100 proposals in 100 days — End of challenge

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about my 100 Proposals In 100 Days challenge — a personal challenge to really get things rockin’ and rollin’ in my business and to have some fun trying to generate new business and raise the high-water level, so to speak.

The project started on June 27th and it was set to go for 100 days… until October 3rd.
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In that time, I planned to write 100 proposals within 100 days and I had created some other rules as well…

  • The proposal had to be for paid work (i.e. no guest blog posts).
  • The proposal could be to existing clients but had to be for new work (i.e. no writing proposals for stuff that was already coming down the pipeline).
  • I had to be able to do the work I was proposing — no throwaway proposals!

I’ve only got a week left in this challenge but I can tell you right now that I have to stop. No, I didn’t hit 100 proposals early. Heck, not even close.

Here’s why I had to stop (it’s a good problem)… I simply became so busy with the proposals I did write that I reached capacity faster than I though I would. (i.e. more of my proposals were accepted than I anticipated, and for more work than I was expecting). I can handle operating at or above capacity for a little while, which was the case for the past month. But then, at 2:02 PM today, I received a call from one of those proposals and it has locked me up completely for several months. Any bit of capacity I might have been able to eke out is totally gone. I am now officially BOOKED solid.

OVERVIEW OF THE PROPOSAL CHALLENGE

I started the challenge totally gung-ho and wrote one proposal a day for 34 days (through to July 30th)…
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Most of the proposal acceptances appeared during August. I also had some other business commitments, as well as some personal commitments… my time was starting to vanish! I kept up with the work but between July 31 and today, September 25, I was only able to write another 6 proposals. It was kind of depressing to me because I wasn’t getting my proposals done. But hey, I’m not complaining about the volume of work! :)

My 40th proposal was written on September 22nd and I did think I could continue to write proposals (perhaps squeezing in a few more before the end date of October 3rd) but after my phone call this afternoon, it simply isn’t going to happen.

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PROPOSAL CHALLENGE — BY THE NUMBERS

In total, I wrote 40 proposals out of 100 planned proposals, achieving 40% of my goal.

Of those 40 proposals, here are the responses I received:

  • 2 “we are already using someone else and can’t switch at this time” replies
  • 15 “Yes! Let’s work together” replies
  • 23 non-replies (or they haven’t replied yet — but some magazines take months)

Of those 40 proposals, 15 accepted my proposal and agreed to work together (which is an initial acceptance rate of 37.5%) although so far only 8 of those proposals have resulted in actual paid work already, giving me a real (paid) acceptance rate of exactly 20%. The other 7 positive replies may or may not turn into work. They said yes but not everyone can start as soon as they accept the proposal: Some are awaiting funding from outside investors, one of them is navigating complex regulatory requirements, etc. So I separate those into 8 “real” clients (because they are current and paid) and 7 “possible” clients. I suspect I’ll get a couple more out of the possible group but they’ll trickle in, and I likely won’t get all 7.

Of the 8 accepted and paid proposals, 5 are for ongoing (perpetual) work — and that is ultimately the reason why my schedule is so full. We’re not talking about small “one-off” projects here. These are for big projects. One of the projects will take several hours every day for the next year.

Of the 8 accepted and paid proposals, only 2 were to existing clients (and 1 was to a previous client who I haven’t done work for in a few years). The other 5 accepted-and-paid proposals were to totally new clients.

Of the 8 accepted and paid proposals, 4 ended up hiring me for more work than I proposed. That is very interesting to me. That means 10% of proposals turned into more work than I proposed. Huh.

Here are some interesting notes about the 40 proposals:

  • 5 proposals were to magazines (Confession: I thought I wrote more to magazines but apparently not… and none of the 5 accepted my proposal… yet).
  • 3 proposals were for “non-conventional” projects (mostly royalties payment). All three were accepted but only one has resulted in paid work so far.
  • 27 proposals were for online content and 13 proposals were for offline content. I closed a fairly equal mix of them.

I’m really excited about the results. Although I fell short of my goal, I wrote 40 proposals, closed at least 20% of them into real work (so far), and those 8 proposals have resulted in me being fully booked for the next 12 months and will be responsible for six figures of income that I wasn’t expecting before.

Conclusion? I loved this challenge even though it turned out to be too big of a challenge for me to finish. I would do this again, although I might consider adjusting the challenge dates a bit.

Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and he's a real estate investor and a copywriter for real estate investors.

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