Freelance Proposal Template: Ideas and Samples for Sending Proposals

Freelance Proposal Template

Probably one of the most time consuming aspects of being a freelance writer is that you’ve got to be constantly marketing yourself. This is especially true in the beginning of your career before you land a few long term clients.

We’ve gotten a few questions as to whether we can provide a freelance writing template. Well, the answer is both yes and no. First of all, each of your clients will have different needs. There’s really no such thing as a one size fits all proposal for clients, particularly on sites like Upwork and Fiverr. But there are a few things that remain constant, so once you get the hang of it, the process of applying to jobs gets a lot faster and a lot easier. Here are a few ideas for sending proposals which will land the freelancing jobs you want.

Freelance Proposal Writing: The Basics

Over the course of your career as a writer, you’ll need to send a few types of proposals. You may want to pitch a book to a publisher, to suggest a story idea to a newspaper, or apply to a job advertised on a career search website. But according to Forbes, freelancers now make up 35% of the population, so you’ve got quite a bit of competition. You need to make your proposal better than the other applicants’, and if you’re planning to use a template, remember that those other freelancers are, too.

When you begin freelancing, you may be simply searching for lower paying gigs on Upwork or Fiverr – something to get a few 5 star ratings so that you can move on. In this case, it’s generally okay to use a template for your proposal. Most of those clients are searching for a writer who can write sentences which make sense, and that can communicate well with them.

But as you progress in your career, you’ll need to step up your proposal game a bit. Clients can smell a form letter before you even hit “send.” In fact, on Upwork, clients are given a drop-down menu to reject you, and one of the options is “recycled cover letter.” Don’t find yourself automatically deleted because you’re sending the same cover letter to each client.

Instead, use your proposal to show your personality. Pay attention to the tone of the job description, and match that tone. Find something that you have in common with the client, as well.

“I see that you live in Madeira! My family is from Portugal, and it’s my dream to visit some day!”

Just as you don’t want boring coworkers, neither do your clients want to work with someone who they don’t feel comfortable communicating with. We know that you’re a fun, communicative person – show your clients that in your proposal.

Freelance Proposal Template: Upwork

One type of proposal that you’ll come across is sent through Upwork. The Upwork proposal doesn’t work in the way you think it might. When you click to apply to a job, you’ll have the opportunity to write a cover letter, followed by the requirement to answer any supplemental questions the client may have. Here’s what you need to know: the client will see your cover letter last.

What your client is most interested in seeing is the answers to the specifically crafted questions that he developed about this job. Your cover letter, whether you spend four minutes on it or forty, will be all the way at the bottom of your application when the client views it. That said, it would serve you well to spend the most time tailoring your answers to these supplemental questions, and using the cover letter field for basic information about yourself.

Secondly, there’s no need to reiterate what you’ve stated about yourself in your Upwork profile when sending an application. When you apply to a job, your profile will be easily accessible to the client. Instead, use your cover letter to show your personality, to let your client know how you can help him, specifically, and what particular experience you bring to this job.

Freelance Proposal Template: Email

There will be times when you come across a call for writers that’s too good to pass up. Or maybe you stumbled across a story idea and want to pitch it to a specific publication. You’ll need to send them a query, and this is usually done via email. There are a few things you need to remember.

First of all, you’ll need to address the correct person. Instead of sending your pitch to, you’ll want to send a direct email to You’ll also want to address that person by name within the email, so do your research if necessary.

Remember that these editors sometimes get hundreds of emails each week, so make your email stand out. It’s important to address the recipient by name, but it’s equally important to keep your email short and to the point. Again, there’s not really a freelance proposal template, but your query should contain a few key points:

  • Address the recipient by name
  • Introduce yourself briefly – one to two sentences, tops! This introduction should explain why you’re qualified to write this piece.
  • Give a brief outline of the piece you’d like to write. Explain, in short, how it would fit into the culture of the publication, or benefit readers.
  • Link to your portfolio (you do have one, right?), and offer to send additional writing samples, if necessary.
  • Thank the client for her time, sign off, and go about your day.

Easy-peasy, right? Right!

Freelance Proposal Dos and Don’ts

Alright, so we’ve talked about the basic types of freelance proposals. You know that there’s a time and place to use a freelance proposal template. What else do you need to know? Here are a few more pointers before you go write your winning proposals.

  • Don’t write incessantly about yourself. Instead, focus on telling the client what you can do for him.
  • Do briefly outline similar projects you may have completed in the past, as they are relevant experience.
  • Don’t write verbose queries; no publisher has time to read your life story. Keep it simple.
  • Do read the full job description. Sometimes, on sites such as Upwork or PeoplePerHour, clients will throw in a buzz word that you have to include in your response. This isn’t to trick you. These clients get hundreds of spam proposals, and they want to know that you’re for real.

Good luck! Be sure to let us know what’s worked for you in your freelance proposals!

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