Career Sidekick

Upwork Proposal Samples that Get Interviews (2 Templates)

By Biron Clark

Published: November 2, 2023


Biron Clark

Biron Clark

Writer & Career Coach

I recently posted a job to and got 63 proposals overnight. There’s a TON of competition. So you really need a good Upwork proposal if you want to get any interviews at all. Fortunately, I’m going to walk you through the exact steps (and proposal templates) I used last year as a freelancer to make thousands of dollars per month on Upwork.

What we’ll cover:

  • How to write an Upwork proposal  that gets interviews
  • 2 word-for-word Upwork proposal samples you can copy
  • The mistakes you NEED to avoid if you want to get jobs on Upwork

Let’s get started…

How to Write a Winning Upwork Proposal

1. how to start your upwork proposal.

Within the first sentence, you want to show you’ve read their job posting. This is ultra-important. It’s more important than your name even. I see a ton of proposals that start like this: “Hi, my name is Michael and I’m a ___”. They don’t care. That’s boring and what everyone else does.

I’d start like this instead: “Hi. I just read your job posting and it sounds like you need ___”. This is so much better, and if you just make this one single change you’ll get more job interviews, I guarantee it. 

upwork proposals image

Talking about their needs and their job posting before talking about yourself is also powerful because it immediately shows them you read their job posting. Most freelancers just cut and paste the same garbage proposal to every client, and clients delete it immediately. So the sooner you can show this proposal is really for THEM, and not a generic cut & paste message that’s going to bore them half to death, the better.

2. How to Write the Middle of Your Upwork Proposal

There are two key pieces to the middle or main body of your Upwork proposal. First, you’ll want to share a bit about your background, and ideally how you’ve helped other clients solve the same problem or do the same thing in the past. But keep this brief. Four or five sentences are enough. You don’t want to tell your life story; they don’t care. They care about how you can solve their problem. That’s it! Then, the second part is you want to show you’re the expert here. You can do this by making a recommendation and pointing out the opportunities you see. Or you can do this by asking a question. For example, you might say, “I’d be curious to hear if you’ve tried ___. I recently implemented that with another client and the result was ___.”

Either way, you need something to show them you’re the expert. Why else would they hire you?

3. How to End Your Upwork Proposal

If you followed the steps above you’ll have a great Upwork proposal. It should be very brief, too. You should NOT be doing a ton of writing or sending out big bulky paragraphs. So now, how should you end the proposal?

There are two good options for how to end an Upwork proposal:

The first option is to ask a question about their project/needs. If you haven’t already asked a question in your proposal body, you can say something like, “Do you have a website so I can understand this more?” This is a good way to get a response and be able to find out more info about the project. The other option is to have a more traditional “call to action” telling them to reply or asking them when they’re free to talk. Examples:

  • “Reply to this message and let me know when would be a good time for us to connect this week.”
  • “I have a couple more ideas I could share as well. When is the best time for us to connect this week?”
  • “Are you free Wednesday or Thursday to talk briefly? Let me know what works best for you.”

4. Mistakes to AVOID in Your Upwork Bid Proposals

Here’s where so many people on Upwork go wrong:

  • They write big, bulky paragraphs without enough spacing. The reader immediately dreads reading your proposal after they open it
  • They cut & paste the same proposal to everyone without customizing it for their posting. Nobody is going to hire you if you do this. It’s dead-obvious when you’ve done this. I know because I’ve hired a lot of people on Upwork myself (along with landing high-paying jobs on Upwork as a freelance writer ).
  • They write about themselves too much, instead of writing about the prospective client and their needs

Now that you know what to do, and what not to do, you should be able to avoid these mistakes in any future proposals you send.

5. How Long Should Your Upwork Proposal Be?

I made tens of thousands of dollars on Upwork within a few months of starting, and got multiple interviews each day that I applied for jobs. And I tried to explain above how short your proposals should be in order to do this! (Really short). But sometimes it’s difficult to get this across via words.

So I did something better…

I just counted the words in my most recent, successful Upwork proposals. Here’s what I found:

I just glanced at my Upwork account and here are the exact word counts of 5 recent successful proposals: 83, 91, 87, 116, 87.

That’s an average of 93 words per successful Upwork proposal. That’s very short. Use this as a guideline and keep it brief if you want to start getting interviews on Upwork. Remember, prospective clients get 50+ proposals within the first eight hours of posting a job typically.

Do you think they want to read a giant block of text in each proposal?

So keep it short, save your time and theirs, and get far more interviews.

6. CRUCIAL Step Before Sending Your Proposal

Before sending out your proposal, you want to make sure it’s about them and their needs, not about you . I mentioned earlier – the average job seeker on Upwork is talking all about themselves in their proposal, and the client doesn’t care. It’s boring and generic. So before sending, do CTRL + F (or Command + F on Mac) and search for the word “You”. Count how many times you said “you”. Then search for the word ” I ” (put a space on either side so you don’t see each “i” in the middle of words. You only want to see the actual word “I”. Now that you’ve counted these, you should be saying “you” at LEAST as much as you’re saying, “I”.

If not, edit it or rewrite it until this is the case.

7. Best Time of Day to Send Upwork Proposals

I’d recommend only sending proposals for jobs that have been posted within the past 24 hours. This is another place where most people go wrong on Upwork. Don’t waste time/proposals on jobs that are 48-72 hours old (or more). This means you’ll need to apply for jobs on Upwork multiple times per week, since you’re only going to be applying for jobs posted within the last day. Your exact schedule will depend on your timezone, the timezone of your ideal client, and your schedule/availability. I usually applied mid-day (11 AM or noon) in my ideal clients’ timezone (US Eastern Time). I also experimented with applying at 8 p.m. in the evening, and that worked fine as well. And I did this Monday – Friday each week.

As you get more clients and don’t need as many interviews, you could switch to Mon/Wed/Fri if you’d like, and skip Tue/Thurs. I started doing this once business picked up! But while ramping up, do it every day! Get a system in place in terms of keywords and search filters you use (I’ll cover this in a future article), and just repeat it each day. It’ll become habit and will be super easy to do after a few weeks.

Quick tip: I’d recommend grabbing a free account at Calendly for scheduling. It’ll save you hours of back-and-forth scheduling with clients and it’s amazing if you have clients in different timezones because it converts the timezones automatically.

8. How to Decide What Rate/Price to Put in Your Upwork Proposal

If you have an hourly rate, that should be consistent, so pricing your proposals on Upwork is easy. Things get more complicated if you do mostly flat-rate projects, though, like I did. I’d personally either have set prices for services you offer, and propose whatever your set rate is.

(For example when I did email marketing I charged $200 per email. Flat rate. So it was very easy to price out projects). Or, you could propose at or near the top of the client’s stated budget. For example if they say their budget is $2,000, I might either propose $2,000 or $1,800. Sometimes going a tiny bit lower is good, so they don’t just think you proposed their maximum after seeing it. So I’d probably do $1,800 in that example. But you don’t want to try to be the cheapest option, ever. Don’t compete on price. That’s what the people who struggle are doing.  I always aimed to be one of the most EXPENSIVE proposals a client got. Because I wanted to work with clients with great budgets who want quality. These clients are often easier to work with, believe it or not.

If you’re really unsure how much to propose in terms of your flat rate, you can also add a “P.S” at the bottom of your Upwork proposal mentioning that you’d need to discuss the project more before determining the exact price.

P.S. – the proposed cost is an estimate. I could give you an exact figure, timeframe, and what I expect to be able to accomplish if we talk. If any of the above sounds interesting, reply to this and we’ll set up a time to talk this week.

That way you at least won’t be ruled out based on the proposed rate. They’ll see that and even if you proposed a number above their budget, they’ll consider talking with you. I don’t use this all the time but it’s a good tactic if you’re worried.

9. Sell the Call, Not the Service

This is an Upwork tip (and a powerful sales tip in general) that most people don’t know: You should only be selling the next step in the process.

Here’s what I mean:                                                                                                                

The only goal of your Upwork proposal (and profile) is to get clients on the phone to discuss their project. Then your goal on the phone call is to sell your service and get them onboard (by paying an initial invoice, signing a contract, etc. – depending on your setup). The mistake a lot of people make – especially people who are new to sales – is trying to sell everything at the same time. They write their Upwork proposal trying to convince the client to pay to work with them. All you should be doing is selling them on why it’s a good idea to get on a call with you. That’s MUCH easier.

So keep it dead-simple, take it one step at a time, and you’ll get more clients.

10. Make Sure Your Upwork PROFILE Backs Up What You’re Saying!

Your profile is different than your Upwork proposal, but it’s very important. It’s what the potential client sees if they click your name and view your whole profile/bio. If you’re writing a great proposal, making suggestions, asking questions and sounding like a true expert, you need your Upwork profile to confirm that you’re an expert who they NEED to talk to.

I’m going to write another article soon focused just on how to write an awesome profile, but here are some tips to help you right now:

  • Be a specialist, not a generalist. People want to hire an expert in the one thing they need. You’ll actually get more projects if you go after fewer TYPES of projects.
  • Just like your Upwork proposal, your profile should be more about THEIR needs, and less about you.
  • Start with something interesting to catch their attention. I personally started by quoting a testimonial I had received from a past client. That’s far more interesting than the typical, “Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a ___.”
  • Have a “ Call to Action ” at the end. I put: “Send me a note with a bit about your company, your track record, and your project. If it seems like a good fit, we’ll schedule a call to talk.”

Notice in that last bullet I’m implying I’m not the right fit to work with everyone. This is how you should be positioning yourself… Show that you’re selective and careful about who you work with! Stop acting desperate. Stop chasing projects that aren’t a good fit for your specialty.

11. And if you don’t have a specialty yet, definitely go choose one…

You can always change it later if it doesn’t work out. But you’ll get far MORE work by specializing, and each project will be easier to complete because you’ll be able to create systems/templates, etc. All the broke freelancers I know say things like, “well, I don’t want to limit myself”… or, “I don’t want to cut off my options.” They’re going to stay broke, unfortunately.

The freelancers I know who are making $5-10K+ per month consistently all niched down and specialized.

They became true experts.

FYI there are two ways you can niche down:

  • You can niche down by service offering (I started as a general writer/marketer, and niched down into just writing marketing emails for B2B companies. That’s a very niche service).
  • Or you can niche down by industry. You could offer a service just to real estate agents. Or just for restaurants.

You can also do both, eventually. If I had kept going I would have eventually taken my B2B email marketing service and focused on just a few industries. But fortunately, my passive income from this blog – CareerSidekick took off and I stopped having to take any freelance work.

Proven Upwork Proposal Samples

The following are REAL Upwork bid proposal samples that I sent out and used to get clients when I was active as a freelance copywriter on the platform (after I had niched down into email marketing in particular).

Upwork proposal sample 1:

Hi there, I just read your posting. It sounds like you need an expert in cold emails to advise you on everything from the content to the overall strategy. I have a background in email marketing and have been doing this for 3 years. Cold emailing in B2B is what I specialize in. I can work with you to write the content and subject lines, recommend the best technologies for you to use, and more. Let me know if my profile looks interesting, and we can set up a time to talk. Best regards, Biron Clark

Upwork proposal sample 2:

Hi! Just read your posting. Sounds like you need an email expert to advise you on a few things… from funnel setup and strategy, to what you should offer to get signups in the first place. I have a background in funnels and email copywriting and have been doing this for 3 years, including for some other subscription/membership businesses. I can work with you to come up with a great strategy and high-converting emails to turn your prospects into paying customers. And I can help you get more email signups going into this funnel, too. If any of the above sounds interesting, let me know when you’d be available to talk this week. Best regards, Biron Clark

These are both real Upwork proposal samples that I sent out and got jobs from. Feel free to use these Upwork proposal templates for yourself… however, this blog gets a lot of visitors now, so I’d highly recommend customizing this. You aren’t going to be the only freelancer reading this article. 

Upwork Freelance Proposal Tips – Quick Review

  • Use the first line to show that you’ve read their profile and understand what they need (instead of saying your name and talking about yourself ).
  • Introduce yourself and explain why you’re an expert in what they need.
  • Make a recommendation or ask a question to reinforce the fact that you’re an expert on this topic.
  • Close with a Call to Action to get them to reply. Either ask for a website to learn more, or ask them when they’re available to talk.
  • Sign off with your name.
  • Keep everything brief. Aim for less than 120 words in your Upwork proposal. 85-100 words is ideal.
  • Use great spacing; you should only have two to three sentences MAXIMUM per paragraph in your proposal.
  • Only send proposals for jobs posted on Upwork within the last 24 hours. You’ll be more likely to get the interview if you do this.
  • Commit to sending out proposals five days per week (Monday – Friday) for at least a month to build up your leads on Upwork.
  • Price yourself near the top of the client’s range. Never compete on price and never try to be the cheapest.
  • Make sure you have a great Upwork profile that backs up everything you’re saying in your Upwork proposal.

Biron Clark

About the Author

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Thank you very much for your advice and your templates. This really helps

I found this article very helpful, and please keep on updating us on various aspects which are related to Upwork proposals, and Transcription as well. Thank you very much.

Beautiful words… I’m in for it.

I am beginner in Upwork (Digital marketing) and I find this article helpful, given I’m struggling in writing proposals.

Please provide me example of accounting related proposal sample.

This is so insightful. Thanks

Your article was indeed quite helpful and impressive. Could you provide me with an example of Audio transcriber proposal.

Honestly, this article just gave me a boost to my optimism, I want to do this. thank you, much appreciated.

Thanks for this Biron! Definitely worth the read for upcoming freelancers. My question though is, why did you leave Upwork? Couldn’t you have combined it with blogging? You seem like a master of both…

That’s a good question! I wanted to focus 100% on the business model that could scale/grow to a large size. And that was blogging. It was absolutely the right choice, too. It just took a while to grow. But I didn’t want to keep trading my time for money, which is what freelancing is. I think you need to be able to say “no” to some opportunities in order to reach the goals that you’re really passionate about. You can’t say “yes” to everything.

Hi Biron, Thank you for sharing your experiences on How to write winning UpWork proposal. I really enjoyed reading your blog and will definitely include these tips in my searches. I will look forward to reading your blogs in the future. Thanks, Rosy

This article is an eye-opener!

I love it! Thanks Biron

Wow, Great. The only thing I can say is “Wonderful”. Thank you.

I did a search on writing proposals to get jobs on Upwork. I found your article listed in the top results. I am glad I read this article. It is very helpful and I will be trying your tips. I have even bookmarked it to refer to in the future. I look forward to reading more of your articles.

Thanks for writing this. I highly recommend it for those of us who just recently joined Upwork.

Helpful information. I am new to freelancing. Thank you very much.

please guide me the right way how to write translation proposals .

This was quite insightful! Thanks for the piece.

Thank you! The only valuable article I’ve read in a long time.

please provide me proposal sample for Mobile app development, wordpress, website, logo, marketing collateral,

Great article, I’m a beginner at upwork, I have a question to ask, before submitting a proposal I want to have a clear understanding about the connections. I saw something like “You have 4 connection remaining if you submit your proposal”. Can you explain to me what it means.

Hi Esther, you’ll need to check Upwork’s information/resources for more info about this, or ask their support. It’s always changing. When I was freelancing on the platform, I think I paid around $10 a month for premium and it got me 60 “Connects” per month approximately, and most jobs required 2 connects to submit a proposal.

But then, right before I left the platform, I remember reading about upcoming changes, and the idea that some jobs would require more connects. So to get accurate info that’s actually up-to-date, you’ll need to check with Upwork directly.

I found this very helpful and I really appreciate. I’m a beginner at upwork. Could you please help me with creating a profile for upwork?

I wrote an article about this, that you can read here:

I am a beginner and I was almost giving up because I have been sending proposals to clients for one month but now I know my mistakes. Thank you

Great advice thanks. One question though – were all of your clients US based. The reason I ask if I don’t think the wording of you sample proposals would work in the UK as to us Brits it comes across as a bit flippant and slightly cocky. I don’t mean that in a bad way, and being married to an American I have come to realise that Americans tend to be extremely informal in such things, whilst I suspect we Brits find that feels a bit “spammy” and we expect things to be slightly more formal (but not old fashioned, stiff upper lip formal!). The Germans too are considerably more formal, stemming from the fact their language has formal and informal elements to it and traditionally it is unacceptable to address people informally until they allow you to do so.

What are your thoughts/experiences on this?.

Fair points. I think I had a few international clients, but mainly US. You do always need to adjust formality for industry and region. You’re right.

However, don’t be too quick to write something off based only on your opinion. Send it and test it. What you prefer, or what you find to be “too much” in a freelance proposal, might surprise you in terms of how others respond. So I always say: Test it and try it. But what you’re saying makes sense, and I do agree that this depends on region and country.

Your article is interesting but contradictory. Therefore, the post lost its value and credibility.

For example, you recommend starting a proposal with something interesting to catch their attention. The article states “That’s far more interesting than the typical, “Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a ___.” You provide the example of using a testimonial from a past client. However, your proposal examples use what you recommend against.

I would strongly recommend using examples that match up with your recommendations to make the information valuable, credible, and truly helpful.

I agree. In fact, if you count number of “I”, you’ll actually see there are little to no “You” in his proposals.

His examples are contradictory but recommendations are fine.

Thanks for pointing this out. I edited the first template to have a better balance of “you” vs. “I” to reflect the instructions in the article. It should be better now.

thanks for sharingthis very insightful article and insider tips

Thank you so much for the insight. Can’t wait to makeover my proposal!

Hi, I found your tips on writing proposals very useful. Do you have any words of advice for people like who have just begun their freelance careers?

My tip: Get one successful project done as soon as possible. One piece of great work that you can point to when talking to new potential clients. Make a case study, or have an example of that work that you can show. And ideally, a testimonial. After that, it’s the same as any freelancer… new or not. Just get that one project. Even if it’s volunteer work. And in the case of Upwork, you’d want to get that one project completed on Upwork if possible so you can get a review and so that you don’t look like a brand new profile.

found this and a previous article about profile building to be very effective. To be honest, I had applied for upwork a couple of months ago but with traditional sentences like “I am _____ and from____”. Obviously didn’t get a job, but with the help of your article, I was able to get my profile accepted on Upwork. Thank you so much

Awesome, I’m glad to hear this helped! Thanks for sharing your story.

Thanks for posting this article.

Wow! Am a beginner at Upwork (Internet Research & Data Entry speciality) and obviously struggling getting clients…but this article just raised my optimism. Thank you.

I actually found this article very helpful and promising thanks keep up the content very insightful for noobs like me haha.

That’s really perfect. May you please provide me a Translation proposal.

Please provide me example of web development proposal.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Winning Upwork Proposal

My blogger friend Amanda Cross, the voice behind The Happy Arkansan and reached out to me with this terrific guest post on writing a winning Upwork proposal.

She’s an Upwork pro, and after talking with her one-on-one in my recent podcast episode , I have been dying to learn more about her Upwork secrets. I consider myself a pretty experience freelancer , but I still haven’t tamed the beast that is Upwork. Today, she’s sharing her step-by-step guide to writing an Upwork proposal that lands you the gig. 

Want to listen to the podcast? Here ya go! It’s full of even more tips.

When it comes to freelance job hunting websites, Upwork seems to get a less than stellar reputation. Upwork’s reputation precedes them despite the myriad of reputable companies and entrepreneurs who use the platform to hire freelancers from around the world.

If you are struggling with writing a winning Upwork proposal, I hope that today’s article will teach you the ropes. I have been using this platform for nearly two years now, and I want to help you start seeing some traction on the site.

1. Find the Best Jobs on Upwork

The first step to writing a winning Upwork proposal is to find a job that makes you excited to apply. You can’t expect to win many Upwork jobs if you don’t start with that simple step.

Here is what I usually do to find jobs I want to apply to. First, visit the site at least twice per day, Upwork has many employers, so the site changes rapidly, even on the weekends.

Once I am on the site, I deploy my usual filters:

  • Category: Article & Blog Writing
  • Client Info: Payment Verified
  • Client Location: United States (sometimes Canada)

From there, I usually browse until I find something that’s worth my time. Over my time using the Upwork platform I have grown an extremely thick skin. I know what I am looking for, what I want to accept, and I ignore the rest. That’s why I only view certain client countries, and I narrow my search to look at clients who have verified their payment methods.

Overall, you need to know that there will be low-paying clients. Many clients won’t want to pay you a decent wage, and that’s just something you need to accept. Low paying clients is not an Upwork problem; this is a work culture problem (especially in America.) Most people have been taught to value lower prices, even if it cuts down their quality substantially.

Just because you accept that there will be low-paying clients on the platform, doesn’t mean you agree to that payment for yourself. There’s a time and a place for clients who don’t pay much. What they charge won’t affect your worth or what you can charge.

There are plenty of clients who don’t mind paying a bit extra, you just need to dig to find those people. Look for clients who are ready to pay intermediate or expert prices, and you can usually find a client who is prepared to spend more money. You can also scroll down on a job description to see the client’s recent history so you can get a better idea of the rates they pay freelancers.

Writing a winning upwork proposal

2. Read & Understand Upwork Job Descriptions

After you find a job that looks promising, it’s time to do your research. You need to understand what they’re looking for and how you can help them achieve their goals.

Don’t spend all day doing this research, a bit of sleuthing will do. For example, if I want to apply to write a blog post on “how to become a better boss,” I am going to do my research to make sure I can write an article like that, especially one that’s better than competitor blog posts.

So, if you find an online job that you want, dig deeper. Understand how you can help them before you jump into your regular spiel. I have a few statements that I rotate through when writing a winning Upwork proposal, but even then, I try to customize at least a few of the lines for that person. Understanding the job description is essential so that you can customize proposals.

Also, sometimes you will get potential clients who want to test that you have read the entire job description. They may have extra requirements or phrases tucked into the description to make sure that you have done your due diligence. It doesn’t hurt to be thorough!

Bonus: check out their website if you can!

While you’re doing research, check out their website if possible! It’s not always included in the summary. If they include a website, you should always check it out to see if you’d enjoy working for them.

While checking out their website, you may also see if you can make any connections with them based on their site that you can bring into the application. It’s always good practice to view the website of who you’d be working with if you have the opportunity to do so before you apply.

3. Answer Supplementary Questions First

Okay, this is the most critical piece of information I will probably ever tell you about writing a winning Upwork proposal. Your potential clients don’t read the cover letter first. Upwork shows them the answers to the supplementary questions first, then your cover letter.

Many new Upwork freelancers mess up because they answer the cover letter section first, then they are burnt out and give crappy answers to the main events: supplementary questions. I know that I am personally guilty of focusing too heavily on the cover letter, thinking “It’s a cover letter, it’s obviously first!”

Trust me when I say to focus on those extra questions first if your potential client asks them.

4. Start Your Upwork Proposal About Them

People are self-centered. They are more interested in hearing about them before they are interested in hearing about you. They want to know:

  • What have they done right?
  • Do you find their blog interesting?
  • Can you tell that they have been putting a lot of effort into their website?
  • Are you excited about the work they are doing for the community?

I know, this seems like a strange way to start your cover letter, but they likely want to be the center of attention in a sense. It gets them interested in hearing what you have to say and it shows that you’ve done your research. Your first couple of sentences should focus on them and building a relationship.

Write a winning upwork proposal

5. Show Prospective Upwork Clients You Know Your Stuff

One thing I love to do when creating a cover letter is to talk about my knowledge of the topic they need help with. Showing your knowledge helps no matter what job you are applying for. Give them a little something they can either use for free or just a general statement.

For example, if they are an entrepreneur starting their blog , you may want to give them a piece of advice on what has worked best for you when starting your blog. Give them something of value they can sink their teeth into because this shows off your expertise and makes them want to hire you.

6. Talk About Your Skills

The next thing you need to do is talk about you. What makes you qualified to be their blogger, coder, social media guru, virtual assistant, etc.? Why should they trust you?

Honestly, you never know what kind of past freelancer baggage this person might have. You want to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward, so you can get the job and rise above any of the noise the client may be dealing with.

What should you share with clients on Upwork?

  • Your expertise in their subject area
  • A similar project you have worked on and results from that project
  • One of your best client reviews that showcases your best work
  • Any projects with your name attached that you have the right to share

You want to make sure that the client walks away with a clear picture of who you are, how awesome you are, and how you can help them.

7. End Your Proposal with a Call to Action

I like to end each proposal with a call to action or CTA . A call to action is a device or phrase that you use to invoke an action of some sort. The action you want is to be moved into the interview phase of the Upwork hiring process. Here are some CTAs I’ve used:

  • I look forward to hearing more about this project to see if we’d be a great fit working together!
  • I would love to chat more about this opportunity as I feel like I can create great content for your website. Thank you so much for the chance to apply for this position!
  • I would love to chat with you more about your project! I am excited that you want to produce such a lengthy guide on a platform I love so much!

Ideally, you want to prime them for asking you more questions about how you can work together. Being able to chat with them further will usually help increase your chances of getting hired.

I typically ask for more information about the project or to talk further. These are actual CTAs I have used in the last few months to get hired on a few of my latest Upwork jobs .

The Best Tips for Landing Jobs on Upwork

To end what I hope was already a super helpful article on writing a winning Upwork proposal, I wanted to touch on a few more of my best tips for landing jobs on Upwork.

It’s not always about turning in a great proposal! I hope these tips help you with other aspects of the site .

1. Create an Amazing Upwork Profile

Upwork has a HUGE “underground” work culture. Many of the jobs get set to private and sent directly to the freelancer the client wants to work with based on prior experience or even the freelancer search tool . You should spend time working on your profile and making it shine.

You also want to make sure that you treat your profile title like an SEO magnet. Many Upwork clients use the freelancer search tool to look for freelancers, and if you have a great title, you could find yourself higher in the search results, which means more people landing on your profile.

How to land gigs on upwork

2. Ask Upwork Clients for More Work

You don’t need to continually be on the lookout for more clients, as long as the clients you currently have keep giving your work to do. Once you find a great client, don’t let go!

You can ask if they need more assistance, and then you have a way to continue delivering stellar work. Plus, the more money you make with a particular client, the fewer fees you pay to Upwork. Just by making $500 with a client, you shave off 10% of the fees you pay to Upwork, These add up to more money in your pocket.

3. Close the Upwork Account to Get Reviews

If your client doesn’t have anything else for you to do, the next best thing you can do for your Upwork career is getting a review from that client. Encourage them to close the account and review your services. Let them know that you loved working with them and that them rating your services will help you keep working with other excellent Upwork clients.

Please do not close accounts without at least discussing getting a review from your client. Trust me! I am still trying to pull my Upwork job success score up because I had a couple of less than stellar reviews and a ton of closed jobs with no reviews. Always strive to close accounts and get a review in the process !

4. Avoid Burnout When Applying to Upwork Gigs

Upwork is not the place to burn yourself out on applying, especially if you are not landing many jobs from it. Upwork does regularly remove profiles, and a lot of that profile removal happens when your particular set of skills don’t seem to be needed on the platform.

This is scary for anyone to think about, especially if your goal is to make money online , though I am sure it doesn’t happen all the time. So, don’t mass apply unless you are putting thought and effort into each application. Upwork is a numbers game in a way; you want your skills to be seen as helpful to a number of Upwork clients.

I would encourage you to use your connects to apply to freelance jobs smartly. Don’t use the spaghetti approach when it comes to applying for positions on the platform! This is even more true with the new $0.15 cents per connects rule .

How to Write a Winning Upwork Proposal

There you have it, folks! My best tips for writing a winning Upwork proposal. While these tips won’t work every time (no one has time for that many jobs anyway), they’re a great way to gain an edge on other freelancers making money online with Upwork.

I hope that this will help you start seeing more success from this platform. Upwork does get a bad rep because the platform isn’t as well vetted, but I feel that some true gems use Upwork to hire. I have virtually met some genuinely cool and inspirational people freelancing on the platform, and I know that you can too. There is SO much work to go around on the platform, we all have a seat at the table.

If you want to see more freelance related content from me, check out these articles:

  • Upwork Q&A: Make Upwork Work For Your Freelancing Career With These Tips
  • How To Become A Freelancer: What You Need To Succeed & Make Your Own $$$
  • 10 Tasks You Can Accomplish When Freelance Business Is Slow

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Amanda Cross is a blogger and freelancer from Arkansas. She is living her dreams, writing content for companies all over the country, from the comfort of her living room. Amanda loves short walks to get ice cream and helping millennials figure out the random parts of adulting she’s somehow managed to grasp. You can follow Amanda for more of her tips and tricks on her blog , Instagram , Twitter , Facebook , and Pinterest .

Do you have an idea to contribute to Samanthability? I’m always looking for expert guest posters! Learn more about guidelines and submitting here . 

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Hey, I'm Sam! I'm the blogger and full-time writer behind Samanthability. I blog about starting your own blog and rocking post-grad life. You can find me exploring Seattle, binge-drinking iced coffees, and reading spicy romance books. I'm glad you're here!

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5 Sample Upwork Proposal Templates to Win the Competition

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BIG NEWS! We just released The Freelance Files , a collection of professional done-for-you email scripts, contracts, invoices, and more for smarter freelancing. The first 50 customers, save 50% with this link .

5 Sample Upwork Proposals to Help You Get Started

How to make a sample upwork proposal on your own, 5 steps to writing an effective upwork proposal, what to include (and not include) in every upwork proposal, 4 tips for writing better upwork proposals, final thoughts.

Research shows 53 million Americans are freelancing today . They contribute $715 billion each year to the economic growth of the country.

Demand for freelancers is at an all-time high. However, the competition is also stiff. Platforms like Upwork have millions of freelancers competing for projects on the platform.

It takes more than skills and experience to win clients on Upwork. You must attract your client’s attention by establishing a strong connection right from the beginning.

A custom proposal can work wonders to help you break the ice. You can connect with your client instantly and show why you are the right person for the job.

What to Expect from this Article

Upwork has remained the largest freelancing platform in the world for some time now. It helps a freelancer build their career and earn consistent incomes.

However, Upwork has more than 5 million clients and 12 million freelance remote workers . As a result, several freelancers bid on a project, making it difficult to land you a job.

A well-thought proposal can help you stand out and prove your expertise. You can express how you will benefit the client and their business and help them achieve their objectives.

In this blog, we will learn how to write a killer proposal to win projects on Upwork. We will also include a few sample Upwork proposal templates to inspire you.

The job description given by the client will form the basis of your proposal. You can use the client’s needs to align and sell your services better.

Below you will find a sample Upwork proposal for 5 jobs. You can write your proposal following our format and style to land more gigs.

1. Sample Upwork Proposal for a Graphic Designer


I understand you want to create a brochure for your upcoming sales expo. With my experience of 10 years, I can help you to stand out from your competitors. I have designed over 100 brochures for companies all around the world.

I’m attaching some brochures I made for past clients to give you a better idea of what I can deliver.

I’m proficient in several editing tools like Adobe Creative Cloud. I can also use a tool of your choice if that holds significance.

I can deliver the brochure within 7 days of receiving your confirmation. However, I would need a few resources from your end to make a compelling brochure.

Let’s discuss matters in the following communication. I will be waiting for your reply.

Thank you, Name


2. Sample Upwork Proposal for a Freelance Writer

I would like to place my proposal for your creative writing project. I see you want to develop high-quality content to fuel your marketing efforts. We can take the project forward immediately as I have chalked out a plan to drive your outreach program:

  • 5 blogs (700+ words) per month on industry news and updates
  • 2 how-to articles (900+ words) per month on company-related offerings
  • 1 mega blog (2,500 +words) per month on helpful guides
  • 10 social media updates per month for Facebook and Instagram

I’m prepared to handle the workload and deliver tasks on time. I have also worked with WordPress and can publish blogs, complete with images, tags, and videos.


Moreover, I can publish updates on your social media channels to keep your audience engaged.

We can discuss the rates once you reply to my proposal. I’m attaching sample blogs of past projects for your reference.

3. Sample Upwork Proposal for a Developer

I’m confident I am the right person to help you turn your vision into reality. Every business should have a mobile app to target and retain mobile customers.

I assume you don’t have a plan in place due to the lack of details in your job description. I can guide you to develop the right strategy and help you launch your mobile app with success.

I have developed the apps of top healthcare brands like XYZ and ABC. You can download and use the apps to get a feel of what I have to offer.

I already have a few features in mind that can help your app attract and convert more customers. I’ve been developing apps for over 7 years and completed more than 30 projects.

Most importantly, I have exposure to working in the healthcare industry and know what works best for clinics like yours.


I would like to take our conversation forward and provide you with more insights on developing your app.

Thanks, Name

4. Sample Upwork Proposal for a Web Designer

I would love to apply for your project. I have been helping entrepreneurs like you to create a strong brand and lasting memories with your audience.

I understand you are looking to give your website a fresh look and make it more appealing. I can help you design an aesthetic and modern website with high-quality visuals to create an engaging user experience.

I audited your website and already have a few recommendations. For example, I would like to make the UI simpler to remove clutter and distractions.

I have several other suggestions and a plan in place to help you create a strong market presence. Please reply to my proposal so that we can move things forward.

You can also view the following websites I worked on to get an idea of what to expect:

Please send me a message to discuss your project requirements.

5. Sample Upwork Proposal for a Content Creator (YouTube, Social Media, etc.)

I see you would like to create content for your YouTube channel. I can provide you with professional guidance and create stellar content to click with your audience. I have over 10 years of experience helping businesses develop strong brand awareness.

You might have seen my work on YouTube channels like XYZ and ABC. I also manage the 123 channel, which is a business similar to yours.

I’ve been working with them for 1.5 years, and my content generated over 1 million views. I can deliver you similar results, once we sit down to discuss the details.

I can help you with:

  • Content strategy
  • Content topics
  • Shooting videos
  • Pre and post-production tasks
  • Video editing

I would love to be the one to develop a long-term relationship that benefits both parties. I will wait for your reply to start on the project right away.

Let’s set up a meeting at your convenience.

Warm regards, Name

an image of a laptop showing an individual upwork profile

An important part of becoming a freelancer on Upwork is to be able to write your own proposals . However, you don’t need to write from scratch every time you apply to a project.

Instead, you can make a sample Upwork proposal and customize it to your needs. Below are a few insights to help you write fantastic proposals.

A few easy steps can help you write a sample Upwork proposal template as a foundation. The first step is the most important:

1. Research Your Client

You must understand your client to write an effective proposal. The job description can give you vital insights to perform your research, like company name or product.

Moreover, read the project requirements to understand what problem the client is trying to solve. You cannot write a proposal unless you are clear about the project objectives.

Make a list of the pain points of a project before you do anything else.

2. Specify Your Services

Your client must know what you are selling them. Therefore, specify your services in your Upwork proposal to get more gigs.

However, do not mention services that are not useful to the client. They may make you look good on paper but don’t help you convince your client.

Instead, mention your deliverables and how they resolve your client’s pain points.

Let’s say a client wants to hire a creative writer and asks what you can offer. You will surely not get the project if you write something like, “I can deliver high-quality articles and blogs.”

Instead, write you can deliver:

  • How-to guides
  • Walkthroughs
  • Product reviews
  • Product descriptions
  • Elevator pitches

3. Create an Outline

Create a rough outline of your sample Upwork proposal. You can use the pain points you noted down as a foundation to elaborate on your services.

You don’t need to write a detailed outline. Just make a list of the main points you want to include in your letter.

It will help you stay on track and prevent missing out on important information. Write your proposal based on your outline for the best results.

4. Use a Template

You can find many templates online to write your proposal. However, you must customize the proposal for the project you are looking to apply.

Moreover, you can create a custom template based on your services. You can personalize based on your project requirements and save time and energy.

However, prevent copy-pasting content from other proposals. Your template should be a guide only and not the actual wording of your cover letter.

It is always better to take a few more minutes to write an original proposal. Otherwise, you may lose projects even if you have the right skills and capabilities.

5. Proofread Your Proposal

The last step of the process is to proofread your proposal. It should not contain any spelling or grammatical errors.

Moreover, your document should be professional and free of typos. You can use online services to proofread your proposal.

A proposal cover letter should include a few vital things that help you land more projects. They are as follows:

Your Information

It is necessary to introduce yourself to your client. However, you don’t need to write about your hobbies or all the degrees you acquired.

Include your name and throw in a few details that help you persuade your client, such as:

  • Your experience
  • Exposure to working in different industries
  • Educational qualifications

Outline of Project

The job description will help you zero in on your client’s objectives. They also reveal the pain points the person or business is trying to solve.

You should capture the pain points in your proposal to tie your services with them. It helps you show why your client should hire you for the job.

Never be ambiguous when writing your client requirements. You should make your client aware of their pain points if they aren’t.

Let’s say the job description says a small company wants to improve its website user experience. However, they haven’t mentioned the areas of improvement.

Here, you can use your insights to understand your client’s pain points. Their user experience may be suffering due to clutter or an unresponsive design.

You can write an effective proposal by showing you understand your client. However, it’s better to ask questions rather than include assumptions.

Outline of Solution

You should describe how your service will resolve your client’s problems. It is necessary to be specific and provide a glimpse of what’s on offer.

Let’s say you are applying to a social media marketing project. In your proposal, don’t just say, “I can create an excellent campaign to bring you more leads.”

Instead, show them how you are going to do the job. As a result, many freelancers on Upwork include a list of deliverables in their cover letters.

An example of deliverables for a social media campaign may include:

  • An audit report of current social media presence
  • Social media marketing strategy
  • 25 Monthly posts and updates
  • Comments on 100 posts per month

Don’t include services that are not related to the project.

Call to Action (CTA)

Customize the CTA for your sample Upwork proposal. However, avoid writing ambiguous calls to action like, “hope to hear from you soon.”

Instead, write something like:

  • Let’s set a meeting for Monday
  • Please reply to my message to discuss matters
  • Please answer my queries to take the project forward

You must include a few samples of your work in your proposal. For a writer, samples of previously-written blogs or links to published articles are great.

Similarly, a developer can invite clients to check out apps and software developed by them. Samples are excellent to give your client an idea of the returns you can provide.

woman writing down notes on a notebook at a desk

You must start sending proposals as soon as you join Upwork to get a job. Here are a few proven tips to help you nail the task like a pro:

1. Keep It Concise

Your Upwork proposal should be brief and to the point. Don’t over-describe your client’s pain points or your services.

Instead, provide the right information to encourage your client to decide in your favor.

The length of your proposal will depend on the job description. However, it should not be more than 4 – 5 paragraphs long.

Nobody has the time to read a lengthy proposal, especially when 30 – 50 freelancers apply for the same job.

2. Don’t Oversell

A proposal helps you sell your service on Upwork. It should put you in the best light, but not by appearing too salesy.

A better approach is to show your client how you can provide value. List techniques or ways you can solve their pain points or help them achieve their goals.

A simple change in perception can help you nail the task. Think about how you can help a client instead of wondering how you can sell.

Moreover, add a human touch and work to create trust.

3. Answer Additional Questions First

Most projects on Upwork need you to answer ‘Additional Questions’ after you write your cover letter. However, clients see your replies to these questions first before your actual proposal.

Therefore, answer the additional screening questions before you write your proposal. Use your research to give compelling answers and show you are the best person to handle the project.

It goes a long way to make sure the client reads your proposal. If you cannot answer as expected, even an excellent proposal may fall short.

4. Ask Questions

It is always better to ask questions than make assumptions. However, any question you ask should show you understand your client or the project better.

Let’s say a project says you have to create a Facebook ad campaign. However, the job description has no information on budget or goals.

Instead of promising deliverables outright, you can ask:

  • May I know your budget so that I can create a fitting plan?
  • What is the price range of the product you are promoting?
  • Do you want to target a local or global audience?

You must be able to write effective proposals to become a top-rated freelancer on Upwork . Follow our steps and tips to create a fantastic proposal and land more projects. However, refrain from making false claims in your cover letter. Instead, include adequate proof to prove your expertise.

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Written by Soubhik Chakrabarti

Staff at

A prolific writer and a Top Talent on Upwork with over $200,000 in earnings, Soubhik is both a journalist and an entrepreneur. With a journalism degree from Langara College, Vancouver, Soubhik today helps companies focus on their SEO efforts through SEO consulting, and also owns websites like - which today has more than 150,000 pageviews a month.

Soubhik's Articles

Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright , at Millo.

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Crafting the Perfect Upwork Proposal


Are you looking to land your next gig on Upwork? Writing a great proposal is key to securing the job and can mean the difference between being hired or not.

When crafting your proposal, you want to make sure it is well-written, persuasive, and showcases your skills and experience. A good proposal talks directly to the hiring poster, explains why you're the best person for the job, and gives a sense of your work ethic.

On the other hand, a bad proposal can be full of typos, lack relevant information, or come across as unprofessional. To make sure your proposal stands out from the crowd, here are some tips:

The difference between a good and bad proposal

A good proposal can be the difference between getting hired and not. Here's how:

A good proposal talks directly to the hiring poster and shows that you understand what is being asked of you. A good proposal also showcases your skills and experience, explains why you're the best person for the job, and gives a sense of your work ethic.

A bad proposal, on the other hand, can be full of typos, lack relevant information, or come across as unprofessional.

When writing a proposal for Upwork, or any other platform, it's essential to take the time to do it right.

Here are some tips:

Read the job posting carefully and make sure your proposal is tailored to what the client is looking for

Have an excellent personalized introduction

Be clear and concise

Get to the point quickly

Proofread your proposal before sending it off

Include relevant information about your skills and experience

Explain why you're the best person for the job

Let your personality shine through

Bonus Tip: Use the Proposal AutoWriter on Moonbeam to quickly generate a personalized intro to any proposal.

How to structure your Upwork proposal

When writing your Upwork proposal, keep it short and to the point.

Highlight your key skills and experience relevant to the client's needs.

Be sure to address the client's specific needs and requirements in your proposal.

Use positive language throughout your proposal, stressing what you can do for the client rather than what they might need or want to do.

Finally, don't forget to proofread your proposal carefully before hitting "send"!

How to stand out with your Upwork proposal

You can do a few key things to make your Upwork proposal stand out from the rest.

First, ensure your proposal is clear, concise, and free of grammar or spelling errors.

Second, customize your proposal for each job you apply for - don't just copy and paste the same generic message for every job posting.

Third, sell yourself! Explain why you're the best person for the job and be confident in your skills and abilities.

Finally, follow up after sending your initial proposal - send a brief message checking in to see if they received it and if they have any questions.

By following these simple tips, you'll be sure to stand out from the competition and increase your chances of landing the gig!

The easy way to stand out when writing an Upwork Proposal

If you want to ensure you hit all the requirements and respond personally, try the AI Proposal AutoWriter here .

With Moonbeam 's proposal writer, you can enter all the information required for a proposal and automatically generate a personalized response. Plus, it will customize each proposal to fit the specific project so that your chances of being hired are much higher!


Kevin Newman

7 Expert Upwork Tips for Beginners (+ 9 Mistakes to Avoid)

R.J. Weiss, CFP®

  • Updated December 06, 2023

Getting your first job on Upwork, or even your first few jobs, is hard. 

So much so, in fact, that many freelancers end up quitting after sending in a few applications without a response. 

I get it. I was there too. It’s frustrating. 

Upwork was one of my first big side hustle successes. I was able to go from beginner to earning over $100+ an hour designing landing pages.

But it didn’t happen overnight.

On the flip side, as someone who has spent over $80,000 hiring freelancers on the site, I’ve also seen my fair share of mistakes when it comes to proposals. 

Since many of these hires still work with me today, helping to produce the content here at The Ways To Wealth, we put our minds together to come up with seven expert Upwork tips to help ensure your success. 

Here’s what you can expect :

  • Why exactly getting that first job is so difficult.
  • The secret that freelancers use to land their first job when they don’t yet have feedback.
  • Seven expert tips for getting high-quality, highly-paid jobs on Upwork as a beginner.
  • The top 10 mistakes to avoid on Upwork.

Note : In addition to these tips, we published a companion guide that goes into detail about how to get your first job on Upwork .

Let’s get started…

Table of Contents

Why Getting Your First Upwork Job Is Hard

For the time being, put yourself in the shoes of the individual who is creating an Upwork job post. 

First things first : you’re trying to find someone you can count on to deliver the results you want. 

The job post has 20+ applicants — sometimes 40, 50 or even more! 

How are you going to sort through and make a decision about which freelancer is best? 

On Upwork, most jobs are chosen based on feedback. 

If a potential freelancer has good feedback — which is a combination of Job Success Score and written feedback clients have shared on the freelancer’s profile — you’ll consider them for the job.

In other words, you’ll take a look at their profile, read their proposal, and maybe start a conversation. 

But if they don’t have much feedback — or worse yet, if they have some negative feedback — those things are unlikely to happen.

This is where most beginning freelancers stop and ask (often in frustration):

So how do I get a job without positive feedback on my profile, when I’m competing with dozens of others who have great profiles?

Here’s the answer…

How the Upwork Feedback System Works

First, know that feedback on Upwork is a combination of two things:

#1. Your Job Success Score .

This is a metric Upwork created to measure client satisfaction.

After you complete a job on Upwork, the client is taken through a series of questions. They’re asked to grade you on a scale of 1-10.

These scores, along with some other technical factors (like whether the job was delivered on time) determine how successful the project was.

These ratings do not appear on your profile, but are rolled into your Job Success Score (which shows up when you apply for a job).

#2. Written Feedback

In addition to leaving a rating, clients are also asked to leave a comment on how well the project went. These ratings appear on your profile. 

Here’s an example from a past job of mine :

You’re probably wondering why we’re focusing on feedback when you don’t have any. 

It’s important because you need to understand the buyer’s mindset. A buyer wants to hire a person they trust, and the shortcut to hiring someone they feel they can trust is reviewing the freelancer’s feedback. 

So here’s the big secret to getting hired for your first job: You need to establish this type of trust in other ways outside of Upwork.

7 Upwork Tips for Beginners 

It’s all about trust. The more a client trusts you, the more likely you are to secure the job. 

Here’s how to establish that trust outside of Upwork’s Job Success Score and feedback system. 

#1. Complete Your Profile (and Make it Awesome)

When you have no feedback, your Upwork profile is the primary thing prospective clients will use to evaluate your fitness for the job.

When creating your profile, assume your client is making a split-second decision with regard to wanting to learn more about you. If you don’t make your profile stand out, they’re on to the next one — and quickly. 

Again, looking at things from the client’s perspective, their first impression of you occurs in the “Review Proposals” tab. 

Here’s what this looks like from the client’s side:

The client sees your profile picture, your name, title, location, Job Success Score and a snippet of your cover letter. 

While we’ll discuss the cover letter (i.e., the proposal) later, there are two important things to note here:

#1. Your profile photo .

Act like you’re applying for a job with a Fortune 500 company. What would their immediate impression be based on your photo?

This doesn’t mean it has to be boring. As an example, if you’re looking for creative work (such as freelance graphic design jobs ), your professional photo would be different than someone looking for accounting work. 

Does your current profile photo pass the Fortune 500 test?

#2. Your title .

This is one of the most underutilized customizations you can make to your profile. Ideally, your title should let your client know why you’re perfect for the job. 

A good title starts with picking a good niche . 

Most of my success on Upwork was when I offered conversion rate optimization services on the Unbounce design platform. 

While what I did was web design, when I wrote my title, my goal was to let the client know I was a perfect fit for their job:

What you want to avoid is branding yourself as a generalist. Because there is so much competition, generalists typically don’t get hired on Upwork.  

Pro Tip : Because there are so many applications, assume your client is skimming through freelancers. What can you say in the title to quickly let them know you’re perfect for the job?

#2. Look for a Small Project and Bid Low

With my first job on Upwork, I made $50 for what was close to 10 hours of work on a copywriting project. 

It’s not ideal to work for less than you’re worth. But it’s a necessary evil when starting out on Upwork — at least if you want to get up and running as quickly as possible. 

Pro Tip : My strategy was to bid well below the client’s budget and ask them to test me out vs. the experienced copywriter they had previously hired. They liked what I did better, and that was all I needed to build some momentum and get started as a copywriter . If you’re confident in your abilities, asking a client to hire you along with a more experienced Upwork freelancer can help you land that first job. This strategy doesn’t work in every industry, but can be used more often than not. 

For your first job, don’t put much stock into your hourly rate. Instead, think long-term. 

Have the mindset that it’s not your first job where you’re going to get paid what you’re worth, but the third, fourth, fifth and so on.

At the beginning, the goal is just to get established; to build that feedback profile we discussed earlier so that you have a better chance to win more jobs.

That also means that when starting out, your focus should be on shorter-term projects on Upwork.  

This benefits you because you’ll be able to earn feedback quicker. 

Also, the client is more likely to test out someone new on a short-term project vs. a long-term one. 

This is a better strategy than bidding low on a bigger project, for two reasons: 

  • You limit the amount of work you have to do for a low rate. 
  • Clients won’t want to hire a questionable candidate for an important project, even if the price is low.

Related reading : Fiverr vs. Upwork for Beginning Freelancers

#3. Look for Clients Who Leave Quality Feedback

It’s a fact that some clients on Upwork are, let’s say, “pickier” than others. 

In other words, not every client will be a pleasure to work for. 

Plus, not every client understands just how important feedback is for freelancers; they may see it as their responsibility to nitpick and point out the pros and cons of working with a given freelancer, when in fact the industry standard is to leave a five-star review unless there was a serious problem.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to tell which clients are worth submitting a proposal to: just look at the feedback they’ve left for others.

Remember, your goal at the beginning is to earn positive feedback fast. So, look for a client that consistently rates the freelancers they work with five stars. 

These clients are not only more likely to give you five-star feedback, but they’re also more likely to be very clear on what they want from you. In turn, you can deliver the exact results they’re looking for. 

On the other hand, if you see that a client consistently leaves mixed reviews, you might want to avoid those projects. Chances are they’re difficult to satisfy, and getting negative feedback on your first few projects can significantly derail your Upwork career.

#4. Use Your Cover Letter to Start a Conversation With the Client

Your cover letter — and specifically, the first 3-4 lines of your cover letter — is another chance to make a great first impression on the client. 

Looking at our example from above, an excerpt from your cover letter is included in the proposal screen:

The first goal is to make it known that you’re not just submitting a templated proposal . 

Your proposal should be clear and concise, directly address the client’s needs, and offer a concrete next step. 

Here are a couple of tactics that can help you accomplish this:

  • Address them by their name. Do some research on who is hiring. Click on the prospective client’s profile. If their name isn’t on their profile, and instead you see a business name, you can often find the client’s name when checking out the feedback other freelancers have given.
  • Start strong. As the first few lines of your applications will appear on the application screen, make sure your application immediately explains why you’re right for the job. One simple way to do this is talk about your experience outside of Upwork. For example: Hi John! I’m new to Upwork but I have five years of experience in XYZ .

Most importantly, what you’re trying to accomplish with your proposal is to start a conversation. 

Asking a client to hire you based on your proposal alone is often a giant leap. So, don’t just submit it and pray they get back to you. Instead, make it easy by starting a conversation. 

The best way to do this is by asking a question . 

For best results, ask a question that displays your understanding of the work. 

For example, if it’s a freelance writing gig, you can say something like:

“I’ve long admired what this [example site] is doing in your niche. Is this the type of content you’re looking for, or would something like [example site’s content] be more in line with your goals for this project?”

Pro Tip: The strategy I used to land my first long-term, highly-paid gig ($2,000+ for writing an e-mail series) with less than five successful jobs on my profile was creating a quick video for a prospective client. (I listed it on YouTube, as a private video that only people with a link could view.) It was around a two-minute video, recorded via webcam. I introduced myself to the client, and let them know why I was right for the job. The client was looking for a specific type of e-mail funnel, and it just so happened that I had recently finished reading a book on that particular method. So, I was there in the video holding the physical copy of the book, explaining why I was the best person for the job.

#5. Offer a Detailed Plan of Action

A great way to build trust in your proposal isn’t just telling your client you can do the job. 

Instead, offer them a detailed explanation of how you will go about accomplishing your work. 

Using freelance writing as an example, discuss how you would go about researching the topic, how you come up with different subheaders, and how you get expert sources.

Similarly, when I was doing landing page design, I’d talk about how I’d go about doing the research for the text and conversion process. 

Use this as your chance to build more trust. Let the client see that you understand what it takes to deliver quality work.

#6. Show Them a Sample That’s Relevant

I’ve hired a fair amount of freelance writers on Upwork. 

The easiest hires are the ones that share a portfolio sample that’s highly relevant to the type of work I’m looking for. 

In other words, if I’m hiring writers for this blog, I want to see examples of financial writing, not some random college paper on a different topic. 

In fact, here’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to what to put in your proposal: Send the prospective client one relevant sample (or two samples at the most) of your work that’s closely related to what they’re looking for.

As a freelance designer on Upwork, I always included one landing page in my proposal that was as close as possible to what the client was looking for — often asking them, “ Am I correct that this is the type of landing page you’re seeking? ”

This was also a great form of social proof, as the prospective client saw I had previously worked with XYZ Company .

Now, let’s say you’re brand new to your niche and you don’t yet have a sample of client work. 

In this case, create a sample and even let your potential client know that this wasn’t paid work, but that you took the initiative to create it to display your skill in this space. 

For example, if you’re a freelance writer, write at least one sample piece that you can send to clients. This is where it helps to have a niche, so the same sample can be used in all your proposals. 

Here’s a detailed guide on how to create a freelance proposal from scratch .

#7. Satisfy Your Client at All Costs

It’s really hard to overcome a bad piece of feedback early in your Upwork career. If your first feedback is less than five stars, you may never land another client. 

In addition to working for less than you’re worth, you need to make sure you’re putting everything you have into delivering a top-notch product. 

So, don’t just deliver your work on-time — deliver amazing work that will “wow” your client.

If an Upwork client asks for revisions or re-work, just do it: the cost of getting a negative review will be much higher than the cost of the time spent in revision.

Even consider giving something a little extra that they didn’t expect. 

As an example, say you’re a graphic designer; you could offer two or three choices for your client, in multiple file formats, even if they only paid for one. 

If you’re a freelance writer, one idea would be to run your work through an on-page SEO checklist, making comments in the article showing where you optimized it. 

Do something unexpected that shows you went a little above and beyond. 

Top 9 Mistakes New Freelancers Make When Applying for UpWork Jobs

We’ve talked about what to do, so next let’s talk about what not to do. 

From my experience hiring freelancers on the platform, here’s what’s going to quickly get your Upwork proposal dismissed. 

  • Neglecting your Upwork profile. A professional photo, a unique title and a quality professional description are table stakes to land a job on Upwork. 
  • Bidding too high. It’s OK to underbid a project when you’re new. Look at Upwork as a long-term game — you need a few jobs under your belt before you’ll be competitive for better gigs.
  • Only skimming the job description. Read the entire job description. It sounds obvious but many don’t bother to do it. 
  • Writing a novel-length proposal . I’ve seen 500-word proposals, which (in most situations) is absurd. No potential client will read this much text. Keep it concise and focus on starting a conversation. 
  • Rushing through the “additional questions.” When you submit a proposal, these questions appear below the cover letter. But when a client reviews your proposal, they actually come before the cover letter. As such, your answers to these are the client’s first impression of you. But many people rush through them, thinking they’re ancillary to the cover letter.
  • Not sending relevant work samples in your job proposal. Sharing samples of your work is a great way to establish trust. So make it easy for your client to see your work by sharing an example in your application, and make sure you specifically discuss how it connects to the job they’re hiring for (i.e., don’t just attach it).
  • Sending too many work samples. Send the client one, or at the most two, very relevant work samples you hand-picked for them. A client doesn’t want to review dozens of samples. Just send in your best and most relevant. 
  • Not offering a delivery timeline. Say specifically when you can deliver the project — don’t leave it up for the client to suggest a timeline. This makes it much easier for the client to say “yes.”
  • Submitting proposals with grammar mistakes and typos. Read through your job proposal out loud before hitting send. Clients are looking for attention to details, and the easiest way to display the opposite is with grammar mistakes.

See also : How to write a great Upwork proposal .

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Started on Upwork

100%. It’s the largest freelance marketplace in existence today, with many Fortune 500 companies that hire on the platform. 

Yes. Only work with an Upwork client who is “payment verified” (you’ll see a notice when this is the case) and, if it’s an hourly contract, consider using Upwork’s (admittedly intrusive) time tracker. It will take a periodic snapshot of your screen (to show that you’re actually working). Using this feature qualifies you for Upwork’s payment protection program.

It pays shockingly well when you have some feedback. Personally, I was able to raise my rate to over $150 an hour within a year for a skill I had only learned months before. 

Absolutely. Many people, including people who work for The Ways To Wealth, make a full-time living ($40K+ per year) freelancing just on Upwork. 

Upwork offers a number of payment options, including ACH transfer (bank deposit), wire transfer, PayPal, Payoneer and M-Pesa (which is only available in Kenya). The payment timeline can be a little bit confusing at first. You can read the details about how you get paid here . In general, it takes 1-2 weeks after completing hourly work before you have access to your earnings.

Check out Upwork’s list of top 100 jobs to see the most popular types of freelancing roles hired for on the site. 

Launched in 2021, the Upwork Project Catalog is a marketplace for limited-scope, fixed price gigs that freelancers post and clients can purchase on demand. It works the opposite of the normal Upwork project flow: freelancers set the scope of the project and define a price, and then wait for clients to come to them (as opposed to searching for jobs and submitting a proposal).

Upwork Tips: Summary 

On The Ways To Wealth, we often talk about how making money is a skill that anyone who practices can learn over time — and therefore, increase their income. 

You’ll be glad to know that Upwork is one of the best environments for learning how to make money that exists today. 

As an Upwork freelancer you can:

  • Test different approaches to landing a job, looking for what works and what doesn’t.
  • Find out which of your skills has value in the marketplace today — and, just as important, which skills you need to acquire to make more money in the future. 
  • Take on projects that stretch your current skills and abilities.

It’s this fast-paced, real-world experience that’s going to allow you to not only become better at making money, but also have the bank account to prove it. 

If you’re looking for more reading material, check out these new freelancer resources we’ve put together: 

  • How to get your first job on Upwork
  • How to apply for writing jobs on Upwork
  • How to write great freelance proposals
  • How to create a portfolio from scratch as a new freelancer

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The Best Upwork Proposal Tips to Get Shortlisted Every Time

Here’s a dirty secret. The average Upwork freelancer sends the exact same cover letter to every client they pursue. So your “competition” is a generic template from a new freelancer with no reviews 99% of the time.

With that in mind, how do you move to the top of the client’s shortlist? How do you respond to projects quickly while giving yourself the best chance at winning the project and getting new clients? The tips below may only take a few minutes to implement, but over time can help your cover letters land you 50% more jobs on Upwork .

Best of all, almost nobody on Upwork uses them. Most of the Upwork tips you’ll find are ultra-beginner level. They say things like “include the client’s name in your proposal.” In this post we’re going to go a little deeper. I’ve also created a PDF version of the tips in this article that you can print out and keep handy the next time you’re submitting an Upwork proposal.

Send Your Best Upwork Proposals to More Clients

Since I wrote this article to help freelancers level up their Upwork lead generation game, I thought I’d mention the best way to increase your earnings: by sending more proposals. Technically, the same tips you use to send a great proposal on Upwork apply to any project. My favorite way to supplement Upwork jobs is with Folyo’s Web Design Leads Newsletter.

Get the web's 500+ best website design and development leads and RFPs each year. Free preview.

If you’ve already searched Upwork, and want more opportunities, my Web Design and WordPress Leads newsletters are the fastest way to supplement the work you find on Upwork. Since they only take a few minutes to review each week, it pairs perfectly with your existing Upwork proposal process and can 10x the number of proposals you send each week.

That’s the easiest and best proposal tip I have: send more of them. You can get a free sample by clicking here .

Some Quick Upwork Proposal Stats

  • That’s 12+ million freelancers using Upwork.
  • About 3 million jobs that get posted each year.
  • And roughly 4 freelancers for ever job.

A one in four shot, isn’t bad – but if you adjust for inactive accounts and freelancers who are instantly disqualified for spamming with worthless templates … your real competition on Upwork is even smaller. Even the remaining freelancers are often beginners so your chances to make money are pretty solid.

Upwork Proposal Tips: Math & Stats

That goes for even on the most competitive jobs. So your chances are actually pretty good. If you follow the rest of the tips in this article, you should win 1/4 of your proposals. I’ll even include some proposal templates below so you can see exactly what we’re talking about. So without further ado…

My top 10 Upwork proposal tips for getting shortlisted quickly

First I’m going to give you my 10 tips all at once. Then below I’ll expand on each one.

  • Read the entire job description (and don’t flunk this test.)
  • In your first line, acknowledge you read it.
  • Give the client a free tip (but not how most freelancers do.)
  • Share only the single most similar project.
  • Write a personal, well-written, sentence.
  • Include everything the client needs in your proposal.
  • Find the perfect budget by using Upwork’s job history.
  • Keep your proposal to under 500 words.
  • Respond to all messages within 12 hours.
  • Don’t live and die by each proposal.

So, how do you implement each of these quickly? Let’s go through each one.

1. Read the Entire Job Description (Don’t Flunk This Test)

Too many people skim through listings before applying. Don’t make this mistake. Overlooking a key detail, such as the common “read the full description test” that clients sneak into their posts, is one of the most common ways clients filter out careless applicants. Carefully reading descriptions will also help you create more relevant proposals.  

2. Get a Client’s Attention in the First Line

It’s not enough just to read the job description – you need to make it clear you read and understood what the client wants.

Some clients ask applicants to answer a specific question or include a keyword in their bid proposal. If a client asks you to do this, then great, but it’s also a good idea to start tour bid by summarizing what the client is looking for.

For example, if you are bidding on a job to write SEO blog posts for an artisan coffee company and the client mentions in their job post that they want to hire a freelance writer who is passionate about coffee, then you’re going to want to highlight this in your profile.

Hi Client, I noticed you’re looking for someone who’s passionate about coffee. I’ve tried every coffee and espresso contraption on the face of the earth (my favorite is still my Aeropress) and have even started a blog about my love of coffee which you can read about here.

You may not have the exact experience or interests that are outline in the post, and you don’t want to lie or exaggerate about your passions, but it’s important to highlight the relevant experience and interest that you do have for the subject quickly. When clients have a lot of applicants, they often will only get to see the first line of your bid when scanning your proposal. A client is more likely to click on your bid if they can see you’ve taken the time to acknowledge what they are looking for.  

3. Give the Client a Preview of Your Expertise by Offering a Free Tip

Like most people, your potential clients are probably tired of clickbait links, sleazy salesmen, and self-appointed gurus who will do and say anything to get in their wallet. They’re looking for real solutions. You can prove you’re capable of providing this, instead of just claiming it like 99% of freelancers by offering helpful suggestion.  

Make sure your tip is framed in a positive way, never belittle the client’s existing work. Here’s an example:

Upwork proposal sample

Hi Client, I noticed you’re looking to increase page speed and are on WordPress. One of my all-time favorite tools for this is WP Rocket. I noticed you’re not using it on your site and adding it will instantly help your page speed score by lazy loading your videos and other content. I helped X client do this on their website and it was an easy way to improve their ranking by speeding up their site.

Remember, your expertise might seem normal to you, but offering something simple can be really valuable to the client.

4. Find the Most Similar Work in Your Portfolio to the Client’s Project and Send Only That

Clients are looking for specific skill set. Relevant examples are worth 10x more than generic ones. To instantly earn a potential Upwork client’s confidence, show them examples of projects that align with the requested work. This will make it clear that you can get their specific job done. It doesn’t take an extensive portfolio to do this. You can even do this with your first client. Here are some ways you can do this if it’s your first job:

  • A client wants a copywriter to write up a business plan for their company. You can compile a marketing plan for another organization (real or otherwise) in the client’s industry and include it in your message.  
  • The project involves designing a custom spreadsheet. Creating a sample that fits the requirements of the project and attaching it to your proposal will prove that you have the necessary know-how for the job.  
  • The client has a video that requires some visual effects work. Find similar content and add those effects to the footage before sending it along with your pitch.

These are some ways to give the client an example of your work when you don’t have a ton of experience. It doesn’t have to take a long time to show the client your work quality. Even a newbie can do this.

5. Avoid Using Form Replies – Upwork Clients Can Smell Templates From a Mile Away

Look at things from the client’s perspective. Your job proposal is going to be one of many. 90% of your competition is going to use a template. Your potential clients can spot these shortcuts from a mile away; you’re better off not taking them.   One personal, well-written, sentence on Upwork is a more effective proposal than the a 5000-word template.

6. Pretend Your Upwork Profile Doesn’t Exist, Send Clients What They Ask For Directly

Most freelancers expect clients to do too much work. The truth is a client will likely never see your Upwork profile.

So even if you have the same work in your profile, it’s important to show Upwork clients your work, experience, and testimonials directly in the DMs you send them.

This not only ensures they’ll see what you want them to, it shows the client you’re willing to take work off their plate by answering questions and requests they have directly. If the client wants to see your portfolio or examples of past work, then add them to your message. Avoid taking the opposite route and laying out expectations like “see my profile.”  

Aim to make it as quick as possible for a client to identify you as the most suitable candidate. Reducing the tedium of screening applicants makes you more likable. One of my favorite books:  How to win friends and influence people is a must-read if you want to learn more about the methods that win potential clients over.

7. Use Upwork’s Job History to Propose the Perfect Budget

Take a moment to run through the job history of any client you want to work with. This should give you an idea of what they see as an appropriate budget for the project in question. You’ll obviously want to be wary of clients who pay bargain basement prices for work.

Even the most spectacular proposal can be rendered worthless if it’s attached to an unreasonably high price tag. Severely undercutting the competition is no good either. Rates that fall too far below the average indicate a lack of confidence and respect for your work.  

8. Keep Your Initial Proposal Message to Under 500 Words

Popular job postings attract a lot of interest, and some clients will be inundated with proposals within an hour of posting a job. Assuming you have done enough to persuade the client to open your proposal, the last thing you want to do is bore them into a coma with a long, rambling essay about why you are the right man or woman for the job.

Keep your proposal succinct and to the point.  

  • Start by acknowledging what they are looking for.
  • Show off your expertise and provide evidence to show you’re a good fit for the role
  • End your proposal with a call to action. Invite them to discuss the job further, via telephone or Zoom, if possible.  

Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. The more you waffle, the less likely the client is to reply to your proposal.  Remember, you can always say more later, once you’ve started a conversation with the client. 

9. Respond to Messages as Fast as You Can (Within 12 Hours)

On Upwork, fast and friendly is better than slow and perfect. Your proposals don’t need to be overly stuffy. Focus on being responsive. Keep your language professional but friendly. Be engaging and approachable. Ideally, you want this proposal to lead to a long-term working relationship, so an engaging, friendly, yet professional approach helps reassure the client you are a freelancer they can work with on other projects.  

Download the app on your phone, and get good at replying to Upwork clients quickly.

10. Don’t live and die by each Upwork proposal, enjoy the process.

Remember, creating a winning Upwork proposal takes practice and patience.  Make sure you don’t give up on the process.

Play to win, but enjoy the fun – David Ogilvy

When you pitch too hard, you turn clients away (and are less likely to continue practicing).

Often times, this can be a simple mindset shift. Instead of asking yourself how you can sell clients on your Upwork proposal, ask yourself how you can help the client – regardless of whether you land the work.

Bonus: Now That You’ve Created Your Best Upwork Proposal, Send it to More Clients

Upwork is a great place to find leads quickly, but what do you do when you’ve already reached out to all of the high-quality jobs on Upwork?

I recommend you supplement your Upwork process by reaching out to other companies who need your help outside of Upwork.

The best way to do that is to reach out to companies that need your skills right now. But how do you find these opportunities?

Until now, you had to do pain-staking prospecting by yourself.

But with Folyo’s Web Design, Web Development, and WordPress Leads Newsletters, you can get qualified leads sent directly to your inbox in minutes. It only takes a few minutes to review each week, which means it will pair perfectly with your existing Upwork proposal process. If you’re a graphic designer or web designer I strongly recommend you check it out below.

10x the number of proposals you send each week. Get a free sample by clicking here .

writing proposal upwork

Reliable lead generation isn't just difficult. It’s downright nearly impossible to find great leads each month that are both a fit for your agency and looking to hire a team like yours. That's why Folyo exists. We send the 500+ best web design / development RFPs each year. You get instant access to a pool of great hot leads, on autopilot for less than a cup of coffee. Learn more and try Agency Leads PRO today.

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indy university

How to Write a Winning Upwork Proposal?

Josh Cordray

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 to grow your freelance business.

Why Upwork could boost your freelance success

What Is an Upwork Proposal?

An Upwork proposal is like a business proposal or cover letter. This is where you highlight your key offerings and how you make this a successful project. An Upwork proposal should be short and concise and explain why an Upwork client should choose you over others.

Some job posts will require applicants to answer a series of specific questions instead of requiring full cover letters. Answer these questions first before writing your proposal to avoid unnecessary duplicate information.

Why Are Upwork Proposals Important?

With the number of freelancers on Upwork constantly increasing, getting yourself noticed has become more difficult than ever. Each job posting 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 Upwork proposals come into the picture. Each freelancer can write a proposal and stand out from the rest of the freelancers bidding on the job posting. The key to landing projects on Upwork is to stand out and get noticed, which will only happen if you write winning proposals .

This is how you can land your first gig on Upwork and land jobs in the future:

Answer These Questions with Your Proposal

Keys to upwork proposal success

We'll talk about how to write convincing Upwork proposals in a minute. But first, you need to ensure that it answers the following questions.

Can You Do the Project?

The biggest question a client will have is if a candidate can do the job. If you're unsure about your ability to solve their problem and meet the client's goals, save everyone some time and move on to another job.

Every client is different and has unique project requirements. For example, all "web development" projects may seem similar in the feed, but each client’s 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.

writing a winning upwork proposal

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 its marketing team already has a lot on its 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 Upwork proposal should communicate that you will go the extra mile to help the client succeed.

Top Tips to Write a Winning Proposal and Get Your First Client

Your proposal plays a vital role in increasing your chances of getting a client. Here are a few helpful tips on how to write Upwork proposals to increase your chances of getting shortlisted by a client.

writing proposal upwork

Need a proposal for a potential client?

Create a professional proposal in minutes with Indy’s Proposals tool. Use your logo and branding, add terms, and include portfolio items.

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.

Use your cover letter to ask questions about anything you're unsure of. This will show your client that you actually read the job description and are not afraid to seek clarification to get on the same page as your client.

Give a Tip for Free

An effective way to break the ice and engage the client is by offering a helpful free tip. For instance, if the client is using an outdated method, suggest a better alternative.

Just be careful not to include clickbait links or intentionally belittle the client's existing work. Frame your tip positively. This advice will act as a demo of what you have to offer.

You may be solving a problem the client did not realize he/she had, which will put you at the top of the shortlist of candidates.

giving a tip for free

Make Your Cover Letter Personalized

If you are using templates for your Upwork proposals, don't just copy-paste all the sections. Upwork proposals are not one size fits all, so you can't use the same proposal for every single job.

The Upwork proposal samples you find should be used as a guide and should sound like they were written by an actual human being. A good proposal is personal to the project, and clients will get turned off by generic cover letters.

Personalize it 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., but everything else should be specific to the particular project.

Tell Why You Are a Good Fit

Your Upwork proposal needs to mention why you are the right fit for the job and why the client should choose you above other freelancers. There may be a ton of other candidates with the same qualifications that are just as competent from the client's perspective. You have to really sell yourself and convince potential clients you are what he/she needs.

However, ensure that you don't talk too much. When writing proposals, include two to four sentences stating what makes you an ideal person for doing the job. Then, move on to how you'll be able to help with the client's project.

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. If you have an extensive resume, mention critical points related to the project. The client doesn't have time to read through all your accomplishments and accolades.

Some clients will ignore long Upwork proposals altogether because it is an indication that the applicant doesn't know how to get to the point and might be a pain to work with.

If you're concerned about the length of your proposal, click here for some proposal examples you can use as a guide. Try to find an Upwork proposal example that is in the same field or niche for the job you are applying for.

Start Strong and End Stronger

creating an upwork proposal

The beginning and end are the most important parts of a proposal. The opening statement should glue the client and encourage them to read it completely. Many applicants will use the "test word" as their openers, but if you can find a creative way to incorporate it into your first sentence, your creativity will impress your client.

The second paragraph should be dedicated to your skills and why the client should hire you.

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.

You can even use a question as a way to prompt your client to move you on to the interview stage, where you can further sell yourself as a great choice.

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.

Avoid overwhelming prospective clients with examples of your work. Nobody has time to look through your entire portfolio. Successful freelancers send examples that are specific to the job description. This is enough to establish your track record.

If you're providing the client with a link to your work, try to categorize or group similar files. This way, your client won't have to sift through a ton of files to find something that relates to the project.

Learn to Let Go

Even if you write the best proposal letter, there is no guarantee that you will get the job. You may reach as far as the interview stage, and the client stops responding. Send a single follow-up message. If there's no response, don't keep messaging your client about the job. There's a strong chance that they saw the first one and have no desire to respond. This desperation reflects poorly on you and does your self-esteem as a freelancer no good.

Perhaps a freelancer with more expertise and experience received the project. But whatever the case, it is important to keep sending proposals for different projects. Don't live and die by each job proposal.

Take the time to learn from your canned proposal. Compare it with different Upwork proposal examples online, and try to spot the faults. Using an Upwork proposal example may help you discover key reasons why a client hired that freelancer. This will help you to write proposals in the future.

four mistakes that kill upwork proposals

Mistakes to Avoid When Creating an Upwork Proposal

typical mistakes of creating a 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

The purpose of writing an Upwork proposal is to let the client know if you can do the job or not. The client doesn't care about your personality, dreams, and hobbies. If your proposal is all about yourself, who you are, and what you can do, you'll lose the client's attention. 

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, 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.

Avoid Unnecessary Fluff

As discussed, your clients have little time, so avoid rambling too much in your proposal. A mistake many Upwork freelancers make is thinking the way to land jobs on Upwork is to send long proposals with every single qualification they have. That's already in your Upwork profile, and your client is more interested in knowing about the task at hand specifically.

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 feel a connection.

Therefore, avoid these two extremes 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 your client might think you're not experienced enough for the job. But, if you bid too high, you might repel the client away if they have a low budget.

Your priority should always be to 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. Otherwise, you will be forced to work for less than you think you're worth.

The best thing you can do is research the industry standards and make a bid that falls within those parameters. Google is always your friend, but you can also browse the jobs posted to see how much clients are paying for a similar project.

Writing great Upwork proposals is the first step to becoming a successful and highly paid freelancer on Upwork. And it's no rocket science. If you aspire to make thousands of dollars on Upwork, you need to master the art of writing good proposals that engage clients. 

By following the proposal tips and rules discussed earlier, you can level up your game and start landing more clients.

Interview prep

preparing for the interview

After writing your winning Upwork job proposal, you'll move on to the Interview stage. You haven't quite gotten the job yet, but the client is certainly interested and wants to hear more from you. Perhaps you need to clarify something from your cover letter or do a test run.

For example, if you're a freelance writer, you may be asked to do a test article before being hired. Or, if you're a freelance graphic designer, you may be required to complete a sort of competency test. In other cases, the client may wish to do a voice of view call to confirm a few things.

Some clients know right away that a candidate will be a good fit based on a good proposal. Instead of conducting an interview, you'll receive an offer straight away.

In preparation for your interview, here are some things you should do to improve your chances of landing your new client:

Check the client's Upwork profile

checking client's profile

Take a few minutes to glance at the profiles of your new clients. While it's not the same as a freelancer Upwork profile, you can still gather useful information, for instance, what other freelancers have had to say about working with him/her. This will help you figure out the best approach, especially if some past freelancers have had anything negative to say.

Reread the project description

You should expect the client to refer to the project description during the interview. You'll be expected to discuss it, so if you can't keep up with the conversation, the client will think you're not serious about the project.

Mic and camera check

Technical difficulties and mishaps are a red flag for a premium Upwork client. You're expected to properly prepare for meeting new clients and be professional.

Prepare for disappointment

The interview stage is a crucial step in the hiring process. However, it may not always go the way you want to. If a client decides to go with someone else, send your best regards on the project. Having a positive attitude can make a client double back and send you a direct invite whenever he/she has another freelancing job that needs to get done.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to get approved on upwork.

It isn't easy to get approved on Upwork, as there are tens of thousands of freelancers with similar skills offering the same services, and that number 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 an Upwork 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, a client might take a few hours to respond.  

Sometimes, new freelancers will be asked to do a trial to prove they can complete the entire job. This is usually paid work, so be sure to bring your A-game.

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

Upwork has no limits on the number of bids you can send in a day. However, you get 60 Connects every month, and sending one proposal costs at least two connects, and sometimes up to 6. So, you can send up to 30 proposals every month.

In some cases, connects are refunded if your proposal was rejected, but usually, there's enough to go around.

If you want to send more, you can always purchase additional connects. 

Should I apply if there are a lot of proposals for a job?

If there are a lot of proposals for a job, it might be a waste of time to apply unless you are 100% sure you have what the client needs. Clients tend to look at proposals in the order in which they appear, and once they find one or two they like, they tend to move forward to the interview stages with those clients.

Applying to a job with 20 to 50 proposals can be a waste of time and connects. You'll have a better chance applying to jobs with "less than 5" or "5 to 10" proposals.

What does client hire rate mean?

Hire rate is one of the few bits of information you can get from a client's Upwork profile. It is based on how likely a client is to hire freelancers after posting new jobs. A high “hire rate” means a client almost always hires freelancers.

How do I know if a client saw my proposal?

The only way you can know if a client saw your proposal is if it was rejected or approved. If you receive a notification saying "a job you submitted a proposal to was closed,” it means someone else was hired, the posting was removed from Upwork, or the client withdrew it without hiring a freelancer.

What happens to my proposal after it is accepted?

When a client accepts your bid, it automatically goes into the 'active candidacy' tab. This means you have been shortlisted and that the client may hire you. Use this opportunity to ask your client questions about the job.

Note that an active candidacy does not mean you were hired. You must wait till after you receive and accept an offer to start any kind of work, even if it is a trial.

Once you receive an offer, you'll likely receive a milestone. This will describe the tasks you must complete in order to be paid. If you don't receive milestones, this means the client intends to pay you by project versus by task.

If you need more clarification on how this works, this article should help.

Is it okay to ask for an update after an interview?

Yes, but only once. If you haven't heard from your client after he/she seemingly confirmed the job with you, go ahead and reach out for an update. You can also reach out for an update if you are unclear about something related to the job or have additional qualifications to provide.

Do not nag clients about sending an offer. You will only turn them away and make yourself look bad.

Never beg for a job, no matter how much you may need it. This gives you a bad rep, and clients aren't interested in doing charity work when it comes to their business. You won't always be a good fit, and you'll just have to accept that.

I just received an invitation to interview. Do I still have to send a proposal?

Yes, proposals are required for all new interactions between clients and freelancers. The good thing about this is that you have a higher chance of being hired, so it takes some of the pressure off sending the perfect proposal.

Use this chance to ask the client more about the job and to highlight the specific skills and experience you think will help make the project a success.

My client is asking about skills tests in the job posting. What does that mean?

Upwork allows freelancers to take a variety of skill tests from various fields to prove their competence to clients. These tests should be taken seriously, so make sure you prepare before starting an Upwork test. If you fail, you may have to wait a few weeks or months to do a retake.

NB: You are not required to display failed tests on your Upwork profile. If you don't do well this time around, hide it on your profile and prepare for your retake. 

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Feb 13, 2024 04:57:40 AM  by  Antonio P

Tips for Making Clients View Your Proposal on Upwork

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  1. How to write an Upwork proposal: 5 tips from an editor

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  2. Upwork proposal sample: secrets to rapidly winning clients

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  3. Upwork proposal sample: secrets to rapidly winning clients

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  1. How To Create a Proposal That Wins Jobs (2024)

    ‍ What is an Upwork proposal? An Upwork proposal gives you the chance to submit a message with your application to convince clients that you're the perfect fit for the job. This quick and concise introduction—similar to a cover letter or an elevator pitch—explains why the client should hire you.

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  4. Upwork Proposal Samples that Get Interviews (2 Templates)

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  12. 7 Upwork Proposal Tips for Beginners from the Experts

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  14. How to Write a Powerful Proposal to Land a Job on Upwork

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  15. How To Create a Proposal That Wins Jobs (2024)

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  16. The Best Upwork Proposal Tips to Get Shortlisted Every Time

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  17. How to Write a Winning Upwork Proposal (Part 1)

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  23. Upwork (UPWK) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

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