Upwork is a great way to jumpstart your freelance writing business.
A couple of months ago, I decided to create an Upwork account and write for clients instead of solely sharing my words on Medium. I dove in head-first and was pleasantly surprised by how exciting, simple, and lucrative Upwork can be. After optimizing my profile, I landed my first gig within two days of being on the platform!
It’s been nearly two months sine my first gig, and I’ve learned a lot throughout the process. One of my biggest takeaways so far is that to land gigs, you have to submit a lot of proposals. After countless rejections, I’ve optimized the Upwork proposal template that gets me more views and lands more gigs.
Let me walk you through it.
The Upwork project:
On Upwork, time is of the essence. There are thousands of freelancers on the platform, so the faster you can submit to a gig, the better chance you have of actually landing it.
After browsing countless health and fitness writing gigs, I stumbled on one titled “Writer Needed For Healthy Eating Blog.” This gig was exactly what I was looking for — ghostwriting 800-word blog posts for a health or fitness blog site. The project’s budget was 11 blog posts for $600, landing me $55 per post.
Screenshot taken by the author.
After thoroughly reading through the project description, it was clear that I could do a great job with this project. I was then ready to submit to the project using my new optimized Upwork proposal template.
The Upwork proposal template:
Although every project on Upwork is a little bit different, I’ve found a lot of success by using this simple, 5-step proposal template.
Screenshot taken by the author.
The first section of the proposal should be direct and to the point. Restate exactly what the potential client is looking for, and then finish it off with something that tells them you can start as soon as possible.
For example, the project description of the gig above noted they were “Looking for help ghostwriting engaging and SEO focused content for an upcoming health blog.” With that in mind, my first sentence essentially restated exactly what they were looking for.
This first section does two things — it shows the client that you actually read the entire project description and demonstrates that you’re serious about doing the work.
2. Why you are a good fit
Next, in 2–3 sentences, describe why you would be a good fit for the project. This specific project noted that “If you have knowledge in this field [fitness] or are already a health-conscious person, then you will be a great fit.”
With that in mind, I tailored this section to highlight my extensive health and fitness writing experience as well as my passion for staying healthy. I also added a sentence about running marathons and triathlons to prove that I’m health-conscious and have significant athletic experience to use if I were to get hired.
3. Previous client review
In section 3, sprinkle in some positive client feedback that you recently received. The key is to ensure that this feedback is relevant to the project you’re submitting for. Additionally, before using any feedback, run it by your client to make sure they’re comfortable with you using it.
Including positive feedback adds an element of social proof and attests that you have a proven track record of doing good, quality work. The feedback I included in my proposal above was from a health and fitness blog that specifically noted my content is engaging and SEO-focused. Not only is this great feedback, but it’s super relevant to the posting of the project I was submitting for.
4. Include relevant samples
Talking about how great you are is one thing, but what clients really want is to see how great you are. Show your potential client just how great your work is by providing hyper-relevant samples of your recent work.
I prefer to link directly to some of my relevant, best-performing Medium articles. However, you could also attach writing samples to the proposal or even link to work that you’ve done for previous clients if they’re comfortable with it.
All this to say, the key is to make sure the samples you provide are similar to the work you’d be doing if hired for the project. If you’re submitting to a business blog but provide samples of your cooking articles, chances are your proposal will be skipped over.
I like my closing statement to be short and sweet. Describe the next steps in the process to hire you for the project. Do you want to connect via IM? Phone? Email?
You’ve already done the heavy lifting with sections 1–4 of the proposal. Gently ease off the gas and close out the proposal in a confident yet simple manner. My go-to is “I’d love to connect further to discuss the details of the project.”
And that’s pretty much it. Your Upwork proposal does not have to be complicated or super long. I’ve actually found that the shorter the proposal, the better chance you have of landing the gig.
This Upwork proposal template has landed me several gigs already and significantly improved my views and interviews. In fact, after using the template on the gig above, I’ve built a great working relationship with the client that has earned me more than $1,000!