How to Write a Freelance Proposal

You’ve found a freelance job that you like and you really want to impress a potential client.

How do you do that?

Sending them a personalized pitch is obviously important, but what should you include?

A client would want to know why they should give you a chance and trust you. So, you’d want them to be impressed with your experience and work.

Just sending a two sentence email will probably not work. 

A pitch gives you the chance to summarize all the important benefits you can bring to the table.

It needs to be tailored to that particular project – don’t come up with a generic document that you can tweak slightly and submit to each proposal.

If you’re just getting started with your freelance career and you’d like to know what the perfect pitch looks like, you’re in luck.

Here are some key points you need to focus on, if you want to land a higher percentage of projects in the future.

How to Structure Your Freelance Pitch

There isn’t a universal formula to follow when you’re creating a pitch.

In essence, you have to make it relevant and you have to address the main questions that a project listing poses.

Some clients would want to know how you intend to go about the task.

Some would want a focus on why you’re the best person for the job.

You may also have to answer some very specific questions that the client is interested in.

The first thing you need to do before moving forward is read the job listing thoroughly.

Each client has their specifications and requirements for each job.

If you overlook or don’t address these criteria and the pitch you submit is generic, you’ll definitely reduce your chance of landing that project.

Generally speaking, a well-structured freelance pitch needs to have a number of elements:

  • A bit of background, letting the client know how your experience is relevant and why you’re the right person for the job
  • Work samples and portfolio links
  • A bit about the service – what you’re going to do, how you’re going to approach the project, why that particular approach makes the most sense
  • Your prices / rates (check out our guide about setting your rates)
  • Timeline & deliverables (format, footage quality, usage rights, etc.)
  • Revisions and version changes the client can expect for free (if any at all)
  • Due date & milestones and how the payment is going to be broken down according to those
  • A strong closing statement

This list of elements isn’t going to be necessary each time you pitch but most often, you’ll have to feature most of these in your pitch.

Keep in mind that the information you present in a freelance project pitch is crucial.

The way you present is even more important, as it can set you apart from the competition and give you a unique look.

To make your pitch super strong, we usually recommend you follow the parts that are most relevant to you and the jobs –  No one is interested in pages of uninteresting stuff.

Clear and Concrete Language

Clients want to hire experts or people who know what they’re doing.

The language and wording you use in your pitch will deliver a very important message.

That’ll let the client know if you’re confident enough in your skills and ability to meet the project requirements.

Make your pitch concrete and concise. Get to the point. Don’t be vague about your experience and ability to deliver.

Instead, offer specific suggestions and reasons why you should be hired.

Modesty isn’t a good quality to focus on when writing a pitch. On the other hand, the claims you make should be backed by enough evidence like your portfolio or former client testimonials.

Always use a soft tone and proper formatting. You’re not writing an essay, but it should make sense.

Bullet points that present your professional experience will give a prospect all of the important details quickly.

Such a format also makes the pitch easy to scan through and focus on the most important elements.

Feature your biggest strengths at the top of the proposal. This way, the client wouldn’t have to go through pages of text until they get to the relevant information.

Be assertive and always have a strong opening and closing statement.

The perfect opening statement gets the client excited about hiring you and the right closing statement stimulates them to get in touch and ask additional questions.

So, you should always be open to communication and ready to discuss additional details.

Avoid the Pitching Clichés

Growing your freelance business isn’t easy – Clients have lots of options when it comes to picking freelancers today.

Most clients are looking for quality at a reasonable price.

They’re also looking for confident freelancers who have the talent and the experience to deliver beyond their expectations or at least meet them.

Proving you are the right person for the job includes avoiding the clichés.

Each project on Upwork or Fiverr has tens, and even hundreds of submissions sometimes.

So, you’ll never stand out if you use a standard format or banal statements.

There are so many pitch clichés to avoid.

“Highly experienced professional, spotless reputation, timely delivery,” may be exactly what you have to offer but the wording is so boring that you’ll never get to impress.

Don’t tell your potential client that you’re a perfectionist. Include samples that make that statement.

Don’t tell them your work is unique, unparalleled or that you’ll deliver beyond expectations.

Instead tell them why your proposal is unique – maybe because of your background or because of a large project you completed recently.

The more specific and precise your statements are, the better.

It’s also a good idea to avoid lots of professional jargon and terminology.

While you may think that those phrases make you sound like a rockstar freelancer, they actually tell clients very little.

Stick to simple language but make every word in the pitch count.

Be Careful with Humor

Cracking a joke in the beginning of a pitch is a great way to break the ice but such an approach can easily backfire.

There’s a simple reason why – humor is subjective. The things you consider funny could be boring or even worse – offensive to some people.

Unless you’re familiar with the culture of the company you’re sending the pitch to stay away from jokes.

You risk featuring a humorous statement that’s somewhat clichéd, that the potential client wouldn’t get or that they’ll be insulted by. Such risks aren’t really worth taking.

Instead of trying to be funny, keep the language light and casual.

This kind of wording will make you seem approachable while the content of the proposal itself will speak about your professional qualities.

Tell the Client How You’ll Handle Their Project

If you don’t have a lot of experience pitching, you’ll feel tempted to throw everything but the kitchen sink in your proposal.


Clients aren’t interested in your entire resume or the long list of projects you worked on.

They want to know how your know-how is going to match the specific requirements of their project.

That’s exactly what a pitch should feature.

Refrain from listing every single course and qualification you have. If you’re giving project examples, make sure they’re similar to what the client wants.

Also, include a bit of information about how you’re going to approach that specific project, a timeline, how you’ll accomplish and what they should expect.

This shows them that you’ve gone through their project listing or brief carefully. It demonstrates attention to detail and the desire to come up with a custom document for that specific client. 

A good pitch takes some time to perfect.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it perfect the first few times you try.

Focus on relevance and personality. These two elements will always work in your favor, especially when you know that many freelancers don’t take the time to customize their pitches. 

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