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Winning Proposals: Best Practices, Customized Templates, and Questions You Need to Answer

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
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As a freelancer, and particularly when it comes to online work, your proposal often carries the weight of making a good first impression on a potential client. If this initial introduction isn’t positive, it’s hard to be taken seriously.

Before you even start your cover letter, it’s important to find projects that match your skills and interests. When submitting a proposal, Lillian Travis of Upwork’s Community and Education Team suggests that you carefully read the work description and ask yourself questions like:


  • Can I perform the tasks that the client is asking for?
  • Does the project have a suitable budget?
  • Did the client fill out a complete and thoughtful job description?

Watch the video below for an overview of the process on Upwork, and get an overview of best practices in Submitting a Winning Proposal on Upwork.

Customizing your proposals is one of the top pieces of advice for freelancers, but how do you balance that with applying for multiple projects that will help your freelance business thrive?

In How to Create a Proposal that Wins Jobs, freelance copywriter Andreea-Lucia Mihalache shares some of the lessons she’s learned about creating winning proposals—including her process of using templates as a starting point for each tailored proposal.

By testing different details over many proposals, she’s found the basics that work for her; by incorporating them into one template, she can build each proposal from a foundation she feels confident about.

Each type of project calls for different details: A designer, engineer, and accountant will each use very different information to engage new clients.

“Put yourself in the client’s shoes… What is the first thing you look for in the bid?” Asks Zend-certified PHP developer Faraz Ahmed. In 5 Questions Your Web Development Proposal Should Answer, he shares five key questions he’s found clients look for that any development proposal should answer.