How to prepare a winning proposal to apply for a freelance job?

12th Oct 2023

Freelancing can be very liberating and exciting, but the competition for opportunities can be very fierce. This is why it’s so important to create well-crafted proposals that enable you to stand out from the crowd when you’re applying for a job, contract or freelance project. Creating the right proposal isn’t just about outlining your skills and experience but connecting with your clients, understanding their needs and explaining just why you’re the solution they require.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take if you want to land more freelance jobs, contracts and projects right now. This guidance should be relevant to your needs whether you’re just getting started in the world of freelancing or are a seasoned freelancer looking to achieve more success when applying for jobs, projects and contracts.

Make sure you understand the project

Go the extra mile to gain a deep understanding of your client’s goals, their target audience and any specific challenges they are facing. Spend time browsing their website if possible so you can find out as much about the client as you need to.

Create the right introduction

Make sure you personalise your greeting. Mention something specific from the project, job or contract description to show that you have read it properly. It’s very important to tailor your proposals to the job, project or contract in question rather than simply send out the same proposals to each potential client. Briefly mention your relevant experience and explain why you are passionate about taking this work on and helping the client meet their goals.

Understand your client's problems

Try to gain an understanding of the challenges the client is facing. Show that you not only understand what the client requires, but why they require it too. Let the client know how you will help them to overcome their challenges by proposing solutions to them.

Emphasise your relevant experience

Tell a story when you are talking about your relevant experience. Talk about a problem you overcame when working on a similar project and how you overcame it. Make sure you highlight any positive outcomes.

Talk about your skills and capabilities

Rather than simply listing your skills, talk about how each skill will benefit the project. If the client is looking for a specific skill that you possess, emphasise your experience in this particular area.

Approach and methodology

Break down your planned approach into actionable steps to show your potential client that you have a clear plan. Explain how your plan aligns with the goals of the project.


Try to be realistic when you are proposing a timeline. Don’t tell the client that you will be able to complete the work by a certain date if you think this could be unlikely. Allow enough time for revisions and edits. If you’re happy to do this, tell the client that you’re open to making any adjustments that the client requires.

Costs and payment terms

When proposing costs, explain what the fee covers and why you think this is a reasonable price for the work. Don’t sell yourself short just to land the work as low fees could harm your credibility.

Use testimonials

If you have received positive feedback from your clients in the past, make sure you mention it in the proposal.

Questions and clarifications

Ask questions if you think you need to in order to gain the clarity you need. If there is anything you are unsure about, it’s best to mention this as quickly as possible to avoid potential problems further down the line.

Call to action

If there is a specific action that you want the potential to take, such as scheduling a video or phone call, make this clear.

Polish and proofread

Typos and other errors can be the difference between being taken on and overlooked. This is why it’s so important to proofread your work several times to make sure it’s 100% error-free. You may also wish to get someone else to check the proposal before you go ahead and send it.

Remember, the aim should be to not only win the work but to establish a positive and professional relationship with the client. If the project goes well, the relationship could become a mutually beneficial long-term one. By tailoring your proposal to the specific needs of the client and emphasising the value you can bring, you can make yourself stand out from the compete