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Write an Elance Bid Proposal

When first starting out, everyone asks: How do you write a successful proposal for Elance? While each proposal should be different and tailored for the job you are applying for, there are some things that you can do to make your proposal stand out.

1. Professional Layout

I like to keep a standard layout for each of my proposals. Centered at the top I have my companies name followed by my tag line. If you are an individual you can use your name followed by your email address. I then start off with “Dear XXX” where XXX is the name or handle of the provider. If you know the name of the provider, by all means use that. However, if you only know them as SlyFly#5 use that when creating your proposal.

After the top layout comes the meat and potatoes of the proposal. My first paragraph mentions the specific name of the job and addresses any specific needs asked for by the buyer. For example, if they need someone who is proficient at WordPress I would state that I am proficient at WordPress and in what way I am proficient (design, scheduling posts, responding to and maintaining comments, etc.) This first paragraph shows the buyer that you are paying attention to what was in the proposal.

My second paragraph introduces who I am. What my credentials are, test scores, and links to past works. It is important when putting in the links that they refer to the project at hand. If the buyer is looking for a blogger, don’t send them an ebook or a sample of your article marketing. You can put that information on your online resume. Wrap up this paragraph with a link to the online resume.

My third paragraph includes my bid. I reiterate the needs of the buyer (your request for 10 blog entries) and I specify the time line. I then break down the cost per item and the total price in a graph. That way, if all the buyer is concerned about is the price then they have an easy way to find it. I then offer them the option of requesting an adjustment to the price. I don’t have to agree to it, but the offer to negotiate terms leaves the conversation open.

My last paragraph thanks them for the opportunity to bid and again offers them the option to negotiate pricing and terms of the agreement. I then insert a graphic of my signature to add the personal touch and type my name underneath with my website information. I do all of this in OpenOffice so that I can easily pdf the document and attach it to my bid posting in Elance.

2. Personal Touch

You have to add a personal touch in order to stand out from the crowd. I would touch on what attracted you to the assignment in the first place (as long as it isn’t the budget!) For example, I recently started on a blogging assignment for a solar power website. I happen to live in a very green oriented community and I’m in the process of researching putting a solar powered water heater in my house. I mentioned these things in my proposal and I think it helped win the bid. Remember it’s not how great you are, it’s how great you would be for the buyers project.

In another example a prospective client asked for someone who was very interested in the future of media and how it related to social marketing. While pursuing my Masters Degree I was able to take a number of classes on cultural trends, popular media and the evolution of art. This background gave me a unique perspective on the clients project, and you can bet I added it in.

Remember, everyone else who is bidding has experience as a writer (though some are arguably better than others.) Everyone has examples of their writing across different categories. I can’t stress this enough: Your ability to win a bid will rely on how you well you appeal to the client, and the quickest way to the clients heart is through his/her topic.

3. Comprehensive Bid

When I say a comprehensive bid, I mean a bid that details the nitty gritty. How much per blog post of XXX number of words. How much per article of XXX words. The reason why I put down specifics is because 1.) it helps to clarify the needs of the client, 2.) it’s clear what the deliverables are, and 3.) it is a starting point for negotiation.

Point number 3 is very important. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what the clients budget is based on a few sentences. If the client indicates that the budget is too high I can change the parameters:

price = (time+quality)quantity

I can reduce the quantity or increase the turnaround time to offset the available budget. I can also reduce the number of words or offer suggestions of what the client can do to decrease my research and prep time. The one thing I never budge on is quality.

Start with a specific budget based on your set prices. Then negotiate from there. No matter how much you’re willing to come down in price, it still may be too much for the clients needs. If that’s the case, chalk up the proposal to experience and move on to the next client.

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is a WordPress Developer, wife and the mother of two wonderful boys. In her spare time she drinks lots of coffee and watches the sun rise over the foothills of California.
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