The most salient fact in a freelancing startup is the freelance project proposal. It depicts the decision-making power of a client as to whether or not he or she wants to hire you. Several companies hire freelancers but what makes them different from their competitors?
Inevitably, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned freelancer, you will come across the question of creating your ideal freelance project proposal. You need to know what you’re doing when writing one and how to get out of the meeting with the client’s money in your bank account.
What matters is the quality of work and the commitment to it. This guide gives you an idea about its importance and teaches you how to write an outstanding freelance project proposal.
What is a freelance project proposal?
A freelance project proposal is a document aimed at describing a project, task, or activity with the primary purpose of obtaining a client’s agreement to take on the job or grant you the right to start doing it.
The objective of making a project proposal is to allay the client’s concerns and get them to sign on the dotted line. Below are some tips that will help you create an outstanding freelance project proposal for landing your dream projects and clients.
1. Consider your skills as a service
When you begin composing your proposal, consider whether the work you are doing can be viewed as a service. In most cases, labor is a service, not a product. You can, therefore, define the project as a service that will create a tangible product.
This fundamental shift will change how you approach the marketing of your offer. After all, it’s why people will want to bring you on. But what are your skills? They’re not just the tangible tech skills that come with coding or design.
Consider your transferable abilities such as how you like to work, communication style, listening, ability to meet deadlines, and so on. All these things are part of the service you offer as a freelancer.
2. Define your ideal customer or market
After you’ve seen your skill as something marketable, you need to consider who you are trying to reach? If you do not know, you will not attract your ideal customer or market. Are you making it easier for the people that may want to buy or work with you to find you?
The sooner you can define this clearly, the easier it will be to target your ideal customer or market and position yourself accordingly. Once you know your target customer or market, it’s time to define the benefits that are most relevant to them.
For a skill to help you stand out, it must be something that your customer or audience wants or needs but isn’t getting elsewhere. When you have a definition of your ideal customer, then you can be proactive about targeting them.
You will start to notice people that you don’t even know who could become new customers.
See also: How to create a persona-driven content marketing campaign.
3. Create your portfolio and profiles
Your portfolio is an online representation of your skills and experiences. A great portfolio can be the difference between getting a job interview or not. Your portfolio should have information about your skills, work examples, and projects you completed.
Besides, every job posting you apply for is a chance to showcase your best work. You should present each piece of work on its own, with an opportunity for the viewer to get a sense of your style and experience.
Building a portfolio might be the most time-consuming part, but it’s also the most important to make your freelance business successful. Who you are, what you do, and what kind of people you want to help are all important pieces of information that need to be communicated in your portfolio.
4. An excellent freelance proposal begins with thorough research
Detailed research is a requirement of client plans and projects, and I can’t tell you how many times I have been shocked with the way proposals fail this simple requirement.
The freelance proposal is an effective tool for a freelancer to sell their client their services. The proposal is one of the most important factors that will determine whether or not you will be hired for a project.
It helps define the scope of your service, and how much your client will spend on it. Therefore, you need to be very thorough with what you include in your proposal.
5. Provide an overview of the project process
This section should be dedicated to describing what the project will look like from the start of the work to the final product. It is important to communicate to your potential clients what the process of your project looks like.
Your clients have a vision. And it’s your job as a freelancer to help them achieve that vision. Before you hand them the reins of your project proposal, walk them through your process.
This way, you can make them rest assured that they can be entirely comfortable with what you do and how you do it.
Many clients do not know this information. This information will help them finally understand how they are going to receive their deliverables.
6. Describe how your services are beneficial
The best way to make use of your skills is to package them in a proposal. This proposal must describe a client-specific, measurable and realistic value.
You need to show them in your proposal that you can help them move from point A to desired point B.
Whether you are a web designer, marketer, or copywriter, skills always benefit your clients if you can show them how to grow their businesses using them.
For example, let’s say you are a freelance marketing consultant; you could create a scenario that tells your clients how to use SEO to increase the rankings of their websites and thus get more traffic (and sales).
The skills and knowledge of professionals who are experienced in their industry are valuable. Clients can make use of these skills only if they know what services they are getting from you. Be clear about how your services can help them.
7. Don’t rely exclusively on proposal templates
When it comes to proposal writing, you will always face a blank canvas as each proposal is an independent and unique task.
A proposal template is a useful tool available to the creative professional. You’ll get a sense of how to tailor your proposals just by looking at them, but keep in mind that these templates are not designed for all types of proposals.
It may be tempting to just grab a proposal template and start filling in the blanks. Resist this urge when writing your first few proposals.
A generic pitch that is sent to every potential client can signal a lack of interest. It could also be viewed as unprofessional.
8. Get your terms of payment right and competitive
Payment for the client is often the biggest win that you can get. You are getting paid to do the work, which means that you don’t have a physical asset tied up in the work. And also, everyone wants to feel like they got a bargain and not overpaid for something.
This is why getting the terms of payment right is so critical to success as a freelancer. You may have the best project/idea in the world, but if you can’t deliver it soon enough or offer a competitive price, you might lose your prospect.
The right payment terms are an important way to establish your credibility with clients. Do not let payment terms slip through the cracks! They are as important as your professionalism, attention to detail, and communication skills.
9. Keep the freelance project proposal brief
We know. You are a veritable writing virtuoso. Words just flow for you as smooth as a mountain stream. But when it comes to writing freelance project proposals, keep it short and sweet.
Don’t ramble on and on about things that don’t need to be said. Be brief, succinct, and clear. Grab attention to what matters most. It is as simple as that.
10. Develop relationships immediately with potential clients
When beginning any freelance relationship, build rapport quickly by finding ways to help the client remember your name and create a quick personal connection. As a freelancer, the more work you do, the more clients you get to know.
Introduce yourself with an interesting fact about yourself or tell a story that reveals something about who you are. Follow up with a thanks email or phone call. You can provide your contact information and be available for questions or concerns.
You never know when they are going to ask you to do freelance work with them again.
Importance of freelance project proposal
To establish credibility
A freelance project proposal is an important tool that every freelancer should have in his or her arsenal. It is important because it can help you to establish credibility and professionalism.
Freelancers do not have a fixed salary or tenure with any firms. This means that they have to establish their credibility through their work. A project proposal proves that you can deliver services according to the requirements of the client.
It is the first step towards building a long-term relationship
Every single project you work on has a beginning. Often, it is the kind of relationship which takes more than a year to build. And this first step can be nothing but a freelance proposal.
A project proposal offers you a way to gain clarity for your next project. It also allows you to present yourself as a focused and professional business person. When you write a freelance project proposal the right way, you can build a strong relationship with any client.
If you want to become a trustworthy expert in a particular field, creating a great first impression with your project proposal is crucial.
Better vendor comparison
Vendor comparison is always a headache for most project managers. It takes lots of time to choose suitable vendors for your projects. It is becoming more and more challenging to choose a vendor with specific features.
Vendors are selected based on values and their ability to address specific and unique requirements of an organization. To have an edge, a detailed statement of work should list all functionalities required in the application. It should also list any non-functional requirements such as performance.
Conceptualizing the project
Without a direction or a purpose, a freelance project proposal could easily devolve into an unfocused, frustrating endeavor that fails to achieve the goals desired.
A freelance project proposal gives you direction and emphasizes the importance of having a tangible goal for any potential project. A proposal consists of
- Problem statement
- Preliminary analysis
- Information about existing solutions
- Information on why your solution is better than existing solutions
- Proposed action plan
Just like any other project, your freelance project proposal has to be conceptualized, designed, tested, and re-tested before it gets to be used.
No business can thrive without attracting the right mix of human resources and creativity. The absence of people with the skills and experience needed for a particular job can set them back significantly.
Freelance projects offer a good opportunity for professionals to seek opportunities outside their comfort zones and to learn from other professionals in different disciplines and industries.
Furthermore, it helps to sharpen their problem-solving skills, time management aptitude, and just generally increases their value. With this, you are then able to brand yourself as a specialist and add value to businesses that need your service.
What is the ideal length of a proposal?
A general rule for proposals is to keep them short and to the point. There is a limited attention span when it comes to these documents. It is even more common with decision-makers of bigger projects as most proposals have about 10 – 20 pages of content.
The pages should be broken up into sections. This section can have three or four paragraphs in length. Each paragraph with a table or chart that supports the content that is written out.
Besides, remember that the best proposals don’t just talk about the features of your work. They also highlight specific examples where you created a particular benefit or profit for a client.
Do you have any advice for a newbie freelancer?
Freelancing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build a client base, so be patient. Do great work, and the clients you want will show up when you are the most prepared to work with them.
Furthermore, there are a lot of little nuances to being a freelancer. This can be hard to figure out on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask more experienced freelancers for advice.
They’ll appreciate you showing interest in their success, and answering your questions is something that will come back to them in the future when other people ask the same things.
Who are the clients of freelancers?
All sorts of companies and organizations hire freelancers. Some clients have established businesses that are growing, some are start-ups, some are individuals, others are government entities like state or city agencies.
The common thread among these clients is that they need to get some work done. However, they can’t find or don’t have the human resources to get the job done.
What should a beginner freelancer know to make money?
A beginner freelancer must realize that each project is different. You should always communicate with your clients to make sure you understand their vision and expectations for the project.
Once you have gathered this information, it’s time to get into the details of the project. Find out what exactly will be required of you. To earn significant income, you have to be serious and charge a professional price.
Which freelance jobs are in demand?
The freelance job market is growing. The field itself is becoming increasingly diverse. Today, you can find freelance opportunities in virtually every type of job that you could ever imagine.
You can find freelance opportunities in marketing, technical writing, and editing, administrative tasks, or other specialized fields.
A freelance project proposal usually takes how long?
A project proposal can take anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks. There are several stages in the freelance project proposal process. The first step is to learn about the client and what they need, and then I offer ideas on how to solve a problem.
If a client likes the idea, I will send over another document called an ‘RFI’ or Request for Information that asks specific questions related to what I have proposed. Usually, the client has several responses back to me within 48 hours of that document going out.
After this stage is completed, I will send over a formal proposal with all my pricing information.
In conclusion, a project proposal is a significant document that clarifies the goals of both the client and the freelancer.
Understanding what to include in a project proposal can help you to follow the proper steps towards creating the best document.
In this guide, I have highlighted 10 key tips to create an outstanding freelance project proposal. As a freelance blogger, unforeseen circumstances can make it impossible for you to manage your time, so you should learn how to double your productivity.
You’re constantly looking for where the next gig will come from as a freelancer, right? Check out my post on the best freelance job websites to find your next gig.
Besides, I have a guide on how to find and hire freelance bloggers for your blog. You may have stumbled on this post while looking for how to hire freelance bloggers. I encourage you to read this article
Additionally, don’t forget to visit the blog section devoted to blogging. Thanks for reading. Please share with your friends.