No matter what business you’re in, whether you’re self-employed or employed by someone else, to prosper professionally, you’ll need to build what I call a “trade toolkit.” This toolbox will most likely combine symbolic (skills, knowledge, connections) and physical (hammers, product management software, measuring cups) like proposals. It will grow every year you work in the firm.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on creating project proposals, you’re in luck: we already have one in our archives. Today, though, I’d like to take it a step beyond the construction process and focus on refining the proposals you’ve already created.
1. Questioning Your Expertise
With all of its great, freedom-based benefits, freelancing comes with an actual (but manageable) emotional cost: solitude.
One of the various ways that social isolation can impact a freelancer’s self-confidence is through lack of it. Working for oneself without formal feedback can make you doubt your ability. This is a natural reaction, but it is necessary to control it.
Potential clients want an expert in their profession who is knowledgeable and confident. If you doubt your knowledge as you write your proposals, the reader will sense it.
Whether it’s going through your portfolio, sifting through your inbox for positive client comments, or simply listening to the Rocky soundtrack while pep-talking yourself in the mirror, you have to believe in yourself and your work.
2. Placing an Excessive Emphasis on Cost
Now, I understand the importance of cost and payment. It’s important to you, it’s crucial to the client, and it’s tempting to skip right to the money. The problem with this is that it strips you of your individuality and reduces you to a monetary value.
Your project proposals format should position you for success. Use most of your proposals to emphasize the value you’ll provide to your client so that when it comes time to discuss cost, they’ll be eager to hand you a briefcase of cash.
(I’m exaggerating.) When it comes to taxes, briefcases of cash are difficult to report.)
Highlighting factors like the quality of your work, previous positive results, and time saved for the customer when you explain your services and project scope will keep your worth, rather than your cost, at the forefront of your client’s mind.
3. Allowing for Interpretation
Of course, a proposals should be enjoyable to read. You want the reader to get a sense of what it’s like to work with you. A bare-bones, generic project proposals format can come out cold and dull, so consider how it will be received.
However, in your pursuit of a pleasant proposals, you must not overlook the fundamentals. Anything left out of the document is open to interpretation. Milestones, progress reports, deadlines, modifications, any form of contact, expenses, meetings, payment, and any payment terms must all be mentioned in the proposals.
4. Creating a Pitch from the Proposal
The word “proposal” can be challenging to understand. It implies that you will be offering items for approval, which you will, but it is the types of things you will be proposing that must be addressed.
When you reach the point in your client relationship where guidelines and parameters must be established, it is time to draft a proposal. It’s worth noting that I said “guidelines” rather than “major ideas.”
If you use this proposal to pitch a potential customer on some creative concept you’ve been working on, you run the danger of misinterpretation and wasting time. If you have some solid and relevant ideas, bring them up during your pre-proposal conversation.
5. Ignoring the Call to Action
When it comes to moving forward with a project, you don’t want to leave any room for excuses. Include any steps the client must do to get the process started. You can include a link to an estimate or invoice, your official contract, and a list of all available payment methods. You want to make it official with this client and make it as simple as possible.
After you’ve sent the proposal, make sure to follow up after a day or so; things come up, and people’s lives get hectic, so your client may have forgotten about it.
6. Increasing the Difficulty of Payment
Payment is another problematic issue, especially when it comes to small firms and freelancers. Not everyone can afford the monthly costs connected with credit cards and online payments, but that doesn’t mean you have to live like a caveman just to get paid.
You must mention payment details in the proposal whether you accept checks, direct bank payments, credit cards, or use services like Paypal. If you only accept checks (which is not ideal but is still a possibility), make your payment address clear on your invoice. Send an invoice and the proposal to make it easier for the client to go to the next step.
7. Failure to Consider Expenses
I indicated previously that I wanted to be as particular as possible, and I’d like to talk a little more specific on an often-overlooked aspect of the project: expenditures.
If you need to buy materials or specific equipment for this job, or if you need to travel to perform it, you must include those costs in your invoices… However, you must ensure that the clients know this in your project proposal and contract before sending them the bill.
8. Being a Generic
Even if you’ve been talking about a project with a possible client for a long time, you’re not committed until a contract is signed. A project proposal is still a form of audition and should be regarded as such.
Suppose you opt to utilize a project proposal template or program (such as music or Proposable). In that case, you must infuse the document with your personality, highlight your unique talents and knowledge, and ensure that it does not appear to be a boring standard proposal.
9. Drag It Out
You want to get to the heart of your project proposal as quickly as possible, just like you would with an elevator pitch. Your proposal should include the following elements:
-Attend to the needs and values of the customer
-Outline the task scope and payment parameters of your agreement -Highlight the unique talent and value you will bring
-Provide actionable measures to the client for putting the agreement into action.
If, after writing your proposal, you discover that you have extra facts, lengthy anecdotes, or other information that isn’t relevant to the project, remove them. If your submission is too long, your client will scan down to the price tag at the end and skip over the portion where they see how amazing you are.
Don’t wait until it’s time to go.
Now is an excellent time to begin work on your project proposal. While the client is constantly changing, certain aspects of a proposal, such as payment details and calls to action, can be pre-crafted.
Consider it as one of those wrenches with several attachments… You utilize the same base every time, but you alter it to meet your needs at the time.
Source: Approve Me
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