How To Write an Upwork Proposal to Get High Paying Clients Quickly

What If I told you that there’s a surefire way to get high paying clients on Upwork, that requires no special skills, but writing the perfect Upwork proposal?

You’d think that there’s some hidden catch, right?

But there’s not. It’s actually a method that has worked for me in the past. Anytime I feel like am getting into a serious dry month like most writers, I put myself together and land one.

In this post, I’m going to show you the new ways you can get clients. The good news is that you don’t need to send 100 cold email to win one client. Ready, let’s jump in…

The Dominant Buying Motive (What Clients Actually Want)

There are two types of clients that you’ll work with during your freelancing journey:

  • Clients with experience
  • Clients with zero experience

These two types of clients have different buying motives. The first type of client will pay lots of money if you show them you have the skills.

The second type of clients is just getting started. In most cases, they won’t understand the value that you bring to the table. And they are likely to pay less.

When dealing with these types of clients it is best to find their dominant buying motive. In other words, find out what drives them to seek your services.

If you start pitching clients without knowing what they want, you’re selling the wrong way. Isolate the features of all your services and figure the one thing that they want. The only way to get that is through fact-finding. In sales, this is called predictive selling.

In other words, if you know what they’ve done in the past, you can predict what they’re going to do in the future. That happens because people are creatures of habits. If the clients liked something in the past, there is a likelihood they will love it again.

If you can get that, the chances of you retaining this client for a long-term project is high. Want to find out the buying motives of clients, stay with me.

Prepare Your Mind For Your Upwork Proposal

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four’s sharpening the axe.” — Abraham Lincoln

The number one reason why most people fail in freelancing — and why Upwork proposals miss effect — is because they don’t do thorough preparation. Preparation can save you years of working with bad clients.

Most importantly, it helps you get hired fast because you did your homework better than the competition. As long as you are a freelancer, you’re in a fierce competition.

The more you go to a battle unprepared, the more you return home defeated. This is a competition on a global scale, you’re competing with someone with more experience and resources than you have.

The only thing that you need to increase your Upwork proposal´s chances of success is doing your homework (prepare well).

Even seasoned freelancers still find it hard to get and maintain clients. Their experience is not a shortcut to success because most of them don’t believe in the value of preparation.

Preparation means taking more than one hour writing your Upwork pitch or even more. Preparation means, answering every objection that the clients may have about your experience and skills. Preparation means going to the interview with a working plan that works to solve their current situation.

How To Create An Outstanding Upwork Proposal

Creating a bulletproof Upwork proposal requires lots of preparation. Your goal shouldn’t be to send lots of pitches per day. Your goal should be to send one or two proposals per day.

What matters when sending pitches is creating a habit. Don´t stop writing well-prepared Upwork proposals as soon as the first client hired you!

You can actually land a high paying client in one week. In every pitch that you send, spend lots of energy making sure that it is the best.

If you put your energy and focus on a single client a day, you’ll increase your chances of success. To land clients within a week there are actually two things that you need to do:

  • Pitch like a Pro
  • Close the interview like a Pro

These two things will help you get a client fast like they have helped me in the past. Here is a breakdown of every step:

The Pitch Process: Pitching Like A Pro

Every seasoned freelancer out there will tell you that you need to send a pitch to 30 or even 100 clients in a day for you to land a designer or a writing job.

Yes, it works. In fact, I’ve done it in the past. Sending 30 or more pitches works if you are building a freelancing business full time. The problem with sending 30 or more pitches is that you’ll get tired and send generic pitches.

In other words, you’ll be telling clients the same thing over and over again. Clients are not fools, they can smell a generic cover letter from a distance.

To maximize your chances, you need to customize every cover letter and Upwork proposal to fit their ideal situation. When sending the proposal, you need to feel confident that what you’re actually saying in the pitch will help their business in a positive way.

If you pitch one client every day, you increase your chances of getting hired than when you pitch 20 or 30 people in a day. But, if you can customize several pitches to fit their ideal situation without generalization or copy-pasting, then it will work.

Spend One Or More Hours In Your Upwork Proposal

This is actually what I do. I spend more hours perfecting a pitch or proposal to make sure that I have answered every question that they may have. Why would I spend 3 hours on a proposal? Because I know that am going to send only one pitch a day and I want to increase my chances of success.

Let’s say that you use Upwork to find clients. Most of these clients are getting 50 or 100 proposals that they need to go through before finding the perfect person.

If you copy paste or send a generic cover letter, they’ll toss you away. Spending one hour on a pitch means, answering every question that they have.

Take the example of this job description:

I am looking for a freelancer writer with exceptional writing and SEO skills for my blog. The right person should know how to write well-researched and engaging articles for my blog. I run a fitness blog that helps stay at home moms stay in shape.

Looking at that brief, you already know what exactly the clients want. Here are the keywords that should guide you to write a perfect pitch:

  • SEO
  • Well-researched and engaging
  • Fitness blog
  • Stay at home moms

You don’t just tell them that you can do it. You need to show them that you can actually write a well-researched SEO article for stay at home moms. And the good news is that you’re going to use these exact keywords to land that job.

When nailing your pitch, show them how you do on-page SEO for an article. Here are the exact steps to nail down the Upwork proposal.

  • Step 1: Write down the steps that you take to make that the article meets all the SEO criteria
  • Step 2: Write down the exact steps that you take to write a well-researched article
  • Step 3: Prove to them that you have worked in the fitness niche and you know the plight of stay at home moms.
  • Step 4: Invite them to share with your their past experience.

Here is an actual example: Let’s say that a client wants you to write a content marketing ebook:

Here are the steps that I would take in crafting a content marketing ebook:

Step 1) Research phase,1 to 3 days

I will visit Quora to find out the kind of questions people are asking in content marketing. I will visit the content marketing sections on Reddit to find out the hot and new trending topics that we can include the ebook. Lastly, I will visit forums like Digital point forum to learn more about what content marketers are saying on the subject.

Step 2) Looking through the Amazon best-seller list on content marketing

I’ll visit Amazon to check the top 10 closest books that are likely to be related to yours. Most importantly, I’ll read every review on the content marketing ebooks to find out what KEY PHRASES, WORDS, and OPINIONS content marketers have. I’ll also look at the negative reviews and find areas where I can make your ebook different from the rest.

Step 3) Read top 30 blogs on the subject,

like: CMI, Copyblogger, Hubspot, Buffer, Curata, Idea launch, Brian Solis. Most importantly, I’ll use BUZZSUMO to find the most shared posts on content marketing. In other words, post with lots of shares, and comments to understand the reader better

Step 4) Creating an outline, 1–2 days

Create prize-winning titles, subtitles, and subheads.
Brainstorm at least 20 headlines ideas for the ebook.

Step 5) Writing the content, 1–5 days

Writing different variation of introductions using various COPYWRITING TECHNIQUES. The introduction needs to be captivating to make people buy the ebook. The intro needs to be personal so that the content marketers feel that they can relate to my story. Fortunately, we’ve already done the groundwork in the research phase.

Writing of other sections and conclusion.

Step 6) Editing and submission of the ebook

Step 7) Revising and making changes to suit you

Two Steps To Closing The Client On An Interview

Your profile looks great. Your proposal or pitch looks awesome. The client feels like they have what they want. But your proposal is just the first step to success. Most clients will want to talk to you first before hiring you.

The interviewing phase is delicate and if you don’t close the client like a pro, you lose it. The interview phase is where the client will ask you questions that you need to think on your feet.

If you are a beginner, you can bypass that quickly. In the interview, you are aiming for two things as a freelancer. Here are the two steps:

Step 1: Control The interview

Never let the client control the direction of the interview. If the clients control the interview, two things happen:

  • High chance that they will want to lower your rates
  • They may not hire you if you don’t prove to them that you have what it takes

Controlling the interview mean doing fact-finding of what they truly want. Fact-finding helps you close the clients. Most importantly, helps you find the dominant buying motives for the clients. Here are the questions that you need to ask the client before you even present them the offer.

The best way to ask these questions is through Skype because you have a higher chance of closing these clients. These questions also help you tailor your presentation before closing the deal. These questions work in any freelancing industry.

Let’s take an example in copywriting.

Find the problems they have and what they want:

  • What problems are you trying to solve?
  • What’s happening in your business right now that I can help you with?
  • What do you like best with your current copies?
  • What do you like least about your current copies?
  • Why do you think there is that problem?
  • What did you like about the past copywriter that you hired? Why is that?
  • What have you been doing in the past two years when hiring copywriters? Why have you been doing that?
  • What is the one thing? The one thing that if I do well will improve your copy and make me work with you for the long term? My goal is to change two or three things that the past freelancers have failed to achieve, what is it?

Questions about money that helps with negotiations:

  • How much money did you spend the last time you hired a freelancer?
  • Why did you spend $$$ amount hiring that persons?
  • Did the value match what you paid? Why do feel so?
  • If you were to do it again, would you pay that much knowing outcome of their work?

Telling the client what you charge:

  • When was the last time you spend $$$$ (your rates) on copywriting? Why is that?

Asking these questions, helps you close the client and come up with a presentation of what they want. At the end of the presentation, you need to ask them the final last question:

  • How much of what I have just said do you believe to be true? Why is that?

You want to find out if they believe you. If they say something positive, they believe in you. If they say something negative, you need to ask: why that?

Step 2: Present Bribe

The second step of the interview is to present a bribe to them. A bribe can be anything that shows your commitment and focus on the project. Asking the clients those questions can get you hired fast.

That’s not enough. Most savvy clients may still not believe you, especially when they say that they need time to think about it. Chances are, you may ask the right questions, but still never get hired.

To prevent that, you need to give them a bribe or at least something that shows that you are serious about what you are saying. If you are a writer, you can come up with a content calendar detailing posts to publish for the next six months.

If you are a designer, you can critic their website design and give them a solution that works for them. When criticizing the work of your client, you must give them a reason why you believe your solution will be great.

Ready To Get Your First Client

You may be skeptical about what I’ve just told you. The fact is, clients hire newbies all the time. I am a living example of that. In any pitching process, preparation counts the most.

You don’t need to be in a hurry to send many Upwork proposals only to lose clients when you can spend time perfecting one cover letter and win a single client. If you do all that I have said, chances are you will land a client in one week. (Of course, my advice also applies to other freelancing platforms, like Guru or

Even if you have one client, make sure that every day, you spend at least two to three hours writing just a single Upwork proposal and making sure that it answers every question the client may have.

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