Advice From An Elancer (Volume 9)e_darrellj | Jul 17, 2013
Welcome to Advice From An Elancer – a place to ask your Elance questions (through Elance’s LinkedIn page) and get them answered as thoroughly and personally as possible. My name is Dorothy D. and I have worked with Elance as a freelancer since April 2009. I have always tried to help other Elancers understand how things work and how to accomplish more. This week I would like to take some time to address the issue of writing proposals.
Many Elancers talk about their issues with writing “the perfect proposal”. If you Google search “perfect freelance proposal” you will get over 39 billion hits in just over a half second. The articles include essential steps, elements of the proposal, creating a “magnetic” proposal and on and on.
Can we talk? Because I have the answer to the question “How do you write a perfect freelance proposal?” Do you want to know? The answer is that you can’t. There is no perfect proposal. Every client is different and is looking for different things, therefore there can be no one perfect proposal. Most people advise serious proposals with specific information in each one. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Read the tone of the client’s proposal and echo it. There is no magic spell for a winning proposal. Just write a unique, genuine proposal for each and every job. You never know how it will work out.
Take a look at this job listing and my winning proposal for my ninth job won on Elance out of my total of 124.
Job Listing (edited for length)
WHAT I NEED:
More sleep. But even more than that, I need 2 - 4 sentence-long copy to accompany about 200 products on my website. If you don't have a calculator handy, that's about 400 - 800 sentences. At 10 words a sentence that works out to about...let's see...20 times that...then, hmm...carry the one, divided by 3...Oh, I'd say about 4000 - 8000 words total.
If you're still reading this, that means I haven't scared you off yet, which is a good thing. Our future as a team is looking pretty bright already.
I run an niche ecommerce website where I sell shippable products. Because of this, I need someone who can work reasonably fast. And of course, someone who truly LOVES TO WRITE. I mean, literally LOVES it. Like, you would marry it if it were legal in your state. (Ok, I went overboard on that one).
Let me stress that I'm not talking about boring product descriptions here. There's much more to it than. It's a simple project, but the nuances of it are too lengthy to explain here. I promise you this, though: If you like creative writing--writing where you can let your personality and voice shine through--you'll love this project. (I think you'll get a kick out of the products I sell, too).
My winning proposal:
You had me at "More sleep". By the time I finished reading your first paragraph I wondered if I had somehow sleep written your job posting. Seriously. Okay, not seriously, but it was pretty close to my style.
I love writing. I left my boring, lifeless job to pursue my writing. This job posting is the first one that really sounds like FUN. I know that I can create the catchy, edgy, fun tone that you are looking for to sell your products. *raising hand in the air and whispering "pick me pick me pick me"*
I am attaching a couple of blog posts that show my personality and preferred style of writing. If you visit my profile, you will see that I am a spelling and grammar ace and have written on a variety of topics. If you would like to read any of that serious stuff, let me know and I will upload it for you.
I have a sense of humor, but I am very serious about providing clients with high quality work on schedule. I usually finish well before milestones. I am an overachiever. If you have any questions, feel free to message me.
My proposal won me a fantastic job and first-rate feedback. I did NOT use any of the 39 billion bits of proposal writing advice, other than “never used a canned proposal”. There is no one perfect proposal that will win you a job on Elance. Truth, sincerity, sometimes some humor, correct spelling and grammar, and letting the client know that you understand their job and can do it are pretty much all you need. I’ve never repeated this proposal, but knowing it worked freed me to be more creative. Don’t try to make one-proposal-fit-all. Tap into your creativity and see what happens!
That’s enough for today. If you have questions or want to follow the conversation of other Elancers, visit the Discussion page of our LinkedIn page.