How to Write a Proposal and Win Your Next Job

Every freelancer must know how to write a proposal. The proposal is your actual sales pitch to clients. It is your offer to the specific requirements being asked for, detailing all the products and services you will provide for the rate you are charging. It may also include timelines, terms and conditions, and a little overview of your business.

You might think that sending your rates through messaging apps, SMS, or via a phone call is enough. No, it is definitely not enough. While that may be acceptable to some clients, sending a professional proposal is still better. Remember, freelancing is a business in itself. And it is a good practice to always be professional in every aspect of your business. Plus, it can make a good impression on clients which may be the ticket to winning that bid.

How to Write a Proposal

laptop, notepad with pen, iPhone on a table

One of the perks of being a freelancer is that you control every decision in your business. Well, of course. Because you are the boss. You decide on what to include in your proposal and how much to charge for it. No more asking for approvals or waiting for signatures. And this fact makes writing your proposal a walk in the park.

Parts of a Proposal

In learning how to write a proposal, you must first know the elements needed in one. This will make your proposal look professional and official.

1. Title

Make sure that the word “Proposal” is written in big, bold letters on the topmost part of your document. Do this so your client can easily identify that this is a proposal.

2. Proposal Date

The proposal date may also be labeled as “Date Issued.”

Let’s be clear; the proposal date is the date you are issuing the proposal, not the date you started preparing it. For example, you started drafting your proposal on January 1 but were not able to finish it. You completed it and will send it on January 2. The date that must reflect on the proposal date should then be January 2. The proposal date must reflect the exact date you send it because it will have an effect on your validity timeline. For instance, you are only giving your client three days to sign the proposal. If you sent it at a later date, say, January 2, but your proposal date is January 1, your client will then have one less day to process your offer. It is not fair. So, make sure to check your dates before sending your proposal.

3. Validity Date

The validity date signifies the final date you are giving your client to sign or accept the proposal. It is like a due date. This means if you haven’t received a signed proposal or any feedback from your potential client on this date, the proposal no longer stands.

You must put a validity date to your proposals to prevent clients from taking too much time to decide whether to sign or not. As a freelancer, you cannot wait on a client for too long. You must know when to move on to another lead. n addition, if you are providing a product or service that requires materials with fluctuating costs (like fuel), your estimated cost might be affected if you wait too long for a reply.

calendar with a date encircled

4. Your Business Name

If you are not using letterhead, you have to include your business name (if you have one), your name, and your address. You can add your contact numbers and email address too. This is so your clients will know how to contact you if they have any concerns regarding the proposal.

5. Client’s Details

It is essential that you write the full name, business name (if they have one), and address of your client. This personalizes the proposal, which shows that you have tailored the proposal for them.

Pro Tip: Make sure you write the correct title (Mr., Engineer, President, etc.), name, and address of your potential client. Getting your potential client’s name wrong is a big turn-off.

6. Project Title

This is an important element in a proposal. You have to be clear on what project the proposal is for. Your potential client may be handling several projects, and you don’t want them guessing which project this proposal is for. This is also where your entire proposal will be anchored on. Because this is the project or gig that you are bidding for.

Project titles must be simple. Here are some samples:

  • Basic Photography Package
  • Life Coaching Session 1 Proposal
  • Web Design Project

7. Overview

Treat the overview as your cover letter. This is where you introduce your business. You may mention your specialties, and previous projects and, basically, define your strengths. e careful not to oversell yourself or sound like you are begging to be considered for the job!

Kosmo proposal overview sample

8. Timeline

The timeline will show your client how you propose to run the course of the project. You can include specific dates and tasks and add estimated deadlines. Make sure that the timeline you propose is reasonable and workable for you. If you are currently doing a different project or managing multiple clients, make sure to check your time management matrix. This is to avoid committing to a task that, in reality, is not achievable for you.

9. Cost of the Offer

Depending on your price schemes, there are several ways to specify the cost of your project. Decide whether you will use a project fee or an hourly rate pricing scheme. You may also have packages that you wish to offer. It would be better if you could include short descriptions of each item, so the quotation is clear to the client.

It is important that you include all incidentals, revisions, taxes, and discounts (if applicable). Remember, whatever total cost you indicate in the proposal is final. Amending costs after the signing of the proposal is greatly discouraged. This will create suspicion and distrust.

10. Terms and Conditions

Learning how to write a proposal means understanding that it is important to set your potential client’s expectations with your terms and conditions as early as the proposal stage. You may indicate methods of communication and delivery, payment terms, and payment processing platforms you intend to use.

11. Signatures

To make your proposal final and valid, both parties must sign it. You, of course, must sign it before sending it out. Make sure you have an electronic signature to make things easier. Don’t worry, there are lots of free online signature creators for you to use. If you are considering using online proposal software, a signature box for clients may be added as a field on your template so they can easily place their digital signature.

Kosmo proposal signature fieldsample

Tips for Proposal Writing

Now that you know the important elements of a proposal, here are some tips to help you write a professional proposal that can win your next job:

• Branding

Do not send out a proposal written on a plain piece of white paper. Brand your document. Add your logo and a banner using a color palette that matches your logo. This will make your proposal stand out and easy to recognize. Keep in mind that you are a professional running your own business, so as much as possible, you have to put branding in all your documents.

• Use Online Proposal Tools

You don’t need to create a proposal from scratch. Many business management platforms have proposal templates that are actually very easy to use. One platform that is perfect for this is Kosmo. Kosmo is an all-in-one project management software. You don’t only get to create a customized proposal, but you can continue managing the progress of the project with its many features like contract and invoice templates, task management, time-tracking, and client CRM.

Kosmo joining page

Kosmo’s proposal templates have all the elements needed for creating a professional proposal. You can add your logo and edit the banner to match your brand’s color scheme. The platform will already compute the total amount of the items you listed, so you don’t need to do it yourself. This means you can be assured that there are no errors in the computations. Signature fields for your and your client’s signatures are also provided. Now, isn’t that convenient?

• Always Check for Typos

Always, always make sure that you are sending an error-free proposal. Remember, this is the very first official document your potential client will receive from you. So, it must impress them right away. You must leave a good impression so they will remember you. If you send a proposal with typos, this will convey that you are sloppy and careless. And you will lose the client.

Conclusion

As a freelancer, knowing the secrets of writing a proposal that closes the deal is like holding on to a golden ticket with unlimited use. Getting the job is dependent on how well you present your offer through your proposal. Fortunately, online proposal software are available for you to use.

Kosmo sample proposal

The challenge now is in writing compelling project overviews and selling your skills and talents without being conceited. Just remember to write in a friendly and approachable tone, so clients will know that you are open to listening and considering their concerns. Knowing how to write a proposal is definitely a skill a freelancer like you should have and master.

Get Organized & Win More Clients

Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.

Post written by:

Kosmo is a free All-In-One Workspace for Freelancers.

Creative Freelance Marketing Tips You Should Try

As a freelancer, you need all the freelance marketing tips you can get. After all, a good and creative marketing strategy is your golden ticket to landing more clients and projects.

You may find it unnecessary to create a marketing plan. In fact, some freelancers do not even explore this essential element in their business. And that is a big mistake. Really, you must think about your marketing strategies seriously. Because marketing, simply put, is your strategy for selling your products or services. It is your game plan.

Importance of a Marketing Strategy

An excellent and well-implemented marketing plan is your key to standing out from the rest of your freelance competitors. At this point where the gig economy is constantly growing, and the number of contingent workers (freelancers, independent contractors, consultants) is expected to keep on increasing, you need to have a plan of action so you will not get left behind.

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of freelancers offering the same talents and skills as you. Put yourself in the client’s shoes; how are you going to pick the right freelancer to hire? What will make you click that profile to further check on that candidate’s offerings?

This is what a marketing strategy is for. To get a potential client to notice you, check on your profile or portfolio, and be interested enough to make an inquiry (or be hired right away). And remember, you will be offering almost the exact same services as the others, so you must think of ways to attract them at face value (to make them stop scrolling and check out your profile) and win them (with your attractive offers).

Freelance Marketing Tips

Now that you know how important marketing is, it is time to develop your marketing plan. Don’t worry; you don’t need a marketing specialist or a whole team to do this. As a freelancer who does everything singlehandedly, there are simple yet effective ways to market your business. And yes, you can do it. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Have a scroll-stopping profile picture

The most effective selling platforms are online job sites. Online job sites or job boards have pools of active clients looking for talent. But, the downside of job sites is that hundreds of freelancers are also posting their availability. So how can you make sure you get noticed? Have a scroll-stopping profile picture! Make sure that, first and foremost, your picture is not blurred or cropped awkwardly. Clients will quickly conclude that you are careless and unreliable if something as simple as a profile picture is not done well.

Remember, most clients will look at your face first, even before any other details in your profile. So, make sure to use a high-resolution photo. And please, do not use a photo that looks like a copy of your passport picture! Instead, have multiple options, view each of them, and see which one will catch the viewer’s eye the most.

collage of profile pictures

It is also important to match your photo with your profession. If you offer services requiring serious data protection like bookkeeping or legal advice, do not use a photo that looks like you are going to a rave party. For the same reason, if you are in the creative industry, do not use a photo that makes you look like you lack creative luster.

Think of it like this, in a magazine rack, people will most likely pick up the one with the catchy photos, regardless of what articles are written inside.

2. Have a killer portfolio

Keep in mind that clients may not contact you immediately to make an inquiry. They will most probably do some vetting first, and that means reviewing your portfolio (or resume). At his instant, your portfolio will speak about you and your business. So, make sure to have a killer portfolio that can sell your business.

In creating your portfolio, remember to showcase your best works. Highlight your main projects, especially big ones. If you have completed a huge project for a known client, it will signify that you are a reliable and competent business. If you are just starting and do not have much to flex yet, do some sample works to add to your portfolio.

There are many designer tools you can use in making a portfolio. You can use graphic design platforms like Canva and Adobe Express. Publish your portfolio on your website and social media pages. This way, you can easily send the links to quickly access your works. You can also have a hardcopy (printed out) portfolio ready for elevator pitches.

Pro tip: If you can make your digital portfolio interactive and participative, then that would be better! It would be a fun and totally engaging experience for potential clients.

3. Make a demo reel

To make things more interesting, create a demo reel. This is probably one of the most fun things to do in all freelance marketing tips. Make a teaser of your works, your business, and who you are. Make it striking. Flashy. Speedy. Impactful. It doesn’t have to be long. In fact, your teaser video should be just long enough to spark interest in your viewers. The goal of your reel is to drive the viewers to visit your website and other online pages and profile and check out your works and your business. Make them curious about you. Make them want to know more.

Nowadays, people are more inclined to click on videos. Visual images speak more than texts. So, it is only wise that you have a video (or series of videos) to complement and support your official portfolio.

woman making a vlog

Alongside demo reels, you can also publish vlogs. You can discuss relevant topics and news about your industry in your vlog. Or, you can make behind-the-scene videos. This way, potential clients can see how you work and your work ethic.

4. Irresistible Packages

Here’s another thing to consider. One of the many freelance marketing tips is having packages as part of your pricing scheme. Clients are more drawn to businesses that have irresistible offers. They will always want more value for their money. So, instead of selling your products or services conservatively, offer them packages that they will not be able to resist.

Create a rate card and post them on your website, social media pages, and job board profiles. Some clients will want to see your rates right away.

5. Hype on Social Media

Creating a professional social media page is not uncommon. Social media platforms are bursting with online businesses and freelancers’ professional pages. It is important to realize though, that having a professional social media page alone is not enough. To make this platform very effective, you have to maximize its advantages. Create a mystery story. Or post teasers. In other words, create hype. Make some noise. It will be so easy to do this because the platforms are user-friendly and, of course, free. Plus, you can do your campaigns on the go because you can effortlessly post using your smartphone or tablet.

Make the viewers wonder what the page is all about. For example, you can post ciphers and puzzles where people must wait for the codes to be revealed on another day. The cipher or puzzle may reveal a code they can use to get a discount or a unique one-time package for your service or product. In the days between the ciphers or puzzles post and the reveal of the codes, you can then post your sample works or demo reels. This way, people become more aware of your business while engaging in your page, awaiting the codes!

man figuring out a cipher using magnifying glass

Time to Plan!

Now that you have some doable and creative marketing tips, it is time to get your pen and paper and start drawing up your own marketing plan. In drafting your strategy, remember that it should represent your brand. Choose the right vibes. If it makes you smile, then it probably is the right plan for you.

Don’t worry; there are no right or wrong actions in this field. This is not a difficult task. Online tools are available to help you achieve your plans. And most of them are free to use or have free trial periods. Just stay on track, know your goals (sell, sell, sell), and remember these freelance marketing tips!

Get Organized & Win More Clients

Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.

Post written by:

Kosmo is a free All-In-One Workspace for Freelancers.