I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago on how to get your Upwork account approved (you can check it out here if you haven’t already).
I received a lot of positive feedback from Kenyan freelancers about that post, a sign that many people were struggling with getting their Upwork accounts approved, and needed some help.
My favourite feedback was this one:
I almost teared up when I read this (don’t mind me, I get a tad emotional over positive feedback).
Some of the readers, like the freelancer above, implemented the tips I shared and managed to get their Upwork accounts approved.
They soon realized that getting the account approved was the easy part. The hard part was landing clients, and not just any clients; the kind of clients that one can rely on for constant flow of work as well as fair pay.
To be honest, it is not only the Upwork newbies who need help with writing gig-winning proposals. Even freelancers who have been on the platform for some time are having a hard time nailing how to write effective proposals.
Other than frustration for not getting any work coming your way, you also run the risk of being kicked out of the platform because you are not landing any gigs.
Upwork usually monitors how many proposals you have submitted and how many of these have led to contracts. If all of your bids are being rejected, then this is a sign to the quality management guys that you are not a good fit for this market place.
Imagine having worked that hard to get your account approved, only for you to be thrown out because no client is accepting your bids. What a shame!
So, how do you ensure that your bids are up to snuff?
Well, let’s start with the golden rule of effective bidding on Upwork:
Don’t copy paste proposals!
The biggest mistake you can make while bidding on Upwork is to copy paste proposals.
Regardless of how similar two jobs seem to be, never copy a proposal you have written for one job, and use it for one that you are currently applying for.
You are going to get caught because what you are essentially doing is spamming, and this is a SIN on Upwork. Some clients will even report your proposal as spam. If this happens multiple times, your account will most definitely be suspended. Remember, Upwork’s first priority is its clients, and the platform will not hesitate in suspending you for being a nuisance.
Other than the spamming issue, copy-paste proposals are hardly ever successful because they don’t address the particular needs that the client has articulated in his/her job description.
They are often general, and miss the point completely. They are non-aligned to the job description, and a complete waste of time for the client.
If you can’t demonstrate that you understand the client’s needs, your proposal is trashed.
This leads us to another crucial tip:
Always read the job description before writing the proposal.
The only way you can write a gig-landing proposal is by reading the job description thoroughly in order to understand what the client wants from you as a freelancer.
Once you know what they are after, then you can be able to craft a proposal that accurately demonstrates your ability to meet these needs.
That’s what the proposal is for- to show the client that you understand what he/she wants and that you have the skills and the aptitude to deliver exactly that!
Which brings me to another point: use the client’s keywords when writing out your proposal.
Doing this helps the client ascertain that you have indeed read the job description, and you know exactly what they want. It also proves that you are on the same wavelength with the client, and that your skills meet the requirements i.e you are an expert at handling such tasks.
For instance, this was the job description for one of my best contracts on Upwork:
It’s a short job description but one that is loaded with keywords that most definitely needed to be in the winning proposal.
These keywords include:
– short reviews
– Native English Speaker
I won the bid for the job, and this was the proposal that I wrote:
As you can see above, I have mentioned the keywords he used in the job description. I alluded to the fact that I am a Native English Speaker by letting him know that I was going to deliver work with perfect grammar and spelling.
But, that is not the only thing that I did. If mentioning the keywords was all I did, he would still have questions about my capabilities. He still would not be able to connect the dots.
I needed to seal the deal comprehensively. So, I did the next best thing; I went further by expounding on each keyword.
Doing so demonstrates that I have profound knowledge, expertise, and experience in this area. I can relate this job to others I have done in the past and as he reads my proposal, he is gaining confidence in my skills.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I won this particular contract.
That is basically how I have managed to land contracts consistently throughout my tenure on Upwork (it’s been two years btw; LinkedIn is counting).
None of my proposals are generic. They are all personalized and speak directly to the job description.
I write each proposal from scratch, and give each its own unique twist so that the client knows that I have taken time to understand what he or she needs.
To summarize, here are my tips on how to write gig-winning proposals:
1. Don’t copy paste proposals
2. Read the job description thoroughly before submitting the proposal
3. Use the clients’ own words in your proposal
4. Expound on each keyword separately but concisely
5. Write each proposal from scratch
6. Keep the client engaged
With these few tips, you should be able to improve your bidding on Upwork significantly.
If you are still having some trouble, please do not hesitate to contact me so that I can offer you personalized assistance, for a small fee of course!!:)..
Seriously though, it’s only Ksh 1200, and I will be able to answer all of your questions regarding bidding on Upwork, I will send over more samples of how I have landed other clients on the platform, as well as guide you on how to avoid some of the bidding mistakes I made when I was starting out.
I will also share with you how to identify bad clients before submitting a bid, and how to end a contract professionally (separate from the offer above but also very important so that you don’t go through what I had to go through).
Anyway, have fun guys, and if you have any Upwork related questions, please do reach out, and I will help where I can. Keep winning!!