I chose oDesk.com for my little project and quickly received 27 proposals before cutting off the applications. After reading everybody's resumé, I narrowed the list down to ten. I then read their proposals and chose the "winner."
Last week I shared those ten proposals with you, my BFFs, asking who you would have chosen and why. From your responses, #6 and #9 were clearly your top choices. The only other ones even mentioned in your Comments were #2, #3, and #8 and they were far behind.
As I explained, I first kicked out 17 of the applications based on their resumés -- not that they couldn't have done the job, but the ten left were clearly more qualified. Like all of you, I kicked out #1, #4, #5, #7, and #10 for multiple reasons, not the least of which were the bad writings of their own.
Why did I reject #2, when that person clearly "...asked good questions in order to establish assignment guidelines, and who set his/her own rule that two-way communication will be required..." as David pointed out? I actually rejected him for those exact reasons! I stated that "My job was going to be pretty simple. All I wanted was for the editor to take my rambling conversational style and make it readable." I didn't want to put any more time into this myself. It was a simple project. If I was looking to edit a new book, that would be different. But not in this case.
I rejected #8 because she didn't really try. Her "proposal" was long because she simply copied-and-pasted her resumé into it.
But the biggest reason why I rejected #1, #3, #4, #5, #7, #8, and #10 was because all they wrote about was THEMSELVES. They didn't put on my hat and write from my perspective. If all I wanted was for them to take my transcript and make it readable, then the single best way for them to show me how they could do that was by providing me with a SAMPLE.
#6 and #9 both SHOWED what they could do for me. #6 provided a one paragraph example, #9 sent a full page.
Why did I choose #9? Two reasons. First, she gave me more than a taste. I could see #6 did a nice job with a paragraph, but #9's full page gave me a better picture of how the entire document would flow. In addition, she said something very smart: "I am sure you will look into every applicant's profile, so I will forgo mentioning my credentials and just let my contractor profile speak for itself." She didn't talk about herself and she gave me credit for being smart enough to read everybody's profiles. (Great marketing lesson here folks! What if I HADN'T read the profiles? Her proposal now MADE me do that. And she was right! She was by far the most qualified.)
As I said, Liza (#9) did a great job on the editing for only $33.33! Was I taking advantage of her for so cheap? (One respondent said he wouldn't hire someone for less than $50/hr to write his copy.) Well, Liza lives in the Phillippines where the annual per capita income is around $2000, so this is pretty good money. I also sent her a 50% bonus and will hire her again.
And don't worry about #6. I was still impressed with him and have given him two other jobs since. He's happy.
So what's the big lesson here? I think it's pretty obvious, but I'm going to put it in the form of a Challenge. Go find a recent proposal you sent...an advertisement...a direct mail piece...a letter...any type of marketing/communication piece. Now compare it to the proposals I received.