How to Write a Freelance Pitch That Gets Clients

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 40 Comments

At some point in every freelancer’s career there comes a time when you’re going to write a freelance pitch for a client’s project. If the thought of being a salesman isn’t intimidating enough,this at least doubles after realizing how many other freelancers pitching and hoping for the project. All those different screaming freelancers saying, “Pick me!” makes it almost impossible to feel like your voice is getting through. Let’s get you that voice!

In this article we’ll be going over the ins and outs of crafting a freelance pitch that I gained through my years in the industry to help let your voice stand out in a crowd. This includes:

  • best practices
  • mistakes to never make
  • how to track results of your pitch
  • how to use these tracked results to adjust your approach

How I Used To Write a Freelance Pitch

write-freelance-pitch
Image Credit: jjpacres

Starting out in this industry I was like just about every other new freelancer. I didn’t know a thing! Now if you take that and mix it together with being somewhat stubborn, you’ve got yourself a long list of mistakes being made for quite a while. Rather than just listing my mistakes and describing how bad they were, I’m going to also show you what they looked like. Below you’ll find a freelance pitch I would’ve written right now if I hadn’t learned from my mistakes.

Hello,

My name is Jamal Jackson and I am a 20 year old designer, developer, blogger, and best-selling author based in Atlanta, Ga. Through my four years of professional experience, I have gained a good reputation for my exceptional design and usability skills, in addition to my semantically clean coding practices.

I have also written on web industry blogs such as SpeckyBoy Design Blog, Onextrapixel, UX Mag, and 1stwebdesigner where I also wrote a best-selling eBook on Responsive Web Design.

Through my years as a web professional, I have gained a good reputation for my attention to detail on the usability aspects of websites, my creative problem solving skills, and warm, and refreshing approach to my projects. As a front-end developer, I stand out because I am also a designer for one. So I understand both design principles and coding, which pushes me to strive in making my coding always come out semantically, practical, and in the most efficient way possible.

I have worked on such clients as AT&T, Realtree, Compassion International, Delta TechOps, Childrens Healthcare, and March of Dimes. In addition, I’ve been able to work on video conferencing apps whose parent company’s client list includes 75% of the fortune 100.

If you are interested in working with me then you can further learn more about my capabilities from my portfolio site, http://www.5alarmint.com, and you can hear what is being said of myself and work in the Testimonials section, http://5alarmint.com/testimonials.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider me for this position, and have a nice day!

Back in my earlier days, I would use some generic pitch boosting myself like this ALL THE TIME! Looking at this today makes me a little sick. No very sick would be a much better description, pleasantries aren’t helping anyone here. Now that we’ve looked at hideous style of pitch, its time to take it apart and tell you what’s wrong with it. To start the dissection and criticizing of my old ways, we’re going to go with the high level than low level approach. This way before we get into the details, you’ll understand the high level aspects and will understand them so much more!

High Level Issues

write-freelance-pitch-issues
Image Credit: pennstatenews

All I Did Was Brag

Looking at this pitch you’re probably thinking that it isn’t too bad, I did everything right. I talked about my experience, mentioned what I did, made note of my most proud of accomplishments in the industry, gave a link to my portfolio, and offered a thank you at the end. What could be wrong here, right?

Well if you look at the pitch very closely, you’ll notice a recurring theme. Sadly from start to finish, all I did was brag and offer very little substance to the person/team I was sending this pitch to.

I Never Answered Anything in the Listing

As I already said, this listing was used for every listing I saw. So what do you think the chances are of this actually addressing what one out of the many times I sent this out? The short answer is 0%. To understand why this percentage is so low, just think about fishing. When you go fishing you have the option of using a general bait that all the fish seem to like, or a specified bait only to catch specific fish. I was using the general bait that seemed to appeal to all the the fish, yet it only attracted the bottom feeders.

Too Much Irrelevant Information

So if the listing I’m applying for is for a designer role, why do I have my developer experience in the pitch? Back then I figured it just showed my diversity and would make me more appealing to work with. What it actually did was give off the perception to those reading it that I’m not really caring about or remotely interested in their project. Oh, and probably that I have a somewhat low reading comprehension ability.

Shows Nothing About Me

Looking at this pitch have you noticed that you could easily take my name out, and put yours in? Of course all of my bragging probably wouldn’t match up with your career at this point, but it could be done without having to alter anything else. This is sadly the case because I did nothing to show who I am in this pitch. Without that personality nothing really stands out about me as a person, and such would easily make this forgettable.

Way Too Long

Do you see how long this pitch is? It looks like I was trying to write a high school essay about why I’d be better than the other millions of emails you’re getting for this job listing. A client looking for a freelancer has to read and sort through an endless amount of pitches before they decide on who to work with. So to ask someone who goes through that many emails to read one as long as mine, only invites them to gracefully skim through and skip it.

Picking My Pitch Apart

write-perfect-freelance-pitch
Image Credit: angelocesare

Now that we’ve looked over the four main issues of why this pitch never really worked out for me, let’s take it apart and look at the lines and areas that caused me the most trouble.

Listing My Age and Years of Experience

“My name is Jamal Jackson and I am a 20 year old.. my four years of professional experience…”

I used to think it was a great idea to list my age and years of experience in a pitch. In my head I thought that clients would be so impressed with my age, at the time I was in my teens, and would love to work with me now to build a solid relationship as I grow into the industry. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Mentioning your age or experience in a pitch shows a potential client that you’re insecure about what you can bring to the project. This is so because both are mentioned to create a rose colored lens effect, making yourself look better after implying necessary viewing parameters.

Listing Everything I do

“designer, developer, blogger, and best-selling author……  written on web industry blogs such as SpeckyBoy Design Blog, Onextrapixel, UX Mag, and 1stwebdesigner… ”

In being harsh with myself, who cares about all that fluff??? Did the listing ask for a designer? Developer? Was it looking for a blogger or an author? Well, there are rarely listings that would seek someone with more than one niche skill set, so overselling yourself makes you look stupid. In fact if you see a listing looking for more than a niche in design or development, it probably would be a safe bet to ignore it. Unless you like looking stupid like I use to of course :)

Pointlessly Talking About Why I’m a Right Fit

“Through my years as a web professional… the most efficient way possible.”

You can sugar coat yourself in a pitch as much as you feel necessary, but that won’t change the work you’ve done. Everything I put into that paragraph could easily be seen, or not seen, just by looking at my portfolio site. So in the end all I ended up honestly achieving was making me looking less skilled than I actually am.

Best Practices

how-to-write-freelance-pitch
Image credit: Catskills Grrl

Now that we’ve seen some good examples of what not to do at my expense, its time to move on to what you should be doing. So in this section, we’ll be going over solid tips to create a great pitch that will get read and look over some examples.

Tips For Creating A Great Pitch

After going through the mistakes I made in the past with my horrible pitch, you should have a pretty good idea on what makes a great one. Just to fine tune your understanding a bit, here are a few good guidelines to always make sure pitch adhere to.

  • Keep it short, 2 paragraph max
  • Stay on the listings topic
  • DON’T mention your age or years of experience
  • No bragging
  • Keep it simple
  • Show your personality with some appropriate humor/wit

All that seems pretty doable right? GREAT! Now it is time to take a look at a couple of example pitches you could use.

The first example will highlight what to do with a listing that is short, and not asking for any specifics. The second example will provide an outline for how to address listings that ask for more detailed information. Things like specialties, desired rate, and best time to contact.

Example #1

Hello [insert company/contact person name],

My name is [your name], and I’m a developer based in Atlanta, Ga. I saw your listing, and thought I’d be a good fit for the role. Below you’ll find links to my portfolio site and resume, and a form of contact.

Portfolio: yourdomain.com

Resume: yourdomain.com/resume

Preferred form of contact

I look forward to scheduling a time to talk this week about the project!

Cheers,

[your name]

Example #2

Hello [insert company/contact person name].

My name is [your name], and after seeing your listing I feel like we could collaborate well with each other on this project. My specialties are [your specialties]. My desired rate is [your rate], and the best time to contact me is [your best time].

Below you’ll find links to my portfolio and resume, and my best contact method.

Portfolio: yourdomain.com

Resume: yourdomain.com/resume

Preferred form of contact

I look forward to hearing from you later on in the week to learn more about this project.

Cheers,

[your name]

Why Do These Examples Work

Both these example pitches have worked well for me because they satisfy the necessary criteria that each listing asks for. Of course it fits perfectly with the tips/guidelines we got from taking apart my early pitch. Just for reference, lets do a quick run through.

  • Both are short in length
  • Portfolio, resume(optional unless asked for), and contact info clearly displayed
  • No irrelevant information
  • Straightforward and to the point

Challenge Time!

In the comments section show me how you would add personality to the examples I put in this article. I can’t wait to read them!

34 Written ArticlesWebsiteGoogle+

I code, write, and stuff at Five Alarm Interactive. Tweet me: @5alarmint.

40 Comments Best Comments First
  • Mike

    Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 15:45

    34

    Thanks for this article post Jamal,

    And for sharing your experiences and insights to making a good pitch. I am lucky so far as my projects have come through word of mouth, but now that I am no longer doing my course I will need to start marketing and pitching for projects. To be honest, I probably would have ended up with something similar to your first example, so I am really glad to read this, and learn how to pitch better.
    Not sure as yet how I would add personality in to it, I would probably try to use something I have experienced relevant to the post/project I am pitching for.

    +1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, April 4th, 2013 23:51

      36

      Hey Mike,
      That’s great that you get word of mouth clients, not everyone can have that type of client source. That is one approach to adding relevant experience, not so much personality. I wonder if the personality part should be a whole new post entirely??? (ponders)

      0
  • Michael Musgrove

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 23:24

    9

    Sound advice. As someone who has worked giving business grad students advice on finding jobs, as well as sorting through hundreds of resume’s and cover letters, you’re spot-on.

    Direct brevity is appreciated by tired eyes that have read a stack of letters just like your first one at the top. Most people reviewing your stuff at this stage have so many applicants, they’re usually looking for reasons NOT to hire you as they gloss over what you provide. Keep it bottom lined, let your work speak for itself, and tell them explicitly how you can help them. It shows you’ve done your homework and respect their time and, at the end of the day, all they’re really looking for is someone that will help them get their bonus.

    +1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:01

      24

      Hit the nail on the head Michael. Despite how social media has gotten many incoming entrants to the work force, this is still a very much impressionable world. You can tell your whole life story in a pitch, thinking that it will be read because it is so interesting that nobody possibly could be bored reading it, but in the end it will only be scanned and tossed back into the pile.

      Is there any advice you could give everyone else? Many of the readers here are young graduates, or new to the industry. I’m sure they’d appreciate it, me included!

      0
  • Dorry

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 10:19

    12

    Thank you for a clear and to-the-point post. I’ve been looking around for some good and simple guidelines and found most rather long and foggy. Just one question if I may: Are there any reasons against including your work/resume in pdf format?

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:16

      27

      Thanks Dorry, glad you appreciated the straight to it approach I used here. To answer your question, there is nothing wrong with including your resume with your pitch if it is asked for. I just found in my time freelancing at agencies where I’ve seen people go through freelance and position pitches that your resume will be shared and viewed by a lot of people. Its easier to share it by a URL than an attachement. Is there anything else I can answer for you?

      0
    • Corey Ellis

      Monday, April 1st, 2013 11:19

      33

      I would also add that I have moved to trying to send my LinkedIn profile vs a resume when I can. For the reason Jamal stated.

      0
  • Isuru

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 11:19

    13

    Thank you for this post. As a fairly new guy to the freelance world, this will be very useful to me in the near future.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:17

      28

      Welcome to the world Isuru. I hope you don’t mind the absence of sleep in your life now :). Take a shot at the challenge I posted, it should be great practice for you.

      0
  • Tobarok

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 13:30

    15

    I am very very happy to know that “How to Write a Freelance Pitch That Gets Clients” subject. Really I need this topic.

    regards,
    tobarok

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:21

      30

      We are here to provide you what you need to learn to grow yourself Tobarok. Glad you liked it, and I’m hoping that since you liked this piece you’ll try the challenge at the end. It’s really really ultra amazingly fun!

      +1
  • Ciaran Whelan

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 05:24

    11

    Long time waffler here as well.. It seems that it is something a lot of people do to try get all the info across the table by telling the whole story. Time I trim the fat on my pitches.
    Thanx for the post ;)

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:08

      26

      Thanks Ciaran for joining the discussion! Yeah man, we all gotta cut the fat. Get our pitches in beach shape cause Summer is coming. Bad joke there, bad bad bad!

      Would you mind posting your new pitch, or accepting the challenge I proposed at the end of this article?

      0
  • Sandeep

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 09:44

    1

    Pitch is very important for a freelancer.
    It help a lot to the freelancers.
    Nice to read the post.

    Regards,
    Sandeep pattanaik

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 18:05

      16

      Hi Sandeep,

      Yes, your pitch is very important when your a freelancer. It gives off that first impression, and that what gives potential clients their initial thoughts on you.

      0
  • JXL

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 10:46

    3

    Love it! I used to have something similar to your example and finally shortened it but I like the two samples you gave they are very short and to the point. Says exactly what you need it to say without losing the reader’s attention. Great post, thanks!

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 18:08

      18

      Thanks JXL, if that is your legal name and mug shot.

      You just have to think about what the client does to find a freelancer. If you have to send a pitch to get them, then that means at least 20 other freelancers are doing the same thing you are. And I don’t like reading long drawn out bragging, so why would they? Right? Its only common courtesy.

      0
  • Necolas Hamwi

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 10:19

    2

    Wow, I’m so shocked to say i wrote some really bad pitches :P

    Thank you, this is really helpful!
    (Oh, i think i’m the first one to comment! Cool!)

    Cheers,
    Nick

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 18:06

      17

      Hey Necholas, no judgement from me on that. We all do at first, its like with anything in life. You live, and you hopefully learn.

      No prob, glad you liked it. Maybe not the first comment, but close enough!

      0
  • Yasmine

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 12:11

    5

    I found this very helpful and shall be applying what you have said in the article (I often waffle on too much with stuff which is in no way relevant). Nicely summarised, thank you.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:48

      20

      Thanks Yasmine, hope all works well for you. SN: Your gravatar reminds me of a Tim Burton film, do you have scissor hands? Please say yes!

      0
  • monique

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 12:33

    6

    I’ve made many of the same mistakes you’ve described above. Just this morning I re-tweaked my pitch (well, pretty much scrapped it and started over) and coincidentally my new pitch meets the majority of your tips above.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:51

      21

      Thats great Monique! Let us know how the redoing of your pitch has changed your results with clients. We’d all love to hear it.

      0
  • Ahmad Ali

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 04:17

    10

    I’m student of MIT and started part time freelance web development. Starting pitch is very important as I learnt from my teacher of subject “English”. In my communication I just tell client about my portfolio and request him to give few mints for discussion.

    Example:

    Dear [Client Name],

    I’m Shopify designer available for discussion with you in details about all aspects of your needs. I’ve designed some store-fronts which you may check from my portfolio [URL].

    I’m offering my services with quality assurance and money back guarantee also support after completion of project. To get started this project asap I’m waiting for your kind response.

    Kind Regards,
    [Your Name]

    As I’m also student so I’d love to get help of your people if there is something to change. I’ll be very thankful to all of you.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:06

      25

      Hi Ahamd,

      That’s great on being at MIT! Boston is a great college town, and I can’t wait until I make time to visit it once it gets warmer.

      Heres some advice on your pitch:

      – Mention your name, not that your a Shopify developer. Inform them of who you are, not what you do. What you do will be a given.
      – Make it a bit more personally tailored to your potential client, not so much templaty. We’ll cover this in a later article :)
      – Check your grammer. Good grammer is always important, got some run-ons in there.

      0
  • Eddie

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 13:01

    8

    It’s kind of cool that I already send my emails that way without reading anything like this article or someone telling me to tailor my emails this way. Depending on the job or client, sometimes it is ok to go a bit longer with these emails to show that you’re not just sending the same ‘template’ to many jobs and you’ve actually put some thought into it. I like to do that by mentioning something about the job/company so they know I did some research before applying.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:58

      23

      You’re a lucky son of a gun Eddie! That is true, you have to tailor all your pitches to who the potential client is. Its always great to mention something about them, going that extra mile is very important. Now that I think of it, maybe I should do another post expanding on this one. I wonder if I will??>>!! :)

      0
  • Sherry-Ann

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 12:58

    7

    Nice artlicle Jamal,

    However, if you have no published portfolio or website displaying your mock-ups, how would you approach a buisiness? What should one do?

    Is it advisable to pay hosting for a site that only shows mock-ups? How does one get their feet wet?

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:54

      22

      Hi Sherry,

      If you don’t have a published portfolio then yes you should have at least some form of online presence that shows your work. Just make sure that in each mock-up/piece that there is a clean and clear description of what you contributed, especially if it is a major project.

      Is there any other advice I can give you to help you out?

      0
  • Jerald

    Friday, March 29th, 2013 10:19

    31

    First of all thanks for this helpful tips. I am freelance graphic designer. I’m confuse about pitch before but now its very clear. I joining freelance designing online since 2010 and just a starter. I have no website yet. Is the free-website builder nice for client to link my portfolio? I have no enough fund to purchase my website. If you have more advise to help me promote my skills, it is very welcome.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, April 4th, 2013 23:50

      35

      Hi Jerald,
      Do you have a Dribble or Forrst account? Whatever you can afford to do to show off your work, I say go for it. The main thing is that you fully describe the role you played in the work you are showing. Also, if possible, try to save up the best way you can to afford the hosting for your own website.

      0
      • Jerald

        Friday, April 5th, 2013 01:37

        38

        Thank You Jamal for your advise. It helps me a lot. If i finish to fill in a new account about my portfolio in other site, i am going to attach the link here for asking feedback. Thank you.

        0
  • Nikhil Malhotra

    Friday, June 7th, 2013 14:29

    40

    Yes a very valid point mentioned regarding the shortening of the pitch.Agree to the fact that it should be to the point.

    0
  • Wendy

    Friday, April 5th, 2013 19:16

    39

    Hi Guys!

    Nice article! This was very helpful information. It is all coming at the perfect time. Keep it coming. I’m learning so much from you guys.

    Thanks,

    Wendy

    0
  • Nikhil Khandekar

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 11:23

    14

    Hi Jamal,

    You have some sane points here. It’s not something that could be termed ground-breaking, but it is important.

    Short, to-the-point content is what works, everywhere.

    Your article has some grammatical errors, but otherwise it is a fine and very useful article.

    Thanks a lot!

    Nikhil Khandekar

    -1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:19

      29

      Hi Nikhil,

      Thank you for finding my article useful. Thats true that this isn’t meant to be a ground breaking piece, been there and done that, and if it was written with that intent it wouldn’t have provided what readers needed. Which is practical advice based on my freelance journey up to this point.

      Thanks for joining the discussion, make sure to try out the challenge. Show us what you got!

      0
  • Diana Hickman

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 11:13

    4

    Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling with this part of gaining Freelance projects since I graduated from Design School. They teach you design, jargon, art, etc., but the one thing that is vital to any success: How to write a proposal and be a freelancer. It’s hard to learn this on the fly. All other articles just list off the “best practices” but never give examples. I like how you gave an example of a bad proposal and then gave examples of good proposals and why. I realize now that I’ve been doing some of the things in the first proposal when putting in my bids on Elance.com. I’m going to try some of these points today. Thank you again for putting this out there. It helps a lot.

    -1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:47

      19

      Congrats on graduating design school, where did you go? I wanted to go to SCAD back when I got out of HS, but it costs a TON!! Well its not the design school alone doing that, its school in general. We grow up and are told college is the end all be all, and that we will take a 4 year crash course in a program that will give us everything we need to have a successful career. I’ve found, and I can assume the rest of the team here at 1WD, thats not the case. That’s why I feel so many are hurting in this industry, because nobody told them anything better.

      Steps off soapbox. Yeah, I wanted to make sure I shared my past and what I learned from that so you all can learn from it. Let me know how your pitches went, and feel free to post them in the comments here for me to look at :)

      0
      • Diana Hickman

        Friday, March 29th, 2013 10:27

        32

        I went to the Art Institute of Pitsburgh Online Division for my Digital Design Diploma, but I also have three other degrees in history. They taught me all about history and digital design, but nothing about how to market yourself. It is a good school though. Typically my project bids go something like the following.

        When I first started writing proposals I wrote stuff like this:

        “Hello,

        The cover of a book implies what the book is about. In this case, the book is about taking accountability in a relationship that is ending and bringing closure to the relationship. For that reason, when I think of the cover for this book, I see a flower…a white or red rose with a heart behind it faded out with the title across the top and the authors name under the title. I see a quote on the front cover from the publisher or a reader (if you have one) as well as the information on the back cover (summary, bar code, etc.). We could even put wedding rings on the rose stem. These are just a few ideas I have when looking at your description. Attached is a book cover that I did for a school project last year. Thank you for considering me for your book cover.

        Diana ”

        See what I didn’t add? No portfolio url or resume? This way didn’t work so I tried a different route.

        “Hello {Client Name},

        I see you are looking for a book cover for your book, {Book Name}. I also see you will need help with laying out your book for publication. Will this be for a print book or for a Kindle ebook? I would love to work on this with you to create a cover that will help your book fly off the shelves. Attached are samples of my past book covers. In order to complete your project, I will need the following:

        – Information you wish to see on your book cover
        – colors you wish to see used and what kind of fonts you wish to see used

        I believe I can have a completed book cover for you within 16 hours of finalizing terms and escrow. My hours are Monday through Friday with some weekends (9 to 5 pm Mountain Time). I also work some evenings if the creative flow is really going strong. Please see the attached for samples of my past work. Thank you for your time and consideration.

        Sincerely,
        Diana”

        It’s a little better but still didn’t get the job. There’s several bids of this nature. I think I went wrong by adding my “hours of operation.” This one I was following advice from techniques I’d learned from a Elance Workshop. So I started changing it up.

        “Greetings {Client Name},

        I see that you need 5000 websites visited to pull their logos from, translated to the size and resolution of your specifications within the short amount of time of ten days from the founding of escrow. I can do this for you. It would be relatively easy to visit all those sites and pull their logos for you. I can do 500 to 1000 logos each day, maybe more depending on how complicated the logo is to convert. I set the price for the many hours it will take to do this at $3000 USD, which comes out to around $0.60 per logo. I also set an estimated delivery date “within 2 weeks.” Working daily until it is done, I can estimate you would have your logos sooner than that depending on the websites availability and conversion process. To complete your project I will need the following: The list of websites to pull the logos from, the size they need to be set to and the other specs you require as well as what delivery method you require. Will it be a zip file uploaded to a drop box or will I upload and submit it to you via the workspace in multiple zip folders? I look forward to working with you, if you should chose me for your project. Thank you for your consideration.

        Sincerely,
        Diana Hickman
        http://dianahickmansportfolio.x10.mx/

        The above was for a project ripping 5000 logos from various websites that they give you the list and resizing them. They never closed the project posting or picked a freelancer to work on it. That bid has been sitting there for almost a month. I finally archived it. Elance didn’t have the name of the client, so sometimes the “greeting” is just plain “Greetings” or “Hello.” Now a project bid went something like:

        “Greetings,

        I see that you need a one page handout to be given out at doctors offices offering insurance services. Since you have the content and copy already, it won’t be hard to design a special page specific to your needs. I can do this for you for within three days of final escrow if you should chose me. Please see the attached url for my full portfolio and resume.

        In order to complete your project, I will need the following for your project:

        – All copy that you wish to see on the handout.
        – Any graphics that you need to be added such as the logo for your company
        – Basic color scheme you are looking for in your final handout.
        – Specific deminsions for your printer and final format you need for the printer. (If you have a link to the printer’s site for the deminsions this will work too)

        What you get from me:

        – One on one consultation via Elance messenging system
        – Three revisions and corrections (a correction is misspelled words, rewording, etc. A revision is change in any part of the design to your specifications)
        – Final copy in PDF form for easy printing, as well as Adobe Indesign or other program of choice for submission to your printer

        Once we settle on escrow, I can have a finalized handout to you within a few days. I look forward to working with you. Thank you for your consideration and time.

        Sincerely,
        Diana Hickman
        http://dianahickmansportfolio.x10.mx/

        I tried various ways but almost all of my bids were turned down due to either too high of a bid or not the right style of work and some clients didn’t choose anyone or completely closed out the job. The above proposals are all only a part of the story. Along with the proposal, you have to add how much you’ll work for in monitary amounts and then how long it’ll take you to finish the job. You also have the option to add samples of relevant work to demonstrate that you can do the job you’re bidding for. I used to add five samples of my work but I felt like I was repeating myself since it’s all in my portfolio website or on my profile that they have access to as soon as I submit my bid. It seemed redundant to add something that I already have on display. Either I’m doing something wrong in my bids or people are just too cheap to pay a fair price, even though on some of my proposals I severely underbid myself. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but I can tell you that it is vastly frustrating and discouraging. It’s hard to keep submitting bids for projects that are turned down every time. Over the next few weeks I’m going to try writing bids the way you have in this article. I know that once I get the “right” way down, and learn how to price my work more accurately, I’ll start getting bids, but until then it’s very frustrating.

        Diana

        0
        • Jamal

          Thursday, April 4th, 2013 23:55

          37

          Hi Diana,
          The problem you’re experiencing is two fold. One it could possibly be your pitch, and two its where your pitching. Sites like Elance attract clients who look for the cheapest person they can find, they aren’t always necessarily looking for quality and its rare for them to want to build a lasting relationship.

          I’d suggest trying out other sites like AuthenticJobs, or Twitter. Both have some good people looking for creatives quite often.

          0
  • Nikhil Malhotra

    Friday, June 7th, 2013 14:29

    40

    Yes a very valid point mentioned regarding the shortening of the pitch.Agree to the fact that it should be to the point.

    0
  • Wendy

    Friday, April 5th, 2013 19:16

    39

    Hi Guys!

    Nice article! This was very helpful information. It is all coming at the perfect time. Keep it coming. I’m learning so much from you guys.

    Thanks,

    Wendy

    0
  • Mike

    Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 15:45

    34

    Thanks for this article post Jamal,

    And for sharing your experiences and insights to making a good pitch. I am lucky so far as my projects have come through word of mouth, but now that I am no longer doing my course I will need to start marketing and pitching for projects. To be honest, I probably would have ended up with something similar to your first example, so I am really glad to read this, and learn how to pitch better.
    Not sure as yet how I would add personality in to it, I would probably try to use something I have experienced relevant to the post/project I am pitching for.

    +1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, April 4th, 2013 23:51

      36

      Hey Mike,
      That’s great that you get word of mouth clients, not everyone can have that type of client source. That is one approach to adding relevant experience, not so much personality. I wonder if the personality part should be a whole new post entirely??? (ponders)

      0
  • Jerald

    Friday, March 29th, 2013 10:19

    31

    First of all thanks for this helpful tips. I am freelance graphic designer. I’m confuse about pitch before but now its very clear. I joining freelance designing online since 2010 and just a starter. I have no website yet. Is the free-website builder nice for client to link my portfolio? I have no enough fund to purchase my website. If you have more advise to help me promote my skills, it is very welcome.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, April 4th, 2013 23:50

      35

      Hi Jerald,
      Do you have a Dribble or Forrst account? Whatever you can afford to do to show off your work, I say go for it. The main thing is that you fully describe the role you played in the work you are showing. Also, if possible, try to save up the best way you can to afford the hosting for your own website.

      0
      • Jerald

        Friday, April 5th, 2013 01:37

        38

        Thank You Jamal for your advise. It helps me a lot. If i finish to fill in a new account about my portfolio in other site, i am going to attach the link here for asking feedback. Thank you.

        0
  • Tobarok

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 13:30

    15

    I am very very happy to know that “How to Write a Freelance Pitch That Gets Clients” subject. Really I need this topic.

    regards,
    tobarok

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:21

      30

      We are here to provide you what you need to learn to grow yourself Tobarok. Glad you liked it, and I’m hoping that since you liked this piece you’ll try the challenge at the end. It’s really really ultra amazingly fun!

      +1
  • Nikhil Khandekar

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 11:23

    14

    Hi Jamal,

    You have some sane points here. It’s not something that could be termed ground-breaking, but it is important.

    Short, to-the-point content is what works, everywhere.

    Your article has some grammatical errors, but otherwise it is a fine and very useful article.

    Thanks a lot!

    Nikhil Khandekar

    -1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:19

      29

      Hi Nikhil,

      Thank you for finding my article useful. Thats true that this isn’t meant to be a ground breaking piece, been there and done that, and if it was written with that intent it wouldn’t have provided what readers needed. Which is practical advice based on my freelance journey up to this point.

      Thanks for joining the discussion, make sure to try out the challenge. Show us what you got!

      0
  • Isuru

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 11:19

    13

    Thank you for this post. As a fairly new guy to the freelance world, this will be very useful to me in the near future.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:17

      28

      Welcome to the world Isuru. I hope you don’t mind the absence of sleep in your life now :). Take a shot at the challenge I posted, it should be great practice for you.

      0
  • Dorry

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 10:19

    12

    Thank you for a clear and to-the-point post. I’ve been looking around for some good and simple guidelines and found most rather long and foggy. Just one question if I may: Are there any reasons against including your work/resume in pdf format?

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:16

      27

      Thanks Dorry, glad you appreciated the straight to it approach I used here. To answer your question, there is nothing wrong with including your resume with your pitch if it is asked for. I just found in my time freelancing at agencies where I’ve seen people go through freelance and position pitches that your resume will be shared and viewed by a lot of people. Its easier to share it by a URL than an attachement. Is there anything else I can answer for you?

      0
    • Corey Ellis

      Monday, April 1st, 2013 11:19

      33

      I would also add that I have moved to trying to send my LinkedIn profile vs a resume when I can. For the reason Jamal stated.

      0
  • Ciaran Whelan

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 05:24

    11

    Long time waffler here as well.. It seems that it is something a lot of people do to try get all the info across the table by telling the whole story. Time I trim the fat on my pitches.
    Thanx for the post ;)

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:08

      26

      Thanks Ciaran for joining the discussion! Yeah man, we all gotta cut the fat. Get our pitches in beach shape cause Summer is coming. Bad joke there, bad bad bad!

      Would you mind posting your new pitch, or accepting the challenge I proposed at the end of this article?

      0
  • Ahmad Ali

    Thursday, March 28th, 2013 04:17

    10

    I’m student of MIT and started part time freelance web development. Starting pitch is very important as I learnt from my teacher of subject “English”. In my communication I just tell client about my portfolio and request him to give few mints for discussion.

    Example:

    Dear [Client Name],

    I’m Shopify designer available for discussion with you in details about all aspects of your needs. I’ve designed some store-fronts which you may check from my portfolio [URL].

    I’m offering my services with quality assurance and money back guarantee also support after completion of project. To get started this project asap I’m waiting for your kind response.

    Kind Regards,
    [Your Name]

    As I’m also student so I’d love to get help of your people if there is something to change. I’ll be very thankful to all of you.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:06

      25

      Hi Ahamd,

      That’s great on being at MIT! Boston is a great college town, and I can’t wait until I make time to visit it once it gets warmer.

      Heres some advice on your pitch:

      – Mention your name, not that your a Shopify developer. Inform them of who you are, not what you do. What you do will be a given.
      – Make it a bit more personally tailored to your potential client, not so much templaty. We’ll cover this in a later article :)
      – Check your grammer. Good grammer is always important, got some run-ons in there.

      0
  • Michael Musgrove

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 23:24

    9

    Sound advice. As someone who has worked giving business grad students advice on finding jobs, as well as sorting through hundreds of resume’s and cover letters, you’re spot-on.

    Direct brevity is appreciated by tired eyes that have read a stack of letters just like your first one at the top. Most people reviewing your stuff at this stage have so many applicants, they’re usually looking for reasons NOT to hire you as they gloss over what you provide. Keep it bottom lined, let your work speak for itself, and tell them explicitly how you can help them. It shows you’ve done your homework and respect their time and, at the end of the day, all they’re really looking for is someone that will help them get their bonus.

    +1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 20:01

      24

      Hit the nail on the head Michael. Despite how social media has gotten many incoming entrants to the work force, this is still a very much impressionable world. You can tell your whole life story in a pitch, thinking that it will be read because it is so interesting that nobody possibly could be bored reading it, but in the end it will only be scanned and tossed back into the pile.

      Is there any advice you could give everyone else? Many of the readers here are young graduates, or new to the industry. I’m sure they’d appreciate it, me included!

      0
  • Eddie

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 13:01

    8

    It’s kind of cool that I already send my emails that way without reading anything like this article or someone telling me to tailor my emails this way. Depending on the job or client, sometimes it is ok to go a bit longer with these emails to show that you’re not just sending the same ‘template’ to many jobs and you’ve actually put some thought into it. I like to do that by mentioning something about the job/company so they know I did some research before applying.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:58

      23

      You’re a lucky son of a gun Eddie! That is true, you have to tailor all your pitches to who the potential client is. Its always great to mention something about them, going that extra mile is very important. Now that I think of it, maybe I should do another post expanding on this one. I wonder if I will??>>!! :)

      0
  • Sherry-Ann

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 12:58

    7

    Nice artlicle Jamal,

    However, if you have no published portfolio or website displaying your mock-ups, how would you approach a buisiness? What should one do?

    Is it advisable to pay hosting for a site that only shows mock-ups? How does one get their feet wet?

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:54

      22

      Hi Sherry,

      If you don’t have a published portfolio then yes you should have at least some form of online presence that shows your work. Just make sure that in each mock-up/piece that there is a clean and clear description of what you contributed, especially if it is a major project.

      Is there any other advice I can give you to help you out?

      0
  • monique

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 12:33

    6

    I’ve made many of the same mistakes you’ve described above. Just this morning I re-tweaked my pitch (well, pretty much scrapped it and started over) and coincidentally my new pitch meets the majority of your tips above.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:51

      21

      Thats great Monique! Let us know how the redoing of your pitch has changed your results with clients. We’d all love to hear it.

      0
  • Yasmine

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 12:11

    5

    I found this very helpful and shall be applying what you have said in the article (I often waffle on too much with stuff which is in no way relevant). Nicely summarised, thank you.

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:48

      20

      Thanks Yasmine, hope all works well for you. SN: Your gravatar reminds me of a Tim Burton film, do you have scissor hands? Please say yes!

      0
  • Diana Hickman

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 11:13

    4

    Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling with this part of gaining Freelance projects since I graduated from Design School. They teach you design, jargon, art, etc., but the one thing that is vital to any success: How to write a proposal and be a freelancer. It’s hard to learn this on the fly. All other articles just list off the “best practices” but never give examples. I like how you gave an example of a bad proposal and then gave examples of good proposals and why. I realize now that I’ve been doing some of the things in the first proposal when putting in my bids on Elance.com. I’m going to try some of these points today. Thank you again for putting this out there. It helps a lot.

    -1
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 19:47

      19

      Congrats on graduating design school, where did you go? I wanted to go to SCAD back when I got out of HS, but it costs a TON!! Well its not the design school alone doing that, its school in general. We grow up and are told college is the end all be all, and that we will take a 4 year crash course in a program that will give us everything we need to have a successful career. I’ve found, and I can assume the rest of the team here at 1WD, thats not the case. That’s why I feel so many are hurting in this industry, because nobody told them anything better.

      Steps off soapbox. Yeah, I wanted to make sure I shared my past and what I learned from that so you all can learn from it. Let me know how your pitches went, and feel free to post them in the comments here for me to look at :)

      0
      • Diana Hickman

        Friday, March 29th, 2013 10:27

        32

        I went to the Art Institute of Pitsburgh Online Division for my Digital Design Diploma, but I also have three other degrees in history. They taught me all about history and digital design, but nothing about how to market yourself. It is a good school though. Typically my project bids go something like the following.

        When I first started writing proposals I wrote stuff like this:

        “Hello,

        The cover of a book implies what the book is about. In this case, the book is about taking accountability in a relationship that is ending and bringing closure to the relationship. For that reason, when I think of the cover for this book, I see a flower…a white or red rose with a heart behind it faded out with the title across the top and the authors name under the title. I see a quote on the front cover from the publisher or a reader (if you have one) as well as the information on the back cover (summary, bar code, etc.). We could even put wedding rings on the rose stem. These are just a few ideas I have when looking at your description. Attached is a book cover that I did for a school project last year. Thank you for considering me for your book cover.

        Diana ”

        See what I didn’t add? No portfolio url or resume? This way didn’t work so I tried a different route.

        “Hello {Client Name},

        I see you are looking for a book cover for your book, {Book Name}. I also see you will need help with laying out your book for publication. Will this be for a print book or for a Kindle ebook? I would love to work on this with you to create a cover that will help your book fly off the shelves. Attached are samples of my past book covers. In order to complete your project, I will need the following:

        – Information you wish to see on your book cover
        – colors you wish to see used and what kind of fonts you wish to see used

        I believe I can have a completed book cover for you within 16 hours of finalizing terms and escrow. My hours are Monday through Friday with some weekends (9 to 5 pm Mountain Time). I also work some evenings if the creative flow is really going strong. Please see the attached for samples of my past work. Thank you for your time and consideration.

        Sincerely,
        Diana”

        It’s a little better but still didn’t get the job. There’s several bids of this nature. I think I went wrong by adding my “hours of operation.” This one I was following advice from techniques I’d learned from a Elance Workshop. So I started changing it up.

        “Greetings {Client Name},

        I see that you need 5000 websites visited to pull their logos from, translated to the size and resolution of your specifications within the short amount of time of ten days from the founding of escrow. I can do this for you. It would be relatively easy to visit all those sites and pull their logos for you. I can do 500 to 1000 logos each day, maybe more depending on how complicated the logo is to convert. I set the price for the many hours it will take to do this at $3000 USD, which comes out to around $0.60 per logo. I also set an estimated delivery date “within 2 weeks.” Working daily until it is done, I can estimate you would have your logos sooner than that depending on the websites availability and conversion process. To complete your project I will need the following: The list of websites to pull the logos from, the size they need to be set to and the other specs you require as well as what delivery method you require. Will it be a zip file uploaded to a drop box or will I upload and submit it to you via the workspace in multiple zip folders? I look forward to working with you, if you should chose me for your project. Thank you for your consideration.

        Sincerely,
        Diana Hickman
        http://dianahickmansportfolio.x10.mx/

        The above was for a project ripping 5000 logos from various websites that they give you the list and resizing them. They never closed the project posting or picked a freelancer to work on it. That bid has been sitting there for almost a month. I finally archived it. Elance didn’t have the name of the client, so sometimes the “greeting” is just plain “Greetings” or “Hello.” Now a project bid went something like:

        “Greetings,

        I see that you need a one page handout to be given out at doctors offices offering insurance services. Since you have the content and copy already, it won’t be hard to design a special page specific to your needs. I can do this for you for within three days of final escrow if you should chose me. Please see the attached url for my full portfolio and resume.

        In order to complete your project, I will need the following for your project:

        – All copy that you wish to see on the handout.
        – Any graphics that you need to be added such as the logo for your company
        – Basic color scheme you are looking for in your final handout.
        – Specific deminsions for your printer and final format you need for the printer. (If you have a link to the printer’s site for the deminsions this will work too)

        What you get from me:

        – One on one consultation via Elance messenging system
        – Three revisions and corrections (a correction is misspelled words, rewording, etc. A revision is change in any part of the design to your specifications)
        – Final copy in PDF form for easy printing, as well as Adobe Indesign or other program of choice for submission to your printer

        Once we settle on escrow, I can have a finalized handout to you within a few days. I look forward to working with you. Thank you for your consideration and time.

        Sincerely,
        Diana Hickman
        http://dianahickmansportfolio.x10.mx/

        I tried various ways but almost all of my bids were turned down due to either too high of a bid or not the right style of work and some clients didn’t choose anyone or completely closed out the job. The above proposals are all only a part of the story. Along with the proposal, you have to add how much you’ll work for in monitary amounts and then how long it’ll take you to finish the job. You also have the option to add samples of relevant work to demonstrate that you can do the job you’re bidding for. I used to add five samples of my work but I felt like I was repeating myself since it’s all in my portfolio website or on my profile that they have access to as soon as I submit my bid. It seemed redundant to add something that I already have on display. Either I’m doing something wrong in my bids or people are just too cheap to pay a fair price, even though on some of my proposals I severely underbid myself. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but I can tell you that it is vastly frustrating and discouraging. It’s hard to keep submitting bids for projects that are turned down every time. Over the next few weeks I’m going to try writing bids the way you have in this article. I know that once I get the “right” way down, and learn how to price my work more accurately, I’ll start getting bids, but until then it’s very frustrating.

        Diana

        0
        • Jamal

          Thursday, April 4th, 2013 23:55

          37

          Hi Diana,
          The problem you’re experiencing is two fold. One it could possibly be your pitch, and two its where your pitching. Sites like Elance attract clients who look for the cheapest person they can find, they aren’t always necessarily looking for quality and its rare for them to want to build a lasting relationship.

          I’d suggest trying out other sites like AuthenticJobs, or Twitter. Both have some good people looking for creatives quite often.

          0
  • JXL

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 10:46

    3

    Love it! I used to have something similar to your example and finally shortened it but I like the two samples you gave they are very short and to the point. Says exactly what you need it to say without losing the reader’s attention. Great post, thanks!

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 18:08

      18

      Thanks JXL, if that is your legal name and mug shot.

      You just have to think about what the client does to find a freelancer. If you have to send a pitch to get them, then that means at least 20 other freelancers are doing the same thing you are. And I don’t like reading long drawn out bragging, so why would they? Right? Its only common courtesy.

      0
  • Necolas Hamwi

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 10:19

    2

    Wow, I’m so shocked to say i wrote some really bad pitches :P

    Thank you, this is really helpful!
    (Oh, i think i’m the first one to comment! Cool!)

    Cheers,
    Nick

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 18:06

      17

      Hey Necholas, no judgement from me on that. We all do at first, its like with anything in life. You live, and you hopefully learn.

      No prob, glad you liked it. Maybe not the first comment, but close enough!

      0
  • Sandeep

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 09:44

    1

    Pitch is very important for a freelancer.
    It help a lot to the freelancers.
    Nice to read the post.

    Regards,
    Sandeep pattanaik

    0
    • Jamal

      Thursday, March 28th, 2013 18:05

      16

      Hi Sandeep,

      Yes, your pitch is very important when your a freelancer. It gives off that first impression, and that what gives potential clients their initial thoughts on you.

      0

Comments are closed.

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