5 Steps to Writing an Amazing Freelance Proposal (including Free Downloadable Template)

We provide you with great project leads, but whether you’re new to the game of freelancing or a long time experienced expert closing that lead and showing them you’re the best fit for the project is always a challenge.

Crafting an awesome freelance proposal that can show your skills and out gun your competitors is vital to winning projects and increasing your earnings as a freelancer.

If perfected, an awesome proposal will make leads want you for that next project. (Maybe even more than you want them!)

To get you started, we are giving away our AMAZING proven freelance proposal template for FREE.


Amazing Freelance Proposal Template (PDF + Word)

Putting the format of the proposal aside. When it comes to the proposal you should be aiming to put together an amazing freelance proposal that’s main purpose is to provide real solutions for your lead (and soon to be client), not one that advertises your services. This is not a menu, its an actionable proposal.

Before you even start writing your proposal you should have a crystal clear understanding as to why you are the perfect freelancer for the job. This will require you understand the project, the specifications, the skills requires, the needs of your lead and just how well you “fit” in to the role the project requires. Ask yourself, can you deliver the most value to this lead? If the answer is yes, then you are perfect for the project! By the time you hit “Send” of the proposal, your task is to understand the needs of the lead inside out!

Just think, more and more people are freelancing now. Its an attractive lifestyle to many. (Last year freelancers in the UK increased by 36%). With that in mind, your proposal needs to be amazing and sell your services perfectly to help you win new clients!

Luckily we are here to help! Freelance Leads provides you with amazing project leads. We send you curated project leads specifically tailored to your skill-set. All you have to do is contact them!  Why not get involved with our upcoming Beta test?

Bearing all this in mind, using our years of experience here are 5 proven steps to creating the most amazing freelance proposal you’re capable of!

1. Enter the arena like you mean it.

The gates open, how do you want to be perceived? You need to stand out! What makes you different? What are you doing to make them go, Wow! Is your email any different to the rest they have received that day for this project?

An impressive opening that intrigues, shows you know this project inside out, delivers actual content (not just copy and pasted words) and delivers real value is what will immediately interest this lead in you. If you are able to contact this project lead quickly after they have requested freelancers for help, you will dramatically increase your chances of success!

If you are a freelance web developer sending an initial email to start a line of communication with a lead for your responsive web design services, start with a subject line like, “My 5 Steps to a Higher Converting Website for {lead name}”. Including the lead name instantly gives them the recognition that you know their business a little and have spent some time laying out a value based proposal. It also shows you’ve likely done some background research on their current website, business and sector. If you need the contact email for the lead, we provide that along with the project description here at Freelance Leads.

In the first email, try to keep it to a couple of hundred works max! You should try to give a general overview of how you can improve and add value to their business. Go over the steps and processes you will take. Also try to include how your experience and skills will make you the go to choice for this project. Any previous work that is similar (but it must be similar!) will always help!

If you take a freelance proposal for what it is. Its basically an effective pitch explaining why you’re skill-set is perfect for the project. You are also showcasing your abilities and experience. Lastly, make sure to bring across your confidence in the ability to get the project complete (although don’t seem pushy or arrogant!).

Freelance Pitch

Remember, making an impressive entrance also means you are showing your commitment towards the project. You want to show you’re prepared to put in all the work required to deliver an outstanding project.

Doing a tiny (and I mean tiny) part of the project to attach to the proposal can also really help. This can come in the form of a really quick wireframe for a web development project, a simple content marketing strategy or maybe even some logo design ideas?

Now I am going to say it again to reinforce it. ONLY DO A TINY AMOUNT. Enough to show the lead you are skilled enough for the project, and prepared to commit to it. Remember though, its only to wet the lead appetite before the real work begins. Don’t think its too much work up front. We will be completely honest, we regard this part as our “secret sauce”! What you lose in unpaid time, you regain in demonstrating your creative side and commitment to work with the lead, which nearly always will result in you winning the project.

2. You have skills, so share them.

No matter what the project requires, it’s your task as a freelancer to tailor your strong skills to that unique job. Learn how to showcase your most awesome abilities, because it will really propel your pitching and proposals. Letting a lead see them highlighted skills for the specific needs of the project is an amazing skill in itself!

Lets take an example. If you’re after a re-brand design project, make sure you showcase your creative skills. Let them see your previous work aligns with the creative and design style you think this potential lead is going for with their re-brand.

If the project is a content marketing one, focus of previous successes you have achieved. Drop in figures to really show you know what you are doing and that you have the skills for the project.

Freelance Skills

It would be a mistake to focus on unrelated skills or ones that simply just don’t have any bearing on the project.

Trying to come across as someone who can do everything and packaging that all in to a proposal that has way too many unrelated pages is a direct line to the ignore pile. Instead focus on a maximum of three of your best skills and make sure to tie in ho they relate to this particular project. Flesh them out in detail one by one.

You will quickly find the correct level of detail to help a lead understand how your skills are perfect for their project. A really helpful option we have as Freelance Leads is to list the skills a particular project requires, this helps you get a head start on the proposal process!

3. Answer questions that haven’t been asked yet.

Sometimes a lead does not ask the right questions, simply because they are not the technical experts in what they require. Their expectations or questions about the project might be quite vague.

This is where you should capitalize on these situations by demonstrating your skills, experience and knowledge right from the start. Show your lead that you can work through the specifications they have and propose value based solutions that solve all the issues they have and you are already leagues ahead of any competition for the job.

For example, a frequent question we would be asked when sending proposals for new projects was, if we had tackled a similar project in the past. We would anticipate and answer this question before the lead even has had the chance to ask us. In our first email or communication to the client, we would include a link to our portfolio with specific attention drawn to examples of successful work we had done before that matches up to the skill-set the lead is after.

Knowing what the lead might ask is easy, here’s how! Imagine yourself in their shoes. What sort of problems and quirks might they have had to deal with up until this point. Lets take a website re-brand. Note any bad branding, poor use of images, logos that don’t “fit”, colour mismatches etc. Use these notes and offer up your thoughts on how to fix these and the direction you want to take them with the re-brand.

Doing this lets them see you are already proactively helping them and comforts them. Pointing out project concerns that they may not already know of shows them you are the expert they are looking for. If they are looking to hire an expert, odds are they probably wont fully understand what is required when designing a new website, creating a new brand or putting together an awesome marketing campaign.

You are already experienced in this area, you know what sort of expectations a lead might have and also what usually goes wrong when it comes to the work itself. You already know all these points, all you have to do is let the lead know you do!

Freelancer Points

We guarantee you nothing will make a potential client feel more at ease, than hearing you go through concerns and offer advice for each point in a well presented manner. If you have been there, and done that, let your client know! Crafting your answers with experience and knowledge will place you leagues ahead of everyone else!

4. Samples, samples, samples – but keep them relevant.

It’s imperative that your portfolio has real examples of proven work that looks amazing! Make sure you only showcase the best and most awesome samples of work to include with your proposal. Also, keep it relevant!

Leads are chomping to see that you have previously worked on a similar project to theirs. It makes perfect sense if you have done a project like theirs in the past and let them know, then they will have a sense of reliability that you can recreate or replicate your results from before.

Pick a few awesome samples to show off to them in your first communication and within your proposal. In a few sentences explain how your skills and contribution helped the previous lead achieve their goals.

If you are just starting our freelancing and have no real relevant samples to send them, then the next best thing is to create some of your own. Build an amazing portfolio website, craft your own logos, showcase your own marketing strategy or write some example blog posts.

When you shoot them over your portfolio show them that you can achieve for yourself, what they are hoping to with their own business and new project. This will rapidly gather their interest. If you are still looking a place to find great freelance project leads, we can provide them to you daily. Why not check out Freelance Leads?

5. Using an attractive layout that looks professional.

Initial impressions are everything, this is why an amazing freelance proposal should be professional looking and well put together.

Freelance Proposal

The minute a lead looks at your proposal, they will form an opinion towards the content of your work. Just by the looks of it! Depending on what you’re proposing, something more than a plain Word document is definitely going to be required to look professional.

In our own freelancing days, we would use apps like Proposify. An awesome took which gave our freelancing proposals a visual edge above the rest. The app above has a free trial, so why not check it out?

If an app is not your thing, using a great template like the one we are providing here for free will communicate that you place high value on personal branding and maintaining high quality work.

Making use of these great five steps to craft your freelancing proposals, will guarantee you’re doing all you can to set yourself ahead of the competition.


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