“Writing a proposal that gets chosen over all the other proposals” (from Moment of Legitimacy)

I used to write proposals and not get the gigs, but now I get a lot of gigs. This post has two ideas about writing a proposal when you bid on a freelance gigs. They reflect my own experience. I don’t know if they’re right for everyone, or if they’re even smart, but I humbly submit these for your consideration.

When I was a kid, I practiced a Japanese martial art and my teacher emphasized a concept called Ichigo Ichie. My understanding is that it means something like “One encounter, one chance.” On one sense, it’s about killing an opponent with a sword. In another sense, it’s about finding the way to have all your skill in a single moment. Well, I’m talking about the first one: Killing somebody with a sword.

When a client posts a paid writing gig to Upworks or HireAWriter, etc. they’re going to get a lot of proposals. What makes you think yours is going to be most impressive? You have to kill him with a sword, because unless somebody gets killed, I don’t know how else you’re going to get anyone to notice you.

1.) Create “web presence” for your brand. To even stand a chance at writing a proposal that gets noticed, you need to be able to tell the client, “Check out my brand with a Google search.” When they can search Google for your brand and see a lot of search results, I think that’s when you start winning a lot of the gigs you try to get.

Blog about your brand name and use your brand name along with a lot of useful content you publish to the Internet, you’ll have web presence. When the client searches Google for your brand name and sees a lot of search results, that gives you a chance to succeed.

2.) Ichigo Ichie. When you write a proposal for a paid writing gig that someone is advertising, make the most of the crucial moment.  Stab the client through his chest.  Spend more time than the other freelancers spend, not less. Do not make the mistake on sending out a large number of low-effort proposals. Instead, write a few proposals and talk to the client like a friend and really demonstrate thoughtful consideration. A lot of people will be bidding against you, and they’ll all try to seem smart and qualified.  You should be the one to seem the most enthusiastic.  Do that, and you win.  Tell him you like his idea. Don’t give constructive criticism; make him feel good, and let him know you’re ‘on board’ with her/his idea. Express some enthusiasm, and even invest 30 extra seconds to search Google for the client’s idea so you can say something thoughtful.

Maybe these two things seem like common sense, but they have been important for me over the years.

To say it simply, the way to win in that crucial moment is to 1.) have a quantity of stuff published to the interweb using your brand name (for strong web presence when the client Google’s you) and 2.) have quality in the proposal you write to the client.

***These ideas come from Moment of Legitimacy: Getting Started as a Freelance Warrior. Here’s a video: