I don’t think there’s anything as frustrating as being a freelancer without a client. I have been there before, and I know how it feels. And that is why I want every freelancer to learn from these Upwork Proposal mistakes.

Your proposal is the gateway through which your freelancing clients assess your skills. It tells a lot about your creativity, communication skills, and your attitude to work.

Most times, poorly written proposals could be why you aren’t getting enough clients.

And if you can hone your proposal writing skills, you will likely convert about 75% of your proposals.

So, without further ado, here are 7 Upwork proposal mistakes every freelancer should avoid;

#1. Copy and Paste Your Upwork Profile Description as Your Proposals

Oh! You are smiling right? Oops! Seems you are guilty of this.

Newbie freelancers make this mistake a lot when sending proposals on Upwork.

Guys! When it comes to Upwork proposal writing, you need to be innovative. Think creatively. And focus more on what you can do for the client rather than telling them about yourself.

Take your time to read the job description. Highlight the key areas in the report, and write your proposal to reflect on the job.

I advise freelancers to focus on clients’ pain points when writing proposals.

Once your proposal reflects your client’s needs and challenges, they will be confident about hiring you for the job.

Ensure that every proposal you send is relatable and resonate well with your client.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie; if you put in the time to write a great proposal, you will close more deals on Upwork.

So, here are a few tips to keep in mind when sending a proposal;

  • Take your time to read the job description.
  • Ensure you have the required skills before sending your proposal.
  • Examine the skills you have and those you are lacking.
  • Apply for the job only if you are convinced that you are a good fit.
  • Pick up the topic sentence from the job description.
  • Take your time to explain the topic lines in the proposal.
  • Use new, updated, and easy to understand sentences.
  • Avoid using the same beginning over and over.
  • And avoid using the same ending over and over.

#2. Rushing to Apply for Every Job

One of the common Upwork proposal mistakes newbie freelancers make is that they apply for every job.

I keep telling people that you should send three proposals a day and two jobs than sending 10 proposals without getting a single job.

People often think that the earlier they send their proposals, the higher their chances of getting the job.

But that is not true at all. You are more likely to make mistakes on your proposal when you rush to apply for jobs.

As I mentioned earlier, your Upwork proposal is the gateway through which a client assesses.

Okay, let me ask you this.

Just assume you want to hire a freelancer on Upwork to help you write a daily blog for your website.

And the freelancer sends a proposal with so many grammatical and typographical errors. Would you be confident enough to hire that freelancer still?

Of course, No.

If you are a writer and you can’t send an error-free proposal, there’s no way I would be confident enough to hire you.

So, avoid rushing to apply for jobs. Yes! I know the competition is high.

But if you take your time to write a spell-casting proposal, there’s no way clients won’t want to hire you.

On several occasions, I have had high-paying jobs on Upwork because of my ability to write significant proposals.

I have convinced clients to hire me for a three-thousand dollar job because of the confidence my proposal reflects.

As a freelancer, your proposal is your greatest weapon. And if you know how to wield it, you are more likely to succeed on the platform.

#3. Offering Cheap Rate for Hourly Job

I don’t know why some freelancers think that if they offer a cheap rate for hourly jobs, clients will automatically employ them.

Guys, that is certainly not true. And it’s one of the worst Upwork proposal mistakes freelancers make.

The more you offer cheap hourly rates to clients, the more they think your skills are basic. And you will end up attracting cheapskates as clients.

Trust me, the worst thing that can happen to you as a freelancer is being hired by cheapskates. Gosh! That would be your worst nightmare.

So, before applying for any hourly job, check the client’s average rate. That will give you an idea of what the client is paying and increase your chances of being hired.

#4. Applying Less Down a Client’s Budget

Sometimes, a client’s budget in a fixed-price job is just a placeholder. It baffles me when I see freelancers applying for a job way below the client’s budget.

Damn! That is so crazy.

During my early days on Upwork, a client needed a complete website design. And his budget was $250.

When I applied for the job, I quoted 800 dollars. Guess what? After the client interviewed me, he sent a job offer immediately.

Let me give you another instance.

One of my mentees (name withheld) once applied for a job. The clients need a 5000-word article. And his budget was $50.

My mentee told me about the job. And I asked him to quote $500 for the job.

He was scared initially, but he later did as I told him. And he eventually got the job.

#5. Talking About Yourself In the Proposal

I sometimes wonder why some freelancers enjoy talking about themselves.

Just imagine reading a proposal like this…

“My name is XYZ, and I have been a freelancer for over 10 years. I’m this; I’m that I will do this, I have several certifications, blah blah blah…

Let me reemphasize this – your clients don’t care about who you are and your experience. All they want to know is that you can deliver exceptional value to them.

I don’t tell clients about myself, not even on my profile description. Instead, I tell them how I can help them solve their problems.

#6. Sending Proposals to Unverified Clients on Upwork

One of the biggest Upwork proposal mistakes to avoid is sending proposals to unverified clients.

It’s not always advisable to send proposals to clients who don’t have verified payment methods. Especially if it’s for an hourly rate job.

When a client’s payment method is not verified, Upwork can’t protect such payment. So, for your interest, avoid sending proposals to unverified clients.

Of course, you can apply for jobs posted by new clients without feedback. But ensure that their payment method is verified.

#7. Begging to Be Hired

It’s so unprofessional for any freelancer to beg clients to be hired. That is the height of unprofessionalism. And it gives the impression that you don’t have anything to offer.

Instead of begging a client to hire you, why don’t you show them what you can do for them?

If you are a content writer, let your expertise reflect your proposal. Use your workmanship to put the client under a spell…


Freelancers often make several Upwork Proposal Mistakes. And this invariably affects their ability to get high-paying clients on the platform.

Try to take note of these proposal mistakes the next time you send proposals. Trust me; this will be a game changer for your freelancing career.


Rufus S. is an author and blogger who writes about freelancing and career development for the Busy Earner blog. He is an expert on platforms like Upwork, LinkedIn, and Fiverr and shares practical tips for building a successful freelance career. Rufus is also passionate about helping busy earners manage their time and avoid burnout.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for your sharing. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your article that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me?

Write A Comment

Pin It