What Is an Upwork Proposal? 

An Upwork proposal gives the chance to submit a message with an application to convince clients that you are the perfect fit for the job. This quick and brief introduction—similar to a cover letter—explains why the client should hire you. It allows you to spark a client’s interest in your services and mention vital points on how you can solve their problem. Moreover, proposals are one of the most vital parts of landing projects through Upwork’s global work marketplace. Crafting a detailed and well-written Upwork proposal is the primary way to convince new clients to interview you for their project. It is the first step in connecting with a potential client, and your proposal must be designed to get a client’s attention. 

The platform displays thousands of new jobs every day for a wide variety of skill sets. Upwork’s work marketplace serves as a great source of potential projects. The volume of posted jobs might seem like you are likely to land work, but remember that other freelancers using this platform are also competing for those same jobs. 

Furthermore, if you work hard and build a reputation on Upwork, it would be a great possibility that you no longer need to bid for jobs because clients are coming to you asking for your help on projects. Hence, until you reach that point, it is highly important to perfect your Upwork proposal and improve your pitch. 

What Is an Upwork? 

Upwork is a freelancing platform—basically one of the biggest around. Freelancers sign up and create a profile that highlights the skills they have to offer. Clients, who are mostly business owners, startup people, entrepreneurs, post jobs on Upwork when they need help getting a job done. In addition to this, Upwork is a marketplace for freelancers in fields like writing, graphic design and web development. The site helps professionals find projects, communicate with clients and get paid. If you are a new freelancer, or working in a new field, you can rack up valuable experience without always having to pitch clients cold. But the site is full of new workers who are willing to take work for a lower rate, which can impact your earning potential.

Generally, Upwork makes it easier to find jobs and make more money, however, consider which gigs you want to apply for. Getting a hang of how the site works can be a bit fuzzy at the beginning but it gets easier as you keep using it. As with most freelancing sites, the work of finding yourself some clients is all on you. Clients will usually post jobs that they want done. You then bid on the jobs you want to work on by sending a proposal to the client. Take note that there are hundreds of jobs to choose from on Upwork. Upwork lists jobs in different categories including Web, Admin Support, Mobile and Software Development, Writing, Design and Creative, IT and Networking, Customer Service, Sales and Marketing, Translation and so much more.  

How Do You Get Paid on Upwork? 

There are two types of contracts on Upwork: hourly and fixed rate. 

Hourly projects are tracked on a weekly basis from Monday to Sunday and it is your responsibility to make sure that every time you work on the hourly project, the time worked is recorded on your work diary. Once the work week is over, the client has bout 5 days to dispute any time recorded. If there are no disputes the money will then be moved to your Upwork account. The funds will be ready for withdrawal after a few days. You can choose to withdraw your money from Upwork via several payment gateways including bank transfer, wire transfer, PayPal. The methods of withdrawal will depend on every country. 

6 Surprising Upwork Proposal Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: 

While the average group is just focused on sending out as many proposals as quickly as possible, some would normally spend less time putting Upwork proposals together. Here some common mistakes and how to avoid them: 

Mistake #1: Thinking You Can’t Charge Higher Than the Client’s Budget 

Every time a client posts a job on Upwork, they have to choose a budget. Most clients do not know what that budget should be. So, they stay on the side of caution because they are worried about overpaying. 

Mistake #2: Focusing on Years of Experience 

Some competitors will start their Upwork cover letters by talking about their previous experience, however, that is not what clients are interested in. So, think about how you make spending decisions. When you check a movie’s reviews, you are not looking for the director’s work history, you want to know if the movie is good. Keep in mind that if you are new to Upwork, clients love to hire freelancers who are enthusiastic, dedicated, and intelligent and it does not matter to them if you have less to zero years of experience. 

Mistake #3: Writing Your Proposal Upside Down 

Almost 34% of Upwork proposals require you to answer one or more additional questions after writing the Cover Letter. Additional Questions are the first thing clients see when they receive your proposal, which means, this makes them even more important than the Cover Letter. 

Mistake #4: Using a Canned Cover Letter in Your Proposal 

Smart clients can spot canned proposals. Even if you are the best freelancer there is, a canned proposal says: 

The reverse is also true. Take note that a client would only hire you especially if she is tired of rolling her eyes through one-size-fits-all kind of proposals. 

Mistake #5: Not Looking the Part 

There is more to a proposal than what one writes. Make sure your profile photo looks competent, likable, and influential. You need to send a great and friendly vibe in order to catch attention. 

Mistake #6: Bidding Too Cheap 

Freelancers who charge too little are not motivated to do good work. They cut corners. This signals all sorts of problems to a good client. They know that cheap work is one of the most expensive things they can buy. Freelancers are always rushing to move on to the next job. Then, the client is forced to sink more time and money into cleaning up the disaster. Amateur freelancers think all clients are attracted to low prices but professionals know that high quality clients want high quality work, and they are willing to pay you well to do it.

How to Start Working on Upwork? 

When creating your profile make sure that you focus on showing the client why hiring you is the best decision they will ever make. Your success on Upwork relies on creating a moving and compelling profile that will make clients see you as a highly skilled professional. 

Think of your Upwork profile as a resume or marketing brochure. Highlight your professional skills, experience, portfolio, education, certificates (if there are any), and accomplishments.Complete your profile all the way to the end. Add a professional looking photo, create a catchy title, and write a powerful and sensible description that shows the value that you will offer to your client.Add a portfolio showcasing your past work. Mention your educational background and list your previous experience. Do not forget to take various tests in your skills set. All this information will act as proof of your expertise and convince clients that you are the perfect candidate for the job.Do not forget grammar. Make sure your profile is grammatically correct and error free regardless of the area of expertise you are interested in. Good grammar is not just expected from writers and bloggers but from anyone who considers themselves a professional.

How to Write a Winning Upwork Proposal:

Writing a proposal is very easy, if you know how to structure it. Here is the exact structure to use for your proposal: 

Step 1: Restate Their Core Problem 

Restate the customer’s problem to them using their own words. For instance, “I see that you need help offloading and upgrading some of your financial processes in your expanding business.” There are a couple reasons why it is necessary that this be first. You have to discuss everything with your client and make sure to have a wider understanding about what they are looking for. 

Step 2: Tell Them You Can Start Right Away to Help Them Solve Their Problem 

This should be the only section of your proposal that you rarely change. Literally tell them, “I can help you with that, and I can start right away”. The key here is that the client is looking for someone to help with a problem they currently have. They want a solution, and they want it fast. By telling them you want to help them and that you can get started right away, you are providing a vision of a solution on the horizon, and that is exactly what they want. 

Step 3: Tell Them Why You Are a Good Fit 

In this section, write two or three sentences on why you are a good fit. It does not need to contain a lot of words for the sake of being lengthy. Just plainly and concisely tell them why you are the best fit. That’s it. 

Step 4: Describe the Process You Will Guide Them Through 

This is the section that ranges the most for you. Depending on how particular the requirements were in the job posting, you will spend anywhere from two sentences to two paragraphs explaining the path that you will guide them down. Give them a glimpse into the process that you are going to walk them through. In addition, if you are going to elaborate on any of the sections of your proposal, this is where you can get away with a little bulk. Tell them the first few steps you would go through with them. 

Step 5: Attachments 

A well-designed and well-documented onboarding process, or example will go a long way in building your credibility. Make sure you attach your portfolio so your clients can check on your previous works.


How Do I Get My First Upwork Client?

Competition can be challenging, especially for new freelancers who are just starting out. Testing different cover letter options is a vital step at the beginning of freelancing journey and separates those who land their first gig from those who give up. Without an effective proposal, some may end up sending out dozens of proposals, only for all of them to be ignored. When it all comes down to it, getting your first client requires you to write a compelling proposal. Make sure to do your own research and get ideas on the internet.

How Long Should a Proposal Be?

Always aim for brief, clean, and concise writing. A proposal doesn’t need to be lengthy as long as it confirms you understand the problem and shows that you can solve it. Normally, everything you need can be expressed in three short paragraphs. Clients do not have the time to read lengthy proposals with details that are unrelated to their challenges. Long proposals will just end up to not being able to convince anyone, as almost no one will take the time to read them.

What Is the Best Format for an Upwork Proposal?

The proposal should be specifically tailored to each unique project. The format for an Upwork proposal is very similar to writing a traditional cover letter. By focusing more on what the project needs rather than coming up with a clear-cut template, you will be able to craft better patterns and sequences in your proposals that could convince the client to hire you.

Why do People Choose Upwork Freelancing?

Most of the time, people choose a career out of need. Hence, flexibility is the main cause of choosing freelancing as a career as one can easily set his or her own schedule. He or she do not need to work for a definite time in every day as it is done in full-time salaried jobs. Per statistics, 78 percent of freelancers say that a regular working freelancer earns more than the traditional employment within a year or less. Which means, earning more money is an important cause of freelancing.

Online platforms like Upwork have made freelancing easier than before. As most of the freelancing works can be found easily on online platforms, the workers become more attracted by this profession. People can only create accounts and search for jobs. No one has to search for any job in person and Upwork’s platform works as a very essential tool in this regard. The Upwork working system of freelancers is different from the working system of the clients. From the client’s perspective, the point of your proposal is finding the freelancer that can best help them. When you quickly get to the issues the client really cares about, you significantly increase your chances of landing that job. When going up against more than a dozen freelancers trying to secure the same project offer, it is likely that your proposal will only have a few seconds to leave an impression before the client moves on to another. This means that writing some catchy first few sentences is vital to making sure your proposal does not get ignored. 

Remember, showing understanding of the client’s goals and job description is very important. The first few sentences should confirm that you fully understand what the client needs. Potential clients on Upwork want to know you are going to be in their corner. They want to know you have the right skills and are ready to help them succeed. Always start by either repeating the core problems or commenting on something about the job. You need to show that you have taken the time to read the project description thoroughly and that you have got the necessary expertise.