6 Things I Learned from Writing Proposals for Online Writing Sites

Put your best foot forward when preparing and submitting proposals for online writing sites

I’m a part-time freelance writer for more than six months now. Although I’m familiar with other bidding sites, I write for eLance.com. I already have a couple of jobs from this site. As with most of the online writing site, the very first step before getting a job is to submit a proposal. I’ve written (and submitted) countless proposals for the past few months and I’m sure I will keep on writing and submitting these proposals. If there’s anything I have learned during these past few months is that the quality of my proposal (as well as the contents) can spell the difference of my getting the job or not.

In this hub, I share some of the lessons I have learned when submitting proposals for online bidding sites. I don’t make a guarantee that this can get you the job, but writing a lousy proposal in the first place will definitely not get you the job. So here are some of the things I learned from writing proposals for online bidding sites:

Make It Simple, Short and Sweet

Don’t write your life story or your whole history in online writing in your proposal. Your potential client will not appreciate reading your long proposal plus he will not really care about your life stories (and histories). Keep your proposal simple and short. I basically include my experience, why I think I can do the job, what’s the rationale behind my bid and how long I can do the job. I try to keep my proposal shorter than the first two paragraphs of this hub.

Customize Your Proposal

Every writing job is different and your proposal should reflect these differences. Do not have a one-size-fits-all type of proposal. Instead, vary your proposal with the requirements of the job. This way, the client will see that you have read his order and requirements and you really do care about getting this job (and not just any job for that matter). Also, you need to emphasize your level of experience commensurate to the job requirements. When I get writing jobs for accounting, my proposal includes my experience as an accountant. When I get writing jobs that are for research and writing, my proposal indicates my writing experience (which is really not that long) and a general idea of what I have written in the past.

Be Professional

Do make sure that your proposal is a professional one. Avoid clichés, slangs, acronyms and smileys (they’re great in the hubpages forum, but not in a proposal). Use simple words to get your message across.

Be Honest

Be truthful. Do not embellish your experience or your qualifications. Write them as they are. If you are new to online writing, say so. If you are new to the type of job you are applying for (like you’re a writer bidding for a research job), state so in your proposal. This is what I did. I make sure to include in my proposal that I am a new provider. But I emphasize that I can do a good quality job for the client. The client appreciated my honesty and rewarded me with the job.

Proofread Your Proposal

I’m sure this is a standard procedure for all writers out there but you have to admit, in your rush to submit a proposal, you forget to proofread your work. The result? A badly written proposal with lots of misspelled words and poor grammar. Read and re-read your proposal before clicking the “submit” or “ok” button. You only get to submit it once so make sure you check the proposal before submitting it.

Include Your Portfolio…

…and your resume. If you’re written quite a number of articles or write-ups, you can include them as your portfolio and attach it to your proposal (make sure though that the articles can be used, some have non-disclosure agreements attached to them). Also, attach your (professionally-done) resume to your bid. Whatever you did not include in your proposal can be found in that resume and the portfolio. One of the things I like about Hubpages is that I sort of made this my portfolio and just refer the client to my page. Your portfolio will basically tell your client what you are good at and if you have a niche where you write best. Just make sure what you include in your portfolio are the really good ones and that your resume is updated.


So there you have it. The six lessons I have learned from all those proposals I have written over the last few months. Submitting well-written, well-edited proposals is like putting your best foot forward. And as I said, they can make or break your bid for the online writing job. I hope these lessons become useful for you as you go about bidding for these jobs. Good luck and may the best proposal win!

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Comments 25 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Thank you ernie, as this will definitely come in handy! I love how you give such great, intuitive advice about freelance writing!


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks dohn. I like your new avatar by the way.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Excellent Hub, Emie - absolutely bang on. You must treat applying for a freelance job just like any other job - professionalism and dedication.

Glad that you are doing well - it can only get better as you develop an excellent reputation.

Hope to see you in Greece when you have earned enough money :D


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Sufi. I'm not exactly doing that well yet, still lose more than 50% of the jobs I submitted proposals on. But those that I do get, I know that they accepted me partly due to my proposal. I already have 5 positive feedbacks =). Hopefully I'll get a lot more by the end of this year.

LOL you haven't forgotten about Greece. Don't worry, maybe in 20 years or so we'll see each other =).


badcompany99 7 years ago

Nice advice my friend and just thought it was time I shifted my lazy ass and read a few of my friends, I wish you a great weekend !


rednckwmn 7 years ago

proofreading seems to be the hardest thing for me. I think you do quite well, thanks for the tips.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

50% is a very good strike rate - when I used to work regularly on oDesk, I was happy with 1 in 4!

Good work on the feedbacks - a just reward for your hard work :)

Must second Badco's words - I have been very busy, but should try to make some time to catch up on a few Hubs!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I have considered trying elance more seriously, but I have as of yet to try. These tips are really good for anyone getting started emievil :).


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

BC, thanks. Glad to see you back to your old self again.

DM, I agree with you, especially if you're the one who wrote it and proofread it at the same time. Sometimes, before submitting a proposal, I go out and rest my eyes for a few seconds then go back and proofread what I wrote.


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Sufi, thanks. I cut the strike rate because nowadays, I'm more choosy with the jobs I bid on. Not because I'm good but because I have a lot of other things to do and I just want those jobs I can actually do and enjoy at the same time =).

SweetiePie, you should try it. I'm planning to try oDesk by October =). Unfortunately, I can't get into some of the writing sites because they are limited to those from the US. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. See you in eLance.


juhi basoya profile image

juhi basoya 7 years ago

Great hub emievil. Informative and to the point. Am off to read some more of your hubs now. All the best with your writing.


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks juhi. Hope to see you around.


cluense profile image

cluense 7 years ago from Cartersville, GA

Thank You again for the wonderful information. I look forward to more of your freelance writing tips.

However, could you please publish a hub on "How to write a Freelance writers resume" Please and Thank You.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

You gave such great, sound advice on all of things to consider when writing a solid, on-line proposal. I'm sure that many of us (including myself) will be able to benefit from this. Thanks, ernie!


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks for the comment cluense. I'll try to come up with a hub on freelance writers resume. Just a heads up, if you go to any of the online writing sites, you can build up your resume online and your portfolio too.

Thanks dohn for the comment.


mommyfreelancer profile image

mommyfreelancer 7 years ago from Philippines

I agree 100%! :)


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks mommyfreelancer. Love your avatar. Beautiful eyes. You make me miss Starbucks more LOL. =)


Katelyn Weel profile image

Katelyn Weel 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I just signed up with eLance, this article is exactly what I was looking for to help me write my first proposal. Off to work now.. thanks!


emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines Author

You're welcome Katelyn and good luck!


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

What a great hub! I have this bookmarked because I will eventually do exactly as you have described here. Not sure I have much to offer as far as a portfolio, so I guess I need to work on that part first.


emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Duchess. I'm still developing my own portfolio but right now, HubPages is my portfolio :).


PWalker281 6 years ago

Great advice. I'm on elance too and have yet to get selected for a job, but I keep on writing those proposals :-).


emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks PWalker. Keep on submitting proposals, you'll get your first job and when you do, I bet you'll be in a roll. Good luck.


WillSteinmetz profile image

WillSteinmetz 5 years ago

Very detailed, professional and awesome hub. Love the way you right and your ideas are clear.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Good article, voted up and shared!

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