Proposal writing

Writing RFPs may sound like easy money if your technical writing skills are strong, but wait! The reality may be different than you expected.


Robin Le Roy-Kyle

2 min read

a woman sitting at a desk with a notebook and pena woman sitting at a desk with a notebook and pen

Do you write propsals?

A lot of money and (not) a right fit

Shortly after discovering Government Contracting in mid-2023 while moving further into my third career as a thriving business owner/writer, I decided I'd write proposals in response to solicitation requests.

With 30+ years of experience in deciphering technical jargon for non-technical audiences, writing to requests with fidelity and accuracy, and developing structured, polished documents to inform, educate, and persuade readers, I felt confident in my skill set.

Enter the reality.


For most, Government Contracting is about money. Specifically, making a LOT of it. I was there for a few minutes, too. But in the end, despite my skill set, my Why didn't align with government contracting needs or more specifically, hoops.

With close to a year of deep-dive GovCon learning (and multiple RFPs & RFIs written), I walked away from proposal writing with these takeaways.

RFP/Proposal writing:

  • Requires a level of detail, research, and editing second to none

  • Is extra stressful due to the multitude of government requirements, timelines, nuances, and time + labor requirements

  • Benefits from teams to execute deftly— outside the scope of most smaller companies and uncomfortable for writers who want to be involved in every step of the development process

  • Is financially risky with the needed development hours and the (real) possibility of no ROI— a challenge for any company, but especially smaller ones with limited resources

  • Is a process that begins years earlier— Often heard inside the circles, "If you're seeing the RFP on SAM, you're already too late." It's not for the short-game business owner or person not interested in building relationships.

Individually, none of these are reasons to shy away from GovCon proposal writing, but in totality, they are a formidable consideration. If GovCon RFPs are in your future, I encourage you to assess your time, money, personnel, longevity, other options, and most importantly— your Why.

Since opening RL Kyle Consulting in mid-2023, I'm often asked: Do you write proposals?

My answer: I can, but I don't.

"Why not?" is usually the next question. Or, "That's a shame. I really need someone to write for us!"

Maybe GovCon isn't the right fit, but commercial accounts could be. I became an active member of our local Chamber of Commerce and found a community needing my services while aligning with my values and goals.

Does someone in your community need what you offer?

Another consideration— is SLED (State, Local, and Education) before or instead of federal. Build relationships and be the go-to in your community.

Other options

Finding the right fit can feel daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Take time to assess your skills, strengths, goals, and— most importantly — your values... your Why. When you get those aligned, you'll crush your version of success.