How To Write A Killer Freelance Pitch

4.2.2013, Written by Andrew Kandels
Creative Commons Attribution by Flickr User erink_photography

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
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.
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,, and you can hear what is being said of myself and work in the Testimonials section,
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

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

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

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.
Preferred form of contact
I look forward to scheduling a time to talk this week about the project!
[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.
Preferred form of contact
I look forward to hearing from you later on in the week to learn more about this project.
[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!
This article originally appeared on 1st Web Designer and is reprinted with permission.  Please visit 1stWeb Designer at  You can follow the author, Jamal Jackson on Twitter at @5alarmint