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How to Write a Winning Freelance Proposal

Neil KokemullerNeil Kokemuller
May 14, 2018

When you attract potential clients to your freelance business, you may briefly ask yourself, “What now?” Though a lot of the hard work is out of the way, you still have to sell your services in many cases by presenting a winning proposal.

freelancing-freelance proposal

The following is an overview of several actionable tips to help you write proposals that consistently enable freelancers to win business with more clients.

Start with a Story

“Every great ad tells a story,” is a common mantra in advertising that was stated often in the television drama Mad Men. Really, this sentiment should expand to state that, “Every great marketing communication tells a story.” Thus, in pitching your value to potential clients, tell a story that resonates with the audience.

Storytelling brings inanimate products and solutions to life. There is little exciting about the technical components of certain freelance products and services. However, the exciting part is what your solutions do to improve the lives of the clients that you support.

The best story is one that features a character very similar to the person to whom you are pitching. Explain the problem faced by the client to show awareness, and then demonstrate how a particular solution you offer is proven to ideally alleviate that specific problem.

Add Some Proof

Next, add proof to your story to convert it from fantasy and fiction into an impactful piece of fact-based nonfiction. One or more testimonials from clients that have benefited from the solutions you are proposing can offer tremendous support to your message.

As the data below from Gainsight revealed, B2B buyers give a lot of credence to peer testimonials or input during the buying process. This point is particularly true at the beginning of a client relationship. Leverage the opportunity to share peer input from satisfied clients. If you have positive reviews captured on various online platforms, share those as well.

Use a Smart Organization

Organize your content clearly into scannable sections, and arrange the sections in a logical flow that produces the best result. Interject goals of the clients in the beginning as you present your story. After you have set the stage by identifying the client’s problem and how your solution aligns with it, present a project timeline. Outline how you expect the project to unfold. For indefinite work, propose a typical weekly, monthly, or quarterly schedule.

Leave the costs and solution options for after you have effectively established value. Doing so mitigates the potential for sticker shock. Conclude by explaining the next steps. Tell the client what you want them to do, such as signing the proposal, communicating, or making payment. Indicate an intention to follow up after a specific period of time so the client feels some sense of urgency to review your proposal in a timely manner.


These are a few of the most effective strategies to create a winning proposal. Freelancers that research clients and tell great stories within their proposals tend to capture more attention and earn more business!

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