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Winning strategies for freelancers: How to stand out and secure more projects

By Humaira Parveen

Winning strategies for freelancers: How to stand out and secure more projects

Are you making your mark in the increasingly competitive world of freelancing? With a surge in professionals transitioning to contract roles or independent consulting, the battle to win new projects has never been more intense. For independent talent, securing new assignments is crucial for forging lasting client relationships, earning referrals, and broadening both your work portfolio and business scope. Here’s how you can be sure that your pitch or proposal stands out from the sea of other applicants:

Customise your proposal to the tee

One mistake many independent professionals make is that they develop a standardised response to project applications, usually based on language that has helped them to successfully close business before. While utilising some consistent language and phrases is smart, copy and pasting your project applications or proposals is definitely not.

Read the project description closely, and tailor your response to what is specifically asked for in language that demonstrates that you’ve been paying close attention to the project needs. In our experience, tailoring and customising your proposal or application means you are already ahead of most people.

Clear communication

Clients seeking independent talent place great value on communication. A considerable part of that is careful reading and listening! Remember, be direct, clear, and succinct in your proposal as well. When done right, proposals will get you the dream job or client. Additionally, remember that if someone is hiring an independent professional, they want someone who can manage themselves effectively.

Be clear, direct, highlight what you’ll do to solve the problem on behalf of the client, and don’t waste time on overly flowery language or an endless list of your previous accomplishments. For more on ideal proposals, check out our guide (free editable templates included) here.

Power up with relevant experience in similar projects

Often, project descriptions will include requests for applicants to describe similar projects or relevant experiences. Even if not explicitly requested, always incorporate examples of similar projects you’ve tackled or detail your experience in the client’s industry. Remember, demonstrating how your past work equips you for their project can significantly boost your proposal’s appeal.

Highlight your hustle

Clients seeking independent talent generally need self-sufficient professionals who can get the job done quickly, efficiently, and with minimal direction and input on their part. Demonstrate your ability to get the job done right by asking relevant questions upfront, offering a realistic timeline, and highlighting your drive for success. Such proactiveness not only builds trust but also facilitates smoother project execution upon engagement.

Don’t be a shrinking violet

Being bold is a big part of catching the eye of someone whose job is to comb through a pile of responses and applicants for a position or project. It’s uncommon to find someone with the exact experience they’re looking for or the “ideal” candidate. You can always submit an application for a project for which you may not be an exact match if you feel confident that you can use the experience you do have to the client’s benefit. Don’t skip out on opportunities to grow and level up your skill sets!

Want to go even bolder? 

Add a video introduction or a link to your website where you showcase your portfolio.  Having a quality website with eye-catching examples of your previous work can set you apart from the competition.

Don’t have a website yet? Read these articles before you get one:

If you make a point of following these recommendations when submitting proposals for consulting/freelance projects, your application will be less likely to end up on the bottom of the pile. Even if you’re feeling a bit apprehensive, stretch yourself and pursue some projects that might be slightly out of your comfort zone if you believe you’re capable. It’s rare for projects to be an exact match to your experiences; still, if you’ve worked on something similar or comparable, you might just be able to take on something new.

About the author

Humaira Parveen is the Community Manager at Outsized, leading the team that is responsible for engaging with our independent talent platform members. Humaira has been instrumental in the launch of the Community, as well as in the development of curated perks and value-add services for our talent.