How to Write a Winning Freelance Proposal

If you want to land a freelance job, you need to write a strong proposal that convinces a client you have the skills and experience they’re looking for.

Writing a freelance proposal is relatively easy. What’s difficult is creating one that actually wins you the job.

A job post on platforms such as Work for Impact can attract 20 or more applications. With so much competition, how do you make yours stand out?

Here are seven tips:

1. Identify Your Strengths

If you’re wondering how to write a freelance proposal, start by determining what your strengths are. You can then use this information to find a project or cause that resonates with you.

freelance proposal
The blank page can be intimidating. If you don’t know how to start, begin by determining your strengths. Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels.

For example, if you have a teaching background, you may write blogs or marketing copy for education-related teams.

Knowing what your skills are will help you identify jobs that you’d be a good fit for, giving your proposal a better chance of being accepted. It will also make it easier to sell yourself to potential clients.

2. Read the Job Description Carefully

This can’t be emphasized enough: Follow instructions and make sure you meet the requirements before you even begin to draft your freelance proposal.

Otherwise, clients will reject it from the get-go. Worse, they may second-guess your future proposals even if you did everything right the first time.

Sometimes the description sounds incomplete or difficult to understand, so feel free to ask questions. Most clients will appreciate this since it means you’re paying attention to the details.

Then, when you write your freelance proposal, match your list of skills, experience, and expertise to their requirements.

3. Create a Freelance Proposal Template

This section may be the most important on the list, and for good reason: This will be your best weapon when writing proposals for a large number of different jobs.

What’s a freelance proposal template? It’s an outline that you can modify or edit according to the demands or requirements of the client.

Keep in mind the keyword here: Edit. Some freelancers make the crucial mistake of submitting a generic template to a client.

Many of these organizations have been around for years. They also receive a lot of proposals daily and can spot a template when they see one.

Not editing your freelance proposal template will immediately give the wrong impression. It can be even worse if it contains another organization’s name and information.

How do you create a winning freelance proposal with a template? Usually, it includes the following parts:

  • Your name (or your business)
  • Contact information
  • Overview of the expected outcomes based on your process and expertise
  • Work sample
  • The delivery date of the proposal
  • The step-by-step process you’ll use to complete the project
  • The expected completion date of the project
  • Information about you (e.g., work experience, expertise, skills)
  • Fee summary
  • Terms and conditions

As you can see, the overview of the expected outcomes comes first before information about you. This is because it’s a combination of all the other proceeding elements of the proposal.

It also answers the most critical question: What can you do for the client?

Work samples are also before the process flow as they support your intended outcomes and give the client an idea about your skills and expertise.

The fee summary is near the end since your proposal should focus more on your value than on the price. Note, however, that if the client sets a budget, strive hard to stick to it.

How many freelance proposal templates should you create? It depends, but three or more are recommended. You can make one for every niche or expertise you have.

Don’t forget to test these templates as well and figure out which one generates the most replies. This will be the freelance proposal you may want to use often.

4. Study the Client

No matter what type of freelance position you’re applying for, your proposal should always reflect the client. In order to do this, you need to dig deeper into the organization.

freelance proposal
By researching potential clients before writing your proposal you’ll gain more insight into their unique needs. Photo by Ree from Pexels.

Find out the following:

  • Who are they?
  • What’s their mission?
  • What are their work ethics, and how do they value their employees?
  • What kinds of problems are they trying to solve?
  • Who is their audience?
  • What’s their brand?
  • How do you fit in?

Use these questions to draft a proposal that speaks clearly to your client.

5. Keep it Short and Concise

As mentioned, clients receive a lot of proposals regularly. They don’t have the time to read everything. The moment they see a long proposal, they’ll likely skip it.

Reduce the word count by using forceful verbs or removing unnecessary words. “Very responsible” is no different from “responsible.”

Write in short paragraphs with two to three sentences. Don’t forget to include well-spaced and properly labelled sections. Creating breaks will make the text more accessible and more comfortable to read.

6. Use a Business-Like Tone

Your client won’t see or get to know you more until they decide to take your application to the next level. Therefore, you only have one chance to let them know you’re a professional freelancer through and through.

How do you do that? Be business-like in your freelance proposal. Ditch the “Hey, Joe” for now and use “Dear, Joe” instead. You can reserve the former once you’re part of the team.

It also helps to pepper your proposal with industry-related keywords. Just make sure they’re relevant to the job and that you have a solid understanding of how to use them.

7. Review Your Proposal Before Submitting It

Just because you think you have an awesome freelance proposal template doesn’t mean it’s error-free. Double-check the following:

  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization
  • Layout and design
  • Order and style of the headings and subheadings
  • Facts such as dates, names, figures, and claims
  • Links (make sure they’re working)
  • Tone
  • Job description and requirements

Conclusion

Learning how to write a compelling proposal is one of the best ways to increase the number of freelance jobs you’re hired for. If you implement the tips above, your proposals will have a much better chance of getting noticed, which will lead to more responses and interview requests.

Find Meaningful Freelance Projects

Work for Impact is a freelance platform that connects skilled freelancers with socially, environmentally responsible and nonprofit organizations. If you’re interested in discovering exciting new work opportunities, click here.

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