indy logo
How to Write a Winning Upwork Proposal?

Upwork is a booming freelancing marketplace connecting freelancers (remote job seekers) with clients (remote employers). Over 12 million freelancers are on Upwork, and three million jobs are posted on the platform daily. This makes the competition fierce and getting a job as a new freelancer challenging.

Writing a winning Upwork proposal can give you a competitive edge and increase your chances of getting a job. Let's discuss the importance of writing an amazing proposal, along with top proposal tips to get more jobs on Upwork.

What is an Upwork Proposal?

An Upwork proposal is like a business proposal or cover letter, where you highlight your key offerings and how you make the client's life easier. A proposal should be short and concise and explain why an Upwork client should choose you over others.

Why Are Upwork Proposals Important?

With the number of freelancers on Upwork constantly increasing, getting yourself noticed is more difficult than ever. Each project gets multiple bids, and a client will need to choose among dozens of freelancers offering the same services. How can a client differentiate them?

Here is where proposals come into the picture. Each freelancer can write a proposal and stand out from the rest of the freelancers bidding on the project. The key to landing projects on Upwork is to stand out and get noticed, which will only happen if you write winning proposals.

freelancer writing a winning proposal on the tablet

Answer These Questions with Your Proposal

We'll come to writing convincing proposals in a minute. First, you need to ensure that your proposal answers the following questions.

Can You Do the Project?

Every client is different and has unique project requirements. For example, all "web development" projects may seem similar in the feed, but for the client, their project is unique. It is essential to understand the client's exact requirements and determine if you can fulfill them. If you can do the project, mention in your proposal the skills and experience you have that make you capable of doing the project.

to do list for freelance project

Will You Make Your Client's Life Easier?

You need to understand why businesses hire freelancers. In most cases, they want to take the load off of their in-house teams. For instance, if a company is looking for an article writer, it's probably because their marketing team already has a lot on their plate.

Your goal, as a freelancer, should be to make your client's life easier, and it should reflect on your proposal. Tell them how you can reduce their workload and help them focus on other tasks.

Will You Make the Client Succeed?

Clients on Upwork aren't just looking for freelancers to get work done. They want to grow their business, and they are looking for someone to rely on. Your proposal should communicate that you will go the extra mile to help the client succeed.

Top Tips to Write an Upwork Proposal that Stands Out

Your proposal plays a vital role in increasing your chances of getting a client. Here are a few helpful tips to increase your chances of getting your proposal shortlisted.

Read the Job Description and Restate the Requirements

Many clients use a "read the description" test to check if the bidding freelancers have read the description fully. They include a special word somewhere in the description and require freelancers to include it at the start of their proposal. If you flunk this test, the clients will not even read your proposal, regardless of how well it was written. So, make sure that you read the entire job description.

Even if the client doesn't have a test, acknowledge in your first line that you have read and understood the job requirements by restating the client's requirements.

Give a Tip for Free

An effective way to break the ice and engage the client is by offering a helpful free tip. However, don't do it the way most freelancers do by including clickbait links or intentionally belittling the client's existing work. Frame your tip positively that acts as a demo of what you have to offer.

notebook as a part of creating winning proposal

Make Your Proposal Personalized

If you are using templates, don't copy-paste all the sections. Make your proposal personalized by addressing your client with their name and customizing the greeting and intro paragraph. You can copy some sections like your top skills, previous experience, etc.  

Tell Why You Are a Good Fit

Your proposal needs to mention why you are the right fit for the job and why the client should choose you above other freelancers. However, ensure that you don't talk too much. Include two to four sentences stating what makes you an ideal person for doing the job.

Keep Your Proposal Tight

Your proposal needs to be crisp, concise, and tight. Avoid writing a 5,000-word description suggested by most templates. Keep it tight and only include the information that the client wants to know. Submitting an exceptionally lengthy proposal will bore the client, and they will end up skimming through it instead of fully reading it.

Start Strong and End Stronger

The beginning and end are the most important parts of a proposal. The opening statement of your proposal should glue the client and encourage them to read it completely. Ideally, the closing statement should be a call to action (CTA) that tells the next step the client should take. An effective CTA is to invite the client to send you a message and discuss the requirements further.

be strong as reminder of strong winning proposal

Show Examples of Your Work

So, you write a great proposal stating that you have understood the client's needs and believe you can help them achieve their goals. But why should the client believe you? Winning the client's trust is the key to winning a proposal, and the best way to do that is by sharing examples of similar work. You can link your portfolio in the description so that your potential clients can see what you can do.

Learn to Let Go

Even if you write the best proposal, there is no guarantee that you will get the job. Perhaps a freelancer with more expertise and experience received the project. It is important to not live and die by each job proposal and keep sending proposals for different projects.

Mistakes to Avoid when Creating an Upwork Proposal

From talking too much about yourself to filling your proposal with fluff, here are a few mistakes you should avoid when writing an Upwork proposal.

Don't Talk too Much about Yourself

If your proposal is all about yourself, who you are, and what you can do, the client will skip it. Writing a proposal is no different than writing sales copy, as you are trying to sell yourself to a potential client. And by the rule of marketing, your proposal should talk less about yourself and more about your client. Instead of telling what you can do, focus on how the client can achieve certain goals if they decide to work with you.

freelance desinger writing a winning proposal using a laptop

Avoid Unnecessary Fluff

As discussed, your clients have little time, so avoid rambling too much in your proposal. Stick to only the important details that your client would want to know and avoid unnecessary fluff. When you discuss too much in the proposal, you make yourself look amateurish and desperate – two traits that can be red flags for clients.

Avoid Being too Casual or Professional

When writing an Upwork proposal, presenting yourself professionally is probably the first thing you want to do. Avoid being witty or entertaining. Clients are looking for serious individuals to make their lives easier, so trying to be overly casual can backfire. That said, being too professional can also do harm, as clients prefer someone with whom they can connect.

Therefore, avoid these two extremes in your proposal and find a balance between being professional and being informal. If you struggle to find the right balance, presenting as a bit more formal is always a safer option.

Get the Pricing Right

The bid price is one of the trickiest parts of sending a proposal. If you bid too low, you might sell yourself short, and if you bid too high, you might repel the client away. However, you also want to make sure you ask for a price that works for you. If you feel you deserve a better price than what the client is offering, ask for it.  

Writing a winning proposal is the first step to becoming a successful and highly paid freelancer on Upwork. If you aspire to make thousands of dollars on Upwork, you need to master the art of writing proposals that engage clients. And it's no rocket science. By following the tips and rules discussed earlier, you can level up your proposal game and start landing more clients.

Need a new proposal fast?

Launch a proposal template from Indy to finish your next proposal in just a few minutes. Save your template to reuse it for your next job, too.

Try Indy's Proposals

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to get approved on Upwork?

It isn't easy to get approved on Upwork, as the number of freelancers with similar skills and offering the same services is increasing. However, if you offer unique services, have relevant experience, or specific training and education, you are more likely to be approved by Upwork.

What happens after you submit a proposal on Upwork?

After you submit a proposal, the client who has posted the job offer will read it. If they like what they read, they might contact you to discuss their requirements. Since each job receives many bids and proposals, a client might take a few hours to respond.  

How many proposals can you send on Upwork in a day?

Upwork has no limits on the number of proposals you can send in a day. However, you get 60 Connects every month, and sending one proposal costs at least two connects. So, you can send up to 30 proposals every month. If you want to send more, you can purchase connects. 

Share this article
Craving more business?
Easily build proposals with the content you need, add your branding, and get approval with the click of a button.
Start for free
Learn more
Learn more