6 Biggest Freelance Proposal Mistakes You Can Make

25/12/2016 25 comments

As this blog is all about growing a freelance business, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about something that is so important for freelancers, but what many struggle with. So here are some freelance proposal mistakes you should keep an eye on. But if you manage to avoid making these blunders, your chances of signing a contract with great clients will vastly improve.

Some of these 6 freelance proposal mistakes you may not even be aware of. Sometimes, we are just doing things, believing them right and nobody ever tells us that they’re not. But years of experience as a freelance content writer and dozens upon dozens job proposals sent have taught me a valuable lesson or two. A lesson that I wish to share with you.

So let’s find out what freelance proposal mistakes you might be making and what you need to do differently.

You are Focusing on Yourself and Not on the Value You Will Provide in Your Freelance Proposal

Write a good freelance proposal

Okay, you have more than five years of experience as a content writer or copywriter, you know what SEO, SEM, affiliate marketing and other such stuff are and you tell that to a client, hoping his reaction will be: “wow, this guy is amazing!”. Except it usually isn’t.

You see, the client doesn’t really care about your experience and skills, but what kind of value can you offer to his business. What does the client get in return for working with you and entrusting you with his blog?

Instead of focusing on promoting yourself like you did until this point, and not really impress anyone, you need to change your approach. Start explaining to clients what results they can expect when using your services. It could be building their reputation, increasing their traffic, or something else. This is what they want to hear.

You Do Not Send Your Freelance Proposal on Time

If you wait too long, an opportunity will pass. That’s how a guy doesn’t get a girl and is also how a freelancer misses on a potentially good client. So be ready to pounce whenever an opportunity appears.

A survey from Bidsketch, that included 25,000 proposals has found that an average winning proposal gets to the client in 2.7 days. On the other hand, an average losing proposal takes 3.4 days to reach a client.

This may not seems like such a big difference to you, it’s just less than one day. But, in freelancing, sometimes every hour counts. If you’re on Upwork, you’d better send your proposals even faster. As the competition there never sleeps (literally since it’s all over the globe), you’re best chance of getting a gig is to send a proposal for it in the first hour since the client puts the job out there.

Imagine that you and your fellow freelancers are all physically waiting in front of the client’s office, with your CVs and resumes in hand. The line stretches some distance away from the client’s door. The further away you are, the less chance you have of shaking the client’s hand and getting that job.

Your Freelance Proposal is Not Easily Scannable

You won’t be the only one sending a proposal to the client. Dozens of other freelance writers will do the same. But will the client take the time to read all of these proposals people send to his email?

No, he will scan them instead and because of that, you need to make sure he can easily scan your proposal in 2-3 minutes. If it takes him any longer than that, there’s a good chance he will stop halfway through and move onto another freelancer.

In a way, writing a freelance proposal is no different from writing content for blogs. In both cases, you have to quickly grab and then hold the reader’s short attention. This is why you should immediately get to the point in your proposal and make it as easy as you can for the client to read it by making it scannable.

You are Making the Client do More, Not Less Work

Hiring you should be a simple process. You send the proposal, the client likes it and hires you. But if you’re sending your proposals on a wrong medium, then it’s not so easy to hire you and you need to stop doing that.

For instance, if you’re used to sending your proposals on a Word document, then you should know clients don’t like this. Why? Because it creates all these extra steps a client will have to go through to hire you. Upon receiving your proposal, he will have to print it, sign it, scan it and then send it back to you via email. Not the best way to do it.

Instead of using outdated methods, try using a proposal tool like Proposify. It’s easier for a client to look over, even on his mobile phone and sign a contract with you. You can use one of the many templates, customize your proposal easily and what’s more, Proposify even offers a free trial.

You do Not Tailor Your Freelance Proposal to Clients

Have you been using the same generic proposal for all clients? If you have, you need to stop doing that now and start tailoring your proposals for specific clients.

What does a generic proposal say about you? It says that you:

  • Haven’t read the proposal
  • Don’t know what the job is about
  • Won’t be able to offer your best work

Generic proposals won’t get you anywhere. They won’t “save” you time and they certainly won’t get you a job, so don’t do them Instead, take the time to carefully read the job and create a good proposal for it.

You do Not Follow-up on Your Freelance Proposal

So you wrote a proposal and sent it to the client. Now all you have to do is… wait? The problem is, for how long? It can take days, even weeks for a client to reply to you. Often they don’t reply at all and you are left eagerly waiting, checking your email every day, but there’s no RE: from that client.

It may look like you are being needy or pressuring the client, but it’s nothing like that. In fact, it is perfectly alright to send a quick follow-up if you haven’t heard from a client in 24-48 hours, just to make sure the client received your proposal.

By sending a follow-up on your proposal, you show the client you are really interested in this job and this can only improve your chances of getting it.

If you manage to stop making these 6 freelance proposal mistakes, your proposals will be much more interesting to the clients and you will stand a better chance of getting the job.

What other freelance proposal mistakes you can think of (or have made)? Share them in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share and follow my blog.