Freelancers, especially those who are new to the field, often struggle with finding work online. It’s not easy to connect with potential employers and build partnerships online when somebody is unfamiliar with your work or has to choose between you and dozens of other equally talented writers and creators.
Although platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer connect freelancers to businesses and individuals needing their services, there is no guarantee that you will find work right off the bat.
It can take several attempts and multiple proposals for different job offers before you even get shortlisted. But wouldn’t it be easier if you knew how to land that job and send a winning proposal that gets you noticed in no time?
That’s what we’re here to help you with. There’s no secret formula, just a lot of trial and error involved in the process, but you can always practice certain proposal-writing etiquettes that are bound to get you noticed.
Keep the following tips and recommendations in mind to create a more stellar job proposal when approaching clients on Upwork:
Read and fully understand the job proposal
This may seem pretty obvious but more often than not, you’d be surprised at how many people barely skim through postings rather than actually reading and understanding them fully. This puts you and the poster in a weird place because not only is there more room for miscommunication and misunderstanding, but it’s also harder to make sense of the assignment.
Often, employers will hide keywords, passwords, and hidden questions in their job postings to filter out candidates who don’t pay attention. It’s tempting to put yourself out there and apply for everything that comes your way, but if you’re not familiar with a particular industry, be very careful when approaching a client.
Before sending through a generic proposal, read everything from the duration, to the payment plan, to every detail mentioned along the way, and then move on to the next step.
Communicate that you’ve read what the client has said
This just means you should acknowledge their posting, summarize what they’ve asked for, and reiterate that you’ve understood it fully and that you wish to work on it.
Communication is the key to any successful professional relationship, and this is no different. Through your correspondence, you should be able to convey a few different things, including:
- You are qualified and capable of working on their project because you understand it, you’re willing to research and put in the time and effort it takes to work on their project. It’s not just about being able to handle projects like theirs, but their specific project which is specific and unique to them.
- Let them know that you are not only available and willing to work on their task, but you’re actively interested and excited. It doesn’t matter if you’re not really, but making them think wins you brownie points that will boost your ranking among other proposals. Little things like sharing specific projects, discussing ideas, and sharing a game plan for the task will all make you a better choice.
- Express vested interest in their project and their work in general. It doesn’t matter if you only see it as a task—as a freelancer that’s almost unavoidable—but to them, you need to seem like you’re genuinely interested. Of course, that by no way means you need to pretend you’re obsessed with their company and their work, but they do need to believe that you’re here to help them grow, succeed, and achieve their purpose and goals.
When clients are shortlisting candidates, they’re not just looking for technical skills or experience alone. They look for the whole package, and if you convince them that you’re someone who’ll help them achieve what they’ve set out to do.
Be prepared to share similar work and projects
Don’t tell them to just look at your profile, or send them a link to your portfolio. A lot of people make that mistake because it’s easier, saves time, and it’s there for a reason, right? While it’s great to have an active portfolio and a body of work ready for viewing, it’s even better if you attach files and samples to your portfolio. Clients almost always appreciate feeling like they’re receiving a more personalized approach and proposal, and so, sharing those samples and referring to similar work and projects. It’s not worth losing a potential client just to save a few minutes.
Stay original, to the point, and be unique in your approach
With all that in mind, it’s also important to stay original, be to the point and as direct as you can be, yet stay unique. Popular, or high-stakes job postings especially by clients with an extensive history of hiring people through Upwork, tend to have dozens of proposals on average.
The last thing you want to do is be generic, overdo the fluff, or seem like you’re trying way too hard. Instead, be upfront about your expertise, why you’re a good fit for the role, and offer them something unique such as a recommendation, a tip, or an idea.
Once you start communicating with them, you can talk to them in more depth and hash out any ideas, discuss confusions and queries, and go over the details of your work. You can move on from text or chat-based conversations to phone calls and virtual meetings too if need be.
Remember that patience is key and you shouldn’t rush through proposals, especially if it comes at the cost of thousands of dollars of income each year. Work to improve the quality of your proposals, communicate with your clients clearly, and be patient with their queries and concerns along the way. Also when a client does approach you, be sure to respond to messages within the first twelve hours to keep them interested. They’re probably shortlisting multiple freelancers alongside you, so the more connected they feel to you, the better.