Starting out as a freelancer is often the result of following a passion. Rarely does a fledgeling freelancer express a desire to sort out their accounts, file their taxes or plan marketing strategies. Business tends to come into focus at a later stage. However, understanding the basics and knowing a bit of business jargon can help a freelancer no end. Here's our rough guide on blagging it as a freelancer.


Researching this piece has been a real eye opener and explains why so many of us get confused with business speak and definitions. Whether it was the Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Collins or a blog site dedicated to freelancing, we could not find a simple definition of the word 'freelancer'. So, here's our best attempt: 

A freelancer is a self-employed person who provides a service to different clients without a long-term commitment to any one employer.

Other terms you may hear include:

  • Contractor: a person that undertakes a contract to provide a professional service.
  • Consultant: a person who provides expert advice professionally.
  • Entrepreneur: a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.


If you thought to define the word 'freelancer' was tough, the term 'brand' is a minefield. You may think of Mac's Apple logo when you hear the word 'brand' or perhaps you think of a message like "Just Do It'. Both are related. Here's the breakdown: 

Brand Values: A principle that guides a freelancer's behaviour and decisions as well as its relationship with the external world. 

You may believe in the value of 'integrity', for example, that would prevent you from accepting any unethical work. Your brand values will often help frame your brand message. 

Brand Message: The underlying value proposition of your business and the language used in your content.

Your brand message is what makes buyers relate to your brand by inspiring them, persuading them, motivating them, and ultimately making them want to buy your product or service. Related to your brand message is your 'tone of voice'. This refers to how you speak to your audience. A doctor may have an authoritative tone of voice when commenting on social media, for example, whilst a celebrity journalist may be more casual and light. 

Brand Identity: Brand Identity is how you (your business) want to be perceived by your clients. The elements of your brand (name, logo, tone, font) reflect the value your business is trying to bring to the market and to appeal to your audience.


We could do an entire blog on marketing jargon alone so here are just a few of the common phrases you may use as a freelancer. 

Influence: Often used in reference to your social media influence. It refers to the number of followers you have and your engagement rate (how many people like, comment, retweet, share etc... in comparison to the number of followers you have). 

CTR: 'Click Through Rate' commonly used when discussing email marketing. CTR refers to the percentage of recipients who have opened your email. You may use this term when discussing a partnership with another business or freelancer to see how valuable their mailer is. 

B2B: Business to business.

B2C: Business to consumer or client

Call to action: A call-to-action is a text link, button, image, or some type of web link that encourages a visitor to click. Businesses generally use a call to action button to help guide a visitor around their website. 

Inbound Marketing: Refers to marketing activities that drive visitors to your brand, rather than having to go out to get prospects' attention.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicator): Helps you measure the performance of your business. Marketers look at KPIs to track progress in regards to goals.