How To Write Winning Proposals On UpWork

In this post I’m going to show you how you can write winning job proposals on Upwork, and my three step process that I use to win over clients!

The best advice I can give right off the bat is, keep proposals short and to the point. Do not waste the client’s time. The way I structure proposals is in three main parts, the first part is the introduction. 

#1. Introduction

This is where you want to briefly say who you are, and how you think you can help them.

Keep it conversational – Try to make your intro and proposal conversational and informal. Try not to start off the proposal with something like “To Whom It May Concern”, or something formal like that. You’ll come across as robotic and distant. Imagine you’re sitting with the client in a coffee shop or some public place and you’re chatting with them in a friendly way. You’re going to say Hey! Or How’s it going? When you first meet them, it’s great to start off a proposal with that kind of greeting. 

Use the client’s first name (If you can find it) – A great tip is to look for the client’s job description, and their feedback from past freelancers. Many times, past reviews will start off with the client’s first name. For example you’ll see testimonials like, “It was a pleasure working with Chris!” Or “Chris was an absolute pleasure to work with!” People subconsciously love being called by their name, because it creates a personal connection. To a client, it means you took the extra step to learn their name, and do a bit more research into their project.

The second part of the proposal is where you become the guide.

#2. Make Yourself The Guide (And Make the client the hero)

In this section you can go into detail about how you think you can solve the client’s issues. However, the first thing you want to do in this section is to show some of your work. You don’t want to take too long to get into the details about how you can help a client without showing examples. 

Post work samples, but keep it to just three – You don’t want to bombard a client with 100 samples they need to look through, pick your best three and paste the links. Make sure your samples are direct links to the work. DON’T just link to your website or portfolio page hoping the client will take the time to browse through it because I can tell you right now they won’t. The more difficult you make it for a client to view your work samples, the less likely it is they’ll want to work with you.

Next, you can back up your samples by only talking about past experiences that are relevant to the client’s projects. A crucial tip here is that you should try and make the client the hero. What do I mean by that? Don’t drone on and on about your life story and how much experience you have. That will bore client’s to death, and they’ll stop reading your proposal and move on to the next. Instead, try to frame your work experience around how you can best serve their project’s needs. Talk about how your skills can benefit them. Be sure to position yourself as someone who is helping the hero get the job done, you want to be the guide along their path to success. Basically be like the Yoda to their Luke Skywalker or the Gandolf to their Frodo Baggins. Also, be sure to ask them questions! Client’s want to know that you’re invested in making their project become a reality as much as they are. A sure fire way to do that, is to ask really thoughtful questions about their project.

The next part is the call to action. This is the wrap up part where you can make your final pitch, and emphasize how a client can contact you.


#3. Call to Action

To end your proposal you’ll need a strong call to action, to prompt the client to contact you. Remember, even though you may be familiar with Upwork and how messaging works on the platform, clients may not. So make it very clear of how to get a hold of you, and let them know what your availability is for a quick chat on Skype or in another way. Client’s are more than likely reading dozens of other proposals and don’t have a lot of time to waste. So the easier it is for them to know how to get in touch with you the better your chances are. 

Additional Questions:

Some proposals may have additional questions that the client has filled out, and they want you to answer as part of the proposal. A good tip to know is that the client’s actually read the additional questions parts first, before they see your cover letter. So in this case, your best bet is to take advantage of that fact because the majority of the other freelancer’s who are applying to the gig won’t realize this. That means you should try to put as much thought and energy into answering each of the client’s add on questions as you would with the cover letter. This is also a great place to post relevant samples of work that might help answer the client’s question. Remember, you don’t have to write long epic replies to each question. You can keep it short and sweet, but really try to answer each question thoughtfully as these additional questions are actually your first impression with a client.

BONUS TIP: Do Not Use Templates!

This next tip is very important, please DO NOT use cover letter or proposal templates. I was very guilty of this when I first started out writing proposals. I adopted the “spray and pray” strategy. Which basically meant that I created one template proposal that I would just change slightly for each job posting. Then I’d bid on anything that remotely came close to a video editing job because that’s my creative field. I hoped that at least one or two client’s would contact me. I’ll tell you right now, do not do this. You’re wasting your time, and client’s can tell immediately when they read your proposal that it’s just a template and it comes across as spam.

Client’s will appreciate that you didn’t waste their time, that you were straight to the point, and the samples you provided were easy to open and review. Little things like this send a huge message to a prospective client that you’re not just professional, but you’re also great to work with.
So those are some tips for writing proposals on UpWork. Is there a part of proposal writing that you struggle with? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see if I can help!

For more information and videos on Freelancing Tips, tutorials on Premiere Pro and Photoshop please visit my YouTube channel. Also, check out my other videos on Freelancing which I’ve posted on the right side of the screen here. Alright, that’s it for me guys see you in the next video!


Author: All Sports History

Hey there! I make tutorials on Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and videos on tips & tricks for Freelancing as a creative pro.

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