Overcoming Proposal Anxiety

Frightened womanYou just pressed “Send.”

Now your proposal is hurtling through cyberspace and there is nothing left for you to do but wait for your deposit to arrive so you can dive into your exciting new assignment.

The problem is that clients don’t always get back to you immediately. While you wait, you might be tempted to turn into a living-room pacing, email-checking, obsessive, nervous wreck.

Snap out of it!

After all, you didn’t become a freelance writer because you wanted to feel stressed out. And if you let yourself get stressed by the waiting game that comes after submitting a proposal, chances are you’ll start finding reasons not to send them.

Here are some things you can do after sending out your proposal to help you chill out and attract more work.

Reward yourself

Have you ever felt panicked or depressed once you’ve sent your proposal?

That’s pretty normal. You might be afraid of rejection, or you might simply feel tired after putting so much energy into writing the document. No matter the reason, don’t let yourself get used to feeling low after sending a proposal.

Instead, ensure that you get a zing of pleasure whenever you move toward your career goals by rewarding yourself as quickly as possible.

I use a reward system to urge myself to complete the tasks that will lead to success.

After you send a proposal, reward yourself generously. Take a walk in nature, enjoy a bubble bath, go for some ice cream, get a massage, or go fishing.

Let your inner writer child know that she did an awesome job no matter what happens. Soon you will feel warm fuzzies every time you send out a proposal.

Don’t take it personally if they don’t respond

Many writers who are waiting for a response fall into the trap of thinking “I’m not good enough.” Realize that when a client is slow to act, it is rarely about you.

In her article, Client’s Not Responding?, Rebecca Matter reminds us that there are several reasons that marketers might not get back to you right away, and none of those reasons have anything to do with your ability as a writer.

The marketer may be busy with a more pressing task, she may need approval from another department to move forward with the project, or he may need you to follow up because he gets dozens of emails every day.

Don’t take the silence personally. Be proactive about moving the relationship forward.

Create a proposal-writing system

Sending proposals should not be a nerve-wracking experience; it should be a normal part of how your business operates. Develop an organized and predictable approach to sending out proposal letters.

  • Write a checklist of what should be included in every proposal, and keep records of what works for you and what doesn’t.
  • Build a fee chart of your most common projects to make pricing quicker and more methodical.
  • Keep a file of companies that you would like to pitch to and add to it on a regular basis. Plan on contacting people at those companies.
  • Develop procedures for meeting potential clients, finding out whether they can use your services, sending proposals to them, and following up.
  • Schedule days every week or month devoted to sending proposals, query letters, and other forms of correspondence designed to bring in work.
  • Learn about how other people write successful proposals.

When proposal writing is made into a business system, you will do it more often and you will be less likely to take it personally when things don’t work out.

Keep marketing

Don’t let your business come to a grinding halt while you wait for an answer to a proposal you have written. Instead, implement another part of your self-marketing plan directly after you send your proposal.

Let’s say you sent a proposal that, if accepted and acted upon, will be enough income for the next month. Awesome! While you wait for the deposit, send out an email newsletter, get those postcards printed, respond to a job posting, make more connections on LinkedIn, or film your next how-to video.

When you consistently market your services, you will have more leads and more opportunities. Pretty soon you won’t have time to wait around for a deposit to come through, because you will be too busy.

Pursue your deeper purpose

What would you do with the rest of your life if money were not an issue?

Your answer doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It may be a personal goal that you lost sight of when you started to make money, or as simple as spending time with your kids every day.

Once you’ve identified your purpose, you can let go of the fear of rejection. While you wait to hear back, even if that job doesn’t come through, promise to spend time doing that one special thing.

If money were not an issue, I would do nothing but write fiction, play music, and spend time with my kids. But for now, I have to send proposals to get clients in order to make car payments.

Using these tips to take the stress out of sending proposals helps me send more of them … And that will lead to more work and a more successful web-writing career … Which, in the end, will give me more time to do the things I love.

They can do the same for you!

Well, I just pushed “Send” on a proposal … Maybe I should shut down my computer and go for a nice walk …

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