Working on your own terms feels damn good, but there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty that comes along with it.

Today I’m diving into one of the most common, anxiety-inducing aspects of being self-employed: how to find clients.

In my humble opinion—whether you’re just starting out or you’ve already got some experience—one of the best places to find new business is freelance job boards, like Upwork.

By the way, if you don’t know my professional background, here it is in two sentences. I got fed up watching my incompetent boss spill food on his already-mustard-stained clothes while explaining everything using football and wrestling metaphors (true story). Then, I moved to Spain and figured out how to make shit happen for myself.

Now I want to give back. With nearly a decade of sales experience under my belt (the last two and a half as a freelancer), I’m confident I can use my expertise to put you in front of your next client. 

And because I’m on a mission to help you be mindful and creative in your work, I’ve also included some resources to make that happen.

This week’s email is a two-parter.

The Sales Part

Here’s the exact template I use on Upwork

50% of the people I send this to book a meeting. Fifty percent—yo!

This works perfectly for job boards because your potential client is in the addressable market. Simply put, they know they have a problem, but they don’t know [how] you can solve it. 

I’ve sent several hundred proposals on Upwork. Trust me, most people there “aren’t aware of, or committed to, any particular solution.” 

This is your opportunity to show your expertise, to be the trusted advisor.

When writing your proposals, here are the non-negotiables:

  • Use your prospects’ words
  • Show your personality
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Include a call to action
  • Don’t forget the calendar link

Recommended reading: To Sell Is Human (shitty title, great book). This will teach you how to sell to today’s prospects. Spoiler alert: They’re more informed than you; get on their level or lose the deal.

The Creativity Part (and a wee bit of mindfulness)

Nothing is original.

Ok… so it’s become a bit cliché for innovators to throw around that famous Picasso quote (you know the one), but I do believe it’s true.

Here’s one of my favorite takes on creativity. “Our creativity comes from without, not from within. We are not self-made. We are dependent on one another, and admitting this to ourselves isn’t an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness. It’s a liberation from our misconceptions, and it’s an incentive to not expect so much from ourselves and to simply begin”

So, take what’s mine and make it yours. The truth is, I stole that Upwork proposal from someone else and made it my own. 

Now it’s your turn.

Recommended app: Ananda. I love this app! It’s a meditation app that uses binaural beats to “assist you in reaching a desired mood or state of mind.” It’s the best thing I’ve found to get my creative juices flowing naturally.

Sorry, Android freaks, it’s not available for you. Here are some alternatives.

I want to leave you with a few questions.

How can you add your personality to someone else’s sales approach? What happens if you look at sales conversations from a place of genuine curiosity rather than with the sheer necessity to close the deal? When you choose examples of your work to showcase, what does that reflect about your feelings towards what you do?


Can I ask you two small favors? 

  1. Tell me what you think about this topic. I can go a lot deeper when it comes to sales and Upwork, specifically. For example, I find clients on Upwork, but I typically don’t execute contracts there. If you feel this is valuable, I’ll create more content like this.
  1. If you use the template—for anything—let me know how it worked.

See ya in two weeks.

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