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6 Things I Learned from Writing Proposals for Online Writing Sites

Updated on June 14, 2010

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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