Freelancing 101: 10 Ways To Create A Proposal That Will Land New Business

These 10 tips will make your proposals more effective so you can get the most out of your freelancing business.

Photo: Paxton Gray, Digital Marketer at 97th Floor; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Paxton Gray, Digital Marketer at 97th Floor; Source: Courtesy Photo

Most freelancers have no problem coming up with proposal topics and sales material for their prospective buyers. The problem is getting the most out of their freelancing material by attaining steady sales and assignments.

Here are ten tips to use to make your proposals more effective so that you can get the most out of your freelancing business.


1. A Clear Overview

Your prospective buyer is probably getting a lot of proposals from companies other than yourself. For that reason, they may not be able to read everything they receive, and therefore will pick and choose what to devote their time to. A well-written overview of your proposal will get you past that first hurdle of getting them to give your work the serious in-depth look it deserves.

2. What’s in it For Them?

Many freelancers make the mistake of focusing on what they want instead of what the prospect does. Always highlight whatever benefits you can provide for them. After all, they are not running a business for the benefit of freelancers; what they want to know is how a freelancer can meet their needs.

3. Don’t be Generic

Whenever contacting more than one prospect, always tailor the introduction and summary of your proposal to the specific needs of each individual prospect. Sending out the same boilerplate language to each prospect gives the impression that you really haven’t considered their individual business needs. Add something to each proposal that is uniquely geared to that prospect.

4. Be Enthusiastic

No one is impressed by bland, passive language. If you want your prospects to get excited about what you have to offer, then you better sound excited yourself. After all, if you can’t generate enthusiasm over your own work, then don’t expect anyone else to.

5. Appearance Matters

People don’t like reading large blocks of text. Making your work easily scannable and divided into easy to absorb lists and bullet points makes your work better for SEO marketing and therefore more likely to be read.

6. Be Topical

Most prospects are looking for material that others in the field do not yet have. Therefore, time sensitive sales material about something currently trending is more likely to draw a fast and positive response than material that they could use any time.

7. Be Neither Vague Nor Wordy

When pitching a project to a prospect, it is important not to be too vague by not including enough details and specific examples. At the same time, you don’t want to go on for too long in too detailed a manner, lest you seem boring. Strike a balance by telling what needs to be said, but without over explaining.

8. Always Ask

A politician was once shocked to discover that his own mother didn’t go to the polls to vote for him. When he asked why he didn’t receive her vote, she replied, “You never asked for it.” Always include a direct request for the prospect’s business somewhere in your proposal. Not to do so shows lack of confidence and may be misinterpreted as indifference.

9. Be Quick About it

The worst enemy of success is hesitation. Many a great proposal dies an untimely death, not because it was a bad proposal, but because it never came to fruition. Act on your ideas while they are fresh and your inspiration is hot. Too much delay and your idea may fade or somebody else may do it first.

10. Always Follow Up

Your work is not done just because you’ve mailed the proposal. An email or other small notice should always be sent a few days afterwards, just as a polite nudge to remind them of what you’ve sent. It’s a nice touch that potential prospects will always appreciate.


Since every freelance project and prospect is unique, there is no magic formula that works in every instance to sell your material or get your project approved. However, if you use these ten tips, your chances of success will be much enhanced.


Paxton Gray is a premier digital marketer with 5 years of experience specializing in strategic planning, social media management, SEO and content marketing. Paxton currently leads a team of digital marketers in charge of SEO, social media and content marketing at 97th Floor, a full service digital marketing agency. Paxton is from Las Vegas, NV, and currently resides in Draper, UT with his beautiful wife. Connect with @paxtonmgray on Twitter.


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