taxes

Estimated taxes refer to the payment of taxes based on expected income throughout the year. These payments are made by businesses and self-employed individuals in order to prevent underpayment of taxes. Generally, estimated taxes are due on the 15th day of April, June, September and January each year.


Evergreen content is content that remains relevant and useful over an extended period of time.

Fair Use

Fair Use is a doctrine in U.S. copyright law that governs the use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder.

Fixed Price

A fixed price is a set, predetermined amount for goods or services. This type of pricing model takes away much of the guesswork and risk associated with other types of payment methods such as hourly billing.


Freelancing is a form of self-employment where an individual works independently and provides services to clients on a contract basis.


A ghostwriter is a professional writer who produces content for another person, typically without taking credit for the work.

Gig Workers

Gig workers are individuals who take up short-term, freelance or independent contracting opportunities to earn an income. They usually provide their services for a variety of organizations, ranging from small start-ups to large corporations. Gig workers are often compensated on a task or project-basis, as opposed to the traditional salaried or hourly employee.

Hourly Rate

An hourly rate is a form of compensation where an employee is paid for each hour worked.

Ideal Client

An ideal client is the type of client or industry that you would prefer working with and that your services would be the best fit for

Independent Contractor

An independent contractor is a self-employed individual who contracts with another company or person to perform specific services or tasks. Unlike an employee, an independent contractor is not under the direct control or supervision of the company they work for, and they usually have more freedom to work on their own terms.


An invoice is a document issued by a seller or supplier to the purchaser of goods or services. It typically includes details such as the quantity and cost of the goods or services provided, any discounts applied, and the total amount owed. The invoice may also indicate when payment is due and how it can be made.

Landing Page

A landing page is a web page that is designed to capture the attention of visitors and to encourage them to take action. It typically contains information such as an opt-in form, images, videos, product descriptions and other useful details that will help persuade a visitor to complete the desired action.


A license is the transfer of ownership or rights for use of intellectual property from one party to another.


A listicle is a type of article or blog post that is presented in the form of a numbered list. It typically contains short, concise pieces of information and often includes images, videos, and other multimedia content to make it more engaging for readers. Listicles are often used by writers to create an informative yet entertaining pieces which can be easily digested by readers.


An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business structure that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation. This allows business owners to have the best of both worlds, as they can take advantage of the flexibility and simplicity of a partnership or sole proprietorship while also enjoying the protection of limited liability. LLCs are extremely popular among small business owners and entrepreneurs because they provide great protection against personal liability while still allowing the business owners to have a significant degree of control over the company.

Net 30

Net 30 is a payment term that requires the customer to pay an invoice within thirty days of receiving it.


A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is a legally binding contract between two or more parties which outlines an exchange of confidential information and restricts its use by any other party outside of the agreement. It helps ensure that sensitive data remains private and protected from unauthorized disclosure.

Payment Structure

A payment structure is a set of rules and regulations that outline how payments are to be made between two or more parties.


A pitch is a succinct, persuasive and informative summary of your business that you can use when networking or introducing yourself to potential clients.


A portfolio is a compilation of an individual’s or organization’s best work. It can be used to demonstrate a freelancer’s skills, experience and capabilities in order to help them gain more clients or secure new opportunities.

Project Estimate

A project estimate is an assessment of the likely cost, duration, and scope of a proposed project. It is typically presented in the form of a document that outlines the timeline and resources needed for successful completion of the project.


A project proposal is a document that explains an idea for a project. It includes details about what the project will do and how it will be done.

Recurring Invoice

A recurring invoice is an automated billing process used in business accounting and finance to send or request payments for services or goods on a regular basis.


A referral is typically a recommendation made by an individual to another person to use a particular service provider or business.

Retainer Pricing

Retainer pricing is a type of billing model that involves making a long-term commitment with a client for an agreed-upon fixed fee, which is often paid on a monthly basis.


Revisions are the process of making changes and corrections to a piece of work.

Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a marketing strategy designed to turn potential customers into paying customers.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website in order to improve its visibility and rankings on search engine result pages.

Scope Creep

Scope creep is a term used to describe the gradual expansion or increase of a project’s scope beyond its original plan. It often occurs when new features, deliverables, or other changes are added to a project after it has already begun.


Self-employment is a type of employment arrangement where the individual involved works for themselves, either as an independent contractor or entrepreneur. It may involve working from home or setting up a business.

Source Files

Source files are the original, editable files for a project or document.

Scope of Work

The scope of work consists of the detailed requirements and expectations of a project or task. It defines all the activities, materials, services, deliverables, and timelines that are necessary to complete the project. It outlines the responsibilities of both parties involved in a project, such as the client and the service provider.

Tiered Pricing

Tiered pricing is a pricing strategy that businesses use to incentivize customers to purchase higher-priced items. It involves offering different products or services at different prices, based on the features or benefits they provide. This strategy can help businesses increase their customer base by appealing to customers with different budgets.

UX Design

UX design, or user experience design, is the process of creating products with a focus on how users interact with and experience them.


Verticals in business refer to the major divisions of an industry, market, or product line. They are typically used as a way to organize and structure companies, allowing them to focus their resources in specific areas. For example, a company may have several verticals such as software engineering, product development, marketing, customer service and sales. Each of these verticals is responsible for different aspects of the company’s operations and has its own unique set of skills and resources.


A W-9 form (officially, the “Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification”) is a document used by individuals and entities to provide taxpayer identification information to businesses or organizations. The form is used when businesses are hiring independent contractors.

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