A Beginner’s Research — To Start Up Freelancing Career

Includes Freelance History And Dictionary Of Freelance Terminology

11 min readMar 25, 2020
Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

It’s been a week since my mind is possessed by the freelancer’s ghost.
I couldn’t get over my anxiety initiated by its constant whispers, which is in fact getting worse.

*Freelancing provides an opportunity for a stay@home mom to earn from home* —the internet is brimming with similar Click-baits for the socially anxious people (Oh, Yes. It’s me.)

With so much passion for writing at heart, how can I not see hopes to develop a writing career, from home?

Is that hope or irresistible temptation?

Free cheese is always available in mouse-trap


The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”

Oscar Wilde

Yeah! You understood it right. My heart yielded to this temptation.

I had to start from the scratch…

I am just a one-week old baby freelancer, who hasn’t yet got a project to work on. Yet, I would like to share my experience and the basic knowledge about freelancing that I attained through online research. I hope, this would help any amateur freelancer or a beginner like me.

Freelance has its own history and also language. It seemed like, I stepped into a foreign land.
The language was tough for my brain to process and interpret. So I made a small dictionary to understand the freelance terminology and refer to, as and when needed.


A huge surprise was awaiting me as I learned about the origin of freelance.
I, an amateur had been thinking, freelance co-exists only with the online world.
Least did I know, the history of freelance was laughing at my stupidity.

  • The genesis of freelance is rooted to 10th Century 😱 ???
  • The medieval-age (5th-15th Century) soldiers offered their warrior services to different kings at wars in return of stipends, hence called *Stipendiaries* in Latin, also as *Condottiere* in English. These soldiers are the men who lost their own Kings in wars and therefore made their skills available for other kings. These soldiers chose their kings, those who paid them more could use their skills. Sounds similar?
  • Just for fun, I replaced *the king* with *employer\job* and soldiers with freelancers. Here we go —
    Freelancers who lost their own employers\jobs made their skills available for different employers\jobs.
  • A soldier chooses his king so does the *freelancer chooses his boss*.

The earliest written evidence for ‘freelance’ comes from Sir Walter Scott’s book *Ivanhoe* (1800), in which a lord refers to his paid army of ‘free lances’.

I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them — I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.

  • The noun *freelancer* a term new in origin is often used now to refer such people.
  • “ Freelance” is the ancient term but when someone says, *He’s a freelance* it sounds so modern. Isn’t it?

As I was reading the history of freelance in 19th century, I remembered this silly joke.
The teacher was ready to bombard my seven-year-old cousin with questions on scientific inventions but the teacher stopped with just first question, here is why?

Teacher: Who invented Telephone?
Cousin: HE
Maybe logically right. Graham Bell is a man, isn’t he?
Can be silly, but it really happened 20-years ago.

  • The credits of modern freelance goes to Jack Nilles and Frank Schiff in the 19 th century America. Terms *Telecommunication* and *Flexiplace* was coined by Nilles and Schiff respectively for freelance. This was possible only because of the invention of Telephone by Graham Bell in 1876. Nilles introduced work from home through telecommunication. Schiff supported Nilles’s idea and wrote an article in his support, *Working from home can save gasoline* probably because too much use of gasoline or fuels that people used in their vehicles to travel to and fro workplace thereby causing harm to the atmosphere worried him. His article gained every pair of eyes’ attention and soon freelancing came into limelight.
  • Today’s freelance globe revolves around the internet. Freelance has become e-lance. Agree?

Stepping in to real business —


I honestly confess, I wanted to freelance so I could earn American dollars sitting or even lying on the cozy couch in my Indian home.
As you can understand, Money was my only motive to freelance.

With only intention of
making money in mind,
Can I really succeed
in the (freelance) world?
My heart says, *NO WAY
This intention in your mind
Will lead your heart astray
This Intention
will kill your true passion…*

— Chirag

Now —
I see freelancing with different intentions.
I intend to extend the territory of my writing passion, and also earn not to only earn…
If I could elaborate on this, my passion is writing general and mental health articles, poetry and short fiction or non-fiction stories excluding erotica and romance, anything associated with promotions of gambling, cigarettes or alcohol or any tool or food beverage harmful for mankind. So, I wouldn’t compromise my interests and principles for money.
And yeah! I am not a techie-giant neither I have love for it so NO.

Now —
My intentions and the basic goals are set.


“The universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts — it gives you what you demand with your actions.”
― Steve Maraboli

Though had intention to startup freelancing yet had no idea how to proceed…

I sought help from a group of people who I haven’t met or may never meet yet I won’t call them strangers because we are united by a special bond — writing.

Yes!My fellow writers, who eventually turn to be friends in the blink of an eye.

Thanks to social Media
All I had to do is, post this —

Enlighten me, please!!!

I find, many on medium are also freelancing. I was curious to know about freelance jobs for earning from home is a wonderful idea(a lot tempting😋). I read many articles that talked about, how to, why to, pros and cons, guidance for beginners n for experts, etc. They give a lot of website links where you have to register (you had to pay for it) so that you will get notified if you are wanted. First of all, I didn’t want to register for money, because still I really don’t know, if I really want to freelance, because I believe, intention of making money alone may probably drain me soon.

I want to hear from people who actually freelance and who can genuinely advice me in this regard,anything even a tiny bit of advice or throw some light which would help me decide.

Thanks a lot in advance for your patience 😊 and humble responses.

Got the guidance in no time.
My sincere thanks to Amtul Jabeen, Dena Standley, Meg Stewart, gravity well (Rob Tomlin).

Two online sites were recommended in unison for an amateur beginner who can’t pay a penny to start-up freelancing career.


And a medium publication owned by Meg Stewart for further guidance —

Now —
I have my gigs available at Fiverr.com (Wonder what is gig? Checkout in the dictionary below)
Have registered at Upwork for freelancing opportunities.
In other terms, I am exploring these two free online freelance sites to choose my boss. Who is that lucky one?

Basic Requirements for registration —

  • E-mail ID
  • Phone Number

Starting up at Upwork was so easy and fast.
But Fiverr, takes time. In fact, Fiverr conducted a test containing forty multiple choice questions to evaluate my proficiency in English to complete the process.
I made three wrong answers, and out of ten points, my score was 9.2, making in the top 20%. Not bad while considering I am a non-native English speaker.

Very Important — These sites ask for your original photo

Now, Bring your ears
Close to my lips
I have a little secret to tell —
The photo on my profile there,
is not me but my grandmother…

This is my top secret. Hope none of my clients find that out. Don’t tell. Promise?

While setting up my profile or gigs and reading others’ gigs, I found many words that I had to constantly google to find its meaning. So decided to make notes of it.


  1. Advertorial
    A blend of two words, Advertise and Editorial. For simple understanding, it’s the combined skills of a copywriter and an article writer to sell a product or a service in story form.
    This is for business purpose not for publication. It appears in the newspaper or magazine’s advertising space\column.
  2. Article Writing
    It is the process of creating a non-fiction text about any topics — news\health\people\events\places\academic research…
  3. Bio
    A short self-description to convince the client that you are the right choice for his\her project. Better to keep it handy for each of the subject areas you are expertise in.
  4. Body
    This is the major content or text of your article. It is also used as the format or style of the text of a web page or an article.
  5. Byline
    Your name. Yeah! Yours. You can with pride write your name on the work you have authored for the online globe to see. If name is included at the top of the article\work, it is referred as byline. If included at the bottom of the page, it’s a tagline but not included at all if it’s a business piece.
  6. Caption
    Provide a brief description or give apt details for the photo provided.
  7. Charticle
    A short article with primarily images or graphics or charts with reduced text. It gives visual appeal.
  8. Clip
    Clip is your writing sample that you should include in your portfolio.
    This will give basic information to clients about your writing skills and style.
  9. Content Writing
    Client provides brief\task to content writers to work upon and produce content for Web marketing to sell or promote a specific product.The task may include SEO requirement and number of keywords.
  10. Copy
    It’s the words you write, common in business and journalistic writing.
  11. Copy writing
    Writing for the purpose of advertisements as in business and promotion or marketing.
  12. Creative Brief
    It is a brief document explaining the strategy for the given creative project — the do’s and don’ts or ins and outs about the project to the creative team or agency that works on it.
  13. Dek
    A Journalistic term referring to the summary that appears immediately after the headline, in smaller fonts. Similar to medium subtitle.
  14. Deliverable
    The final project that you are promising to deliver to the client. Before the work starts, it is important to make thorough discussion with client or agency to decide what you will be delivering at the completion of project.
  15. Hed
    Short form for Headline, used in newspaper and magazine.
  16. Hook
    Write hook for an article to draw the reader in like *breaking news hook*
  17. Kicker
    It is how you conclude the article. Interesting quotes or facts that would sum up the work.
  18. Lede
    The opening sentence or paragraph of news article, summarizing the important points of a story.
  19. LOI\Letter Of Introduction
    A letter or e-mail to the client to prove that you are the right choice and that you have done your homework researching about the company, understand their motive\motto and field of work.
  20. Nut graf or Nut graph
    Slang of editor\copywriter at newspapers and magazines.
    It is the term for a sentence or paragraph that provides the essence of the article without revealing every detail.
  21. OP-ED\Op-Ed
    A writer’s statement or viewpoint on an issue. In simple term, an opinion or a editorial piece.
  22. Sidebar
    Editor can ask for a short addition to the main article. A short article with additional information placed alongside the main article.
  23. Tagline
    When your name appears at the end of the article, also with a line or two about you(Author).
  24. Technical writing
    Writing about a technical or industry oriented subject in detail and with reliable accuracy. Purpose of technical piece is to instruct or explain with regard to the specific subject serving as expert source of information. Technical write-ups are based on solid research and need to be 100% accurate in conveying technical information/data.
  25. White Paper
    White paper informs the readers completely on one specific topic, allowing to understand an issue, also solve it and make a decision on own.
  • Data-centric — Huge amount of data and research involved
  • Heavy text business documents.
  • Formal tone

* Beyond Dictionary


  • Gig means, *The service that you offer* or *A sales pitch to get a client’s order*
  • Gig asks for details
    — You must give the title for the service you offer, so you can get an order.
    Example: *I write poetry* * I write mental health article* I create unique logo designs*
    — You can set the pricing for your gig
    Example: My gig, * I write mental health article* is sold at 5 $ for 500 words
    Number of days you will take to complete the work
    Example: My gig, * I write mental health article* is sold at 5 $ for 500 words and will be completed in 24 hours.
    — Your specific skills supporting your service offer
    Example: I provide articles *Thoroughly researched *Plagiarism free *With reference links and so on…
  • Gigs should be made in unique style, and SEO optimized to get more orders. I found almost all the clients demand for SEO optimized writing.

# SEO — Search Engine Optimization

I wondered what is SEO?

  • With little online digging and clanging, I think I have the basic understanding
  • Of course it’s not unique to Freelancing but many including medium or blog or website traffic.

Defintion 1 — SEO is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to website\blogs from the free\organic\editorial\natural search results on the search engine.
Defintion 2 — SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing the blog or website content so that it’s discovered through a search engine’s organic search results.
Traffic quantity is understood but Why traffic quality is important?
Google can invite all the google visitors in the world to your content and say, “Come, look at this content.”
But not unless your content attracts genuine visitors, you will succeed.
Once you get the right, genuine people who specifically come in search of your content because of the quality, then the number becomes more stable.
Organic results — Advertisements make up a significant portion of Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). But organic traffic is that you don’t have to pay for.
Search Engine: Consider search engine to be a online global library that contains all web pages unlike libraries with all books.
As you even begin to type your query or your need on the search box, the engine scans its complete index and brings out the best and relevant results.
This is done by a computer program called, *Algorithm*
If you need high organic traffic to your google based web pages, then learn and cater to Google’s algorithm and If you need large number of video views, then learn and cater to YouTube’s algorithm.

How will SEO help you optimizing your or the client’s content on search engine?
Well! I am not a techie. I answer in simple words with my little understanding through my online research —
SEO works as a demonstrator. It tells or instructs the search engine, “Hey! Come on, push this content (Smile now. It talks about Your content) to the top. THIS IS THE BEST IN HAND FOR THE USER.”

Benefits of SEO are clear — Free and passive traffic day after day helping to grow the website\blogs. To say, the content which had less than ten views could reach to hundreds and thousands in just a day or a week.
***THE END***

Wish me luck for my success in the freelance career.

If you are a budding freelancer, share your thoughts and experience.

If you are an expert freelancer, you can kindly share your experience, tips and tricks and the glossary terms of freelance to help and motivate beginners like me…

Photo by kevin Xue on Unsplash




A creative neuro-scientist, fascinated by the world of fiction and ageing neuroscience. Email @ Wordpottery@gmail.com