Javier Escartin

An engineer who loves proposals

Javier Escartin

An engineer who loves proposals

7 Essential Insights for a Successful Career in Bidding and Proposals

Allegoric for a Proposal Manager getting a big picture look to their career
Photo by Jack Sloop

This post presents a compilation of insights I’ve experienced and talked about in my newsletter to help proposal professionals develop successful careers.

Some of these topics are covered in detail in different posts in this same blog, so dive into it for more information about processes, best practices, methodologies, techniques, resources, tips, and tricks.

To receive tips, stories, and insights on bidding, proposals, and tech—along with valuable resources—directly in your inbox for free, sign up here: Top Proposals Stuff.

The Accidental Path to Proposal Mastery

Many of us in the proposal space stumbled upon our careers by chance, much like the journey from aerospace engineering to proposal management. This transition showcases the serendipitous nature of career paths and how diverse experiences can lead to a fulfilling career in proposal writing and management. The leap from project engineering to business development—driven by the quest for a fitting role—highlights the adaptability and diverse skill set required in our field.

The role of a proposal manager involves more than just writing; it’s about strategizing, coordinating, and leading a team to craft winning proposals. This requires a unique blend of skills, from technical knowledge to project management, much like the PMP certification principles applied across various business areas. The importance of proposal manager qualifications cannot be overstated, as these professionals play a critical role in navigating the complexities of bid management and securing new business opportunities.

For those contemplating a career in this domain, the story is a testament to the fact that proposal management jobs are not just about having a specific background but about leveraging your experiences and skills in a way that contributes to business growth. Whether you’re looking for grant writing jobs remote or bid manager roles, the field is ripe with opportunities for those willing to adapt and learn. So, if you’re pondering, “Is bid management a good career?” or considering bid writing as a side hustle, remember that your unique journey could be your greatest asset in the world of proposals.

The Freelance Leap: Transforming Proposal Management

Embracing a freelance career in proposal management can be a game-changer. The shift from a traditional role in an aerospace company’s business development department to a full-time freelance proposal manager underscores the potential for professional growth and personal fulfillment this path offers. This transition is not just about flexibility and spare time; it’s about leveraging expertise in areas like government sales, B2B technical sales, and R&D grants to deliver exceptional value.

The journey into freelancing allows for a deeper exploration of proposal writing jobs, where one can apply their skills to projects that truly resonate with them. The ability to productize services, thereby reducing the hands-on workload, exemplifies the innovative approaches that can arise from a freelance career. Moreover, the foray into integrating artificial intelligence into proposal management highlights the ongoing evolution and opportunities in the field.

For those contemplating a freelance career or seeking to enhance their role in proposal management, consider the benefits of flexibility, the potential for innovation, and the satisfaction of applying your expertise to projects that matter to you. Whether you’re interested in remote proposal manager jobs or specialized areas like bid management, the freelance route offers a platform to redefine your career on your terms. Share your experiences and perhaps inspire others to consider whether a freelance path could be their best career move too.

The Universal Craft of Proposal Management

Proposal management stands out as a uniquely transferable career, transcending industry boundaries with ease. Unlike specialized fields, where knowledge is often siloed, a proficient proposal manager possesses a skill set that adapts and thrives across various sectors. From aerospace to healthcare, the core competencies of crafting compelling proposals, understanding client needs, and orchestrating a winning bid remain constant.

This versatility offers proposal professionals unparalleled career flexibility and growth opportunities. The ability to jump into new industries not only broadens one’s professional horizon but also enriches the individual with diverse experiences and perspectives. For those in proposal writing jobs, whether remote or in-office, each project becomes a chance to learn, adapt, and apply their skills to new challenges.

Embracing this adaptability can lead to exciting ventures, as seen in the transition from a corporate role to a freelance consultant serving a wide array of markets. This shift not only demonstrates the demand for skilled proposal experts but also highlights the entrepreneurial potential within the field.

For proposal professionals pondering their next career move or seeking to diversify their portfolio, remember that your expertise is a valuable commodity across industries. Your ability to navigate complex proposals, coupled with a commitment to delivering value, positions you as a vital asset in any business context. Share your journey with peers and encourage them to explore the boundless opportunities that proposal management offers.

Empowering Proposal Professionals: Tracking Success and Value

The perception challenge within the proposal management profession is real. Often undervalued by upper management, proposal roles are crucial in driving a company’s success but are sometimes seen as mere administrative functions. This misconception can impact career growth, salary potential, and overall recognition within an organization.

The idea of tracking wins—both publicly and anonymously—could be a game-changer in shifting this perception. By quantifying the direct impact of proposal professionals on their organizations’ gross revenue, we can begin to paint a clearer picture of the value these roles provide. This approach not only benefits individual career progression through tangible metrics for negotiation but also elevates the profession as a whole.

For proposal managers and bid writers, actively documenting your contributions to successful bids and proposals is vital. Whether you’re in a bid management role or a proposal writing job, understanding and being able to articulate your value in concrete terms can significantly enhance your professional standing.

The initiative to aggregate these wins through a shared platform is innovative and could serve as a powerful tool for advocacy and recognition. It offers a collective, anonymized way to showcase the critical impact of proposal professionals across various sectors.

As you consider your own contributions, think about how you might start tracking and quantifying your wins. Whether it’s through personal records or participating in broader initiatives like the proposed “Proposal Pros’ Wins Tracker,” every step taken to highlight your value is a step toward transforming the industry’s perception and, ultimately, enhancing the professional landscape for proposal managers and bid writers everywhere.

Remote Work Revolution in Proposal Management

The transition to remote work is reshaping the landscape of proposal management, presenting both challenges and opportunities for professionals in the field. The notion that remote work won’t significantly impact proposal practices is a risky underestimation. The pandemic accelerated a shift towards remote operations, breaking down geographical barriers and expanding the talent pool beyond local constraints. This change is not just a trend but a fundamental evolution in how businesses operate and compete.

For proposal professionals, adapting to this new reality means reevaluating strategies to maintain competitiveness. Whether you’re involved in proposal writing jobs remote or traditional in-office roles, the shift to remote work demands a proactive approach to skill enhancement and networking. Embracing proposal management software and tools that facilitate collaboration across distances is now essential. Moreover, the ability to work effectively in a remote environment—demonstrating strong communication, self-management, and digital proficiency—has become a critical component of a proposal manager’s qualifications.

Companies that leverage remote work can access a broader spectrum of talent, including international experts, which could redefine standards of excellence in proposal development. This means that professionals need to upskill, adapt, and possibly consider certifications like a professional bid writing qualification to stand out. Even for those returning to the office, understanding the implications of remote work on talent acquisition and team dynamics is crucial for long-term success.

In this transformative period, every proposal professional should reflect on their adaptability to remote work and seek ways to enhance their value proposition in a rapidly evolving market. Whether it’s pursuing remote proposal manager jobs or excelling in a hybrid setup, the key is to stay ahead by embracing change, honing proposal management skills, and leveraging technology to deliver compelling proposals from anywhere in the world.

Innovating Proposal Management for Freelancers

In the evolving world of freelance proposal management, finding efficient ways to scale without expanding the team is key. Here are innovative strategies that have proven effective:

Embracing Asynchronous Work:

  • Fewer Meetings, More Focus: Adopting an asynchronous approach allows for deeper concentration and productivity. This method is particularly beneficial in proposal writing jobs remote and bid management roles, where uninterrupted focus time can significantly improve the quality of work.

Streamlining with Technology:

  • Beyond Email and Excel: Utilizing a centralized “canvas-like” tool for managing proposals can revolutionize your workflow. This approach is especially advantageous for proposal manager remote jobs and bid writer home based positions, streamlining communication and organization.

Fixed Fee Pricing:

  • Efficiency Equals Profit: Charging fixed fees per proposal incentivizes efficiency and allows for scaling the number of projects without additional time investment. This strategy is essential for freelancers in proposal writing and management looking to increase their earnings without resorting to the traditional agency model.

These strategies not only enhance productivity and profitability but also maintain the flexibility and independence that many freelancers in proposal management and bid writing value. Whether you’re interested in optimizing your workflow, leveraging new tools, or refining your pricing model, these insights can help elevate your freelance proposal management business.

Value-Based Pricing in Proposal Management

In the competitive world of proposal writing jobs and proposal management, it’s crucial to recognize the unique value we bring to the table. The traditional approach of charging by the hour or basing fees solely on the effort can limit our earnings and undervalue our contributions. Instead, consider a shift towards value-based pricing.

Proposal manager jobs, especially in remote settings, offer a unique opportunity to demonstrate the substantial impact our work can have on a client’s business. By focusing on the outcomes and benefits our proposals deliver—such as winning a lucrative contract or securing a pivotal grant—we can justify higher fees that reflect the true value of our expertise. This approach is not just for freelancers. Those in bid management jobs or holding proposal manager responsibilities within organizations can also track the profitability and success rates of their proposals to negotiate better compensation.

For those new to the field or looking to advance, acquiring bid writing qualifications or a proposal writing certificate can enhance your ability to deliver value. Furthermore, understanding the bid management responsibilities and proposal management skills required can guide your professional development, making you a more effective and valuable proposal professional.

Remember, whether you’re pursuing grant writing jobs or bid writer roles, the key is to communicate the value you provide clearly and confidently. This mindset shift can lead to more satisfying career opportunities and the financial rewards you deserve.

Javier Escartin
Hey! It's me, Javi, an engineer who loves proposals with 12+ years in the field. First, as an employee for big Government RFPs, then freelancing for technology companies, and now primarily focused on running DeepRFP.com, a kit of 15+ AI tools designed for bidding that I founded. Oh! And I talk proposals all day long with the 2000+ professionals in my newsletter. Join us to get top proposals stuff for free! ↓↓↓

Table of Contents

Hey! It’s me, Javi. Just a quick note: if AI in proposals is something that interests you, I go deep dive with particular use cases here: DeepRFP/blog, such as, for example, executive summaries, compliance matrices, outlines, color teams, assessments, and more. It is also where you can try 15+ AI bidding tools for free.

Javier Escartin

Javier Escartin

Hey! It's me, Javi, an engineer who loves proposals with 12+ years in the field. First, as an employee for big Government RFPs, then freelancing for technology companies, and now primarily focused on running DeepRFP.com, a kit of 15+ AI tools designed for bidding that I founded. Oh! And I talk proposals all day long with the 2000+ professionals in my newsletter. Join us to get top proposals stuff for free! ↓↓↓

Join over 2000 pros for more proposals insights:

At jescartin.com (owned by DeepRFP, S.L.U.), we will process your information in order to send you thoughts on proposals and technology, which could include the promotion of related products and services. You may exercise your rights of access, rectification, limitation, opposition, portability, or withdraw consent by contacting stuff@jescartin.com. Further details in the Privacy Policy.


It's me, Javi.

There’s one thing that has helped 2000+ proposal pros:

👉 A summary of everything you can do with AI in proposals.

Would you like me to send you that personally? Join us!

At jescartin.com (owned by DeepRFP, S.L.U.), we will process your information in order to send you thoughts on proposals and technology, which could include the promotion of related products and services. You may exercise your rights of access, rectification, limitation, opposition, portability, or withdraw consent by contacting stuff@jescartin.com. Further details in the Privacy Policy.