How to Write an Upwork Proposal That Wins Jobs
There are thousands of articles online about the freelance project proposals.
You can collect them all in a series of books — how to write a winning proposal, what to include or not, including the best templates, etc. Everything you’ve always wanted to know about and use in your project proposal is waiting for you out there in the cyber freelance space.
Then, how come the overwhelming majority of freelancers fails to do it right? One of the very likely reasons could be the fact that people who haven’t spent five minutes working as freelancers are giving the “life-changing” tips for freelancers in their articles. Also, there are so many copy/paste articles that are just rewritten more or less successfully. So, you end up with the same old tips presented in a new way.
A genuine article about the freelance project proposals with the first-hand real-freelance-life experiences and recommendations is hard to find.
My portfolio has more than a thousand projects, which means that I’ve submitted tens of thousands of proposals during my professional freelance career.
I’m not saying that I’ve seen, done, and I know it all. The best thing you could possibly do is to avoid making the same mistakes I did when I used to write and submit my project proposals.
So, without further ado, let’s write something about the project proposals between myth and reality that may help freelancers to win new jobs.
Don’t Expect That A Project Proposal Will Do All The Work For You
Your project proposal is merely an invitation. Nothing more than the first step on your journey of winning a job. Many freelancers expect that a proposal will bring them work all by itself. There’s no proposal in the world, no matter how good it may be, that’s going to knock your potential client off his feet.
Your proposal is supposed to create an opportunity to present yourself and your work, not to win you a project. That’s the only right approach.
Don’t fool yourself that your project proposal is going to be perfect and irresistible to your clients. Your project is the first page of your freelance struggle to win a project, not the last one. So, treat it as such.
The Quickest Way To A Freelancer’s Regret Is A Boilerplate
Every single project proposal you write and send out there should be unique and a story for itself. It is understandable that the bidding process is the most time-consuming and annoying activity for every freelancer. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it.
Either you write a unique and fully personalized project proposal or don’t write it all.
I used to think that it was a smart thing to have a couple of pre-made proposals for a handful of the most typical project types. A copy/paste proposals, even with some modifications and adjustments, is simply doomed to fail. That’s the perfect waste of your time. It’s better to write one totally genuine and personalized freelance project proposal than a dozen more or less identical proposals.
Make It Personal With Your Project Proposal From The Moment One
First things first, always look up for the names in a project’s description. There’s no better way to begin your proposal than by directly addressing a person who has posted this project. You are allowed to do a bit of research if a client hasn’t left his name at the end of the description. You can Google the company or website if available. This is the most crucial moment when a client gets a confirmation that your cover letter isn’t the spam.
If this isn’t the case and you can’t find a single piece of personal information about your potential client, then present yourself the right way. You have to convince your client that you’re the real person.
Hit The Right Targets With Your Project Proposal
The clients always leave some indication of what they expect you to do. So, address all of the points precisely and thoroughly. Make sure you include them all in your proposal. Convince your client that you are going to do all the tasks from A to Z.
Very often the clients leave a “secret” keyword somewhere in the project description. They want to make sure you read the whole description more than once. That’s why they want you to use this keyword in your proposal. These clients mean business, so don’t miss this opportunity to convince them you’re the right freelancer for their project.
It Is Never Too Early To Start A Discussion About Your Price and A Project’s Time Frame
This approach is a bit of a gamble. Some clients appreciate a direct straight to the point project proposal. You explain what you are going to do and how. Then, you include your price and a required time estimate. The good thing is that you will show an initiative and save a great deal of time for both yourself and your client. If your price is out of your potential client’s budget limits then you won’t have to bother with this one.
Always Attach Your Best Examples
Don’t just invite your potential client to check out your profile and portfolio. Instead, you should attach the most relevant examples and invite a client to examine your portfolio with additional samples.
The Art of Writing Project Proposals Is Something You Never Master
Even the most experienced and successful freelancers should constantly improve their art of writing project proposals. There’s always something you can do better. So, don’t become a self-proclaimed freelance project proposal guru. Every single project proposal you submit should be a small work of art unique in its own way. Remember:
The excellent proposal is what makes a difference between successful and struggling freelancers.
Originally published as an answer on Quora.