This set of advice (I originally called it a guide, but it’s more-so a compilation of ideas/information that may help you) will help you increase the likelihood of your bounty applications being accepted so you can earn lots of cycles!
First, a little background so you know I have some idea of what I’m talking about.
I’m Matt, a full-stack (NodeJS) developer with a couple years experience. I’ve completed four bounties so far, which honestly doesn’t sound like much. One of these bounties, however, involves somewhat of a partnership which has and will continue to involve working with the bounty poster on a number of projects and me getting paid via bounties. On top of this ongoing deal, I’m also currently working on a 36,000 cycle bounty (360 USD!), which is, at least in my opinion, a high-end bounty. Right now I have 8,500+ cycles (which is 85 USD!). That should give you an idea of my experience with bounties. Edit #1: 20 days later, I’ve now completed seven bounties, am in the final stretches of the 36,000 cycle bounty, have a total of 13,000+ cycles, and have a 4.9 star overall rating (with five of my bounties rated, and only having 5/5 ratings except for one bounty where I have 4/5,5/5,5/5). Two of my bounties even have reviews:
“Matt was absolutely awesome to work with, he was very flexible, quick, descriptive, positive, and very great at coding. If he ever applies for a bounty of yours, he’s your best shot to create the project of your dreams.” - Ajh499
“Got it done exactly as wanted, very quickly. Great hunter.” - ChaosSymmetry
Edit #2: I’ve since completed that 36,000 cycle bounty and am now in the process of cashing out all my cycles (49,316 cycles, $493.16 US) for the first time!
Edit #3: I’ve now earnt over 70,000 cycles (all-time, not my current amount) through bounties and completed 12 bounties.
The opportunities bounties present are amazing, and I know I am personally very grateful to have them. And the whole reason I managed to get accepted on these bounties comes down to my bounty applications.
Hi, I’m Matt! I’m an experienced full-stack developer.
No, I’m not introducing myself (well, at least not to you, I already did that!), this is the first two sentences of all my bounty applications. If I know the bounty poster, say if I’ve helped them out here on the Ask forums or maybe they’ve commented on one of my Repl’s, etc, then I’ll try to personalise this as much as possible.
You might remember me from …
Connecting with the bounty poster, making it as personal as possible, will greatly increase the chance they’ll accept your bounty. You also want to be very friendly and positive. People respond well to positivity, it’s natural, we like to feel good, we like to smile. Creating a positive experience for the bounty poster is your aim, and hey, maybe they’ll even ask you to work for them again!
Now we are nowhere near finished with our application, but up to here is roughly what the majority of bounty applications look like.
Hi, I’m Matt! I’m experienced in this language. I can do this! I look forward to working with you.
Yeah. That ain’t gonna cut it. Not if you want the best chance of your application being accepted. Think about it from the bounty poster’s perspective: if you posted a bounty and got an application like that, what do you actually come away knowing about that person? Not all that much. Say I’ve made a bounty for 10,000 cycles, you think I’m going to give that bounty to someone whose application looks like this:
Hi! I can do this bounty. I have lots of experience and I’ll get it done quickly!
The correct answer, is no. I know absolutely nothing about this person, they say they can do it and have experience, but I see no evidence of that. Prove it to me!
Now before we continue, you need to genuinely consider something. Can you actually complete the bounty you’re applying for. Because you need to be near certain that you can, it’s not if, it’s not maybe, you are making a serious commitment to the poster of the bounty. You need to be fully aware of what you’re getting yourself into. If you think you need to contact the bounty poster and clarify details or ask a question, don’t hesitate to do it.
Ok, so now you’re sure you’re ready to apply. You need to go further than just saying you’re experienced, because let’s be real, saying your experienced is worth a grain of salt. You need to prove it.
So how can you prove your knowledge? The answer is simple, outline your solution at a high level, talk about the technologies/tools you will use. This is good for you in two ways, obviously it’s going to increase the chance your application is accepted, but it also forces you to plan out and have a solution ready. That means, should your application be accepted, you already know how to tackle the bounty and can get started straight away and probably get things done pretty quickly since you’ve already figured out your plan of attack. But most importantly, this lets the bounty poster know that you do really know what you’re talking about. Who’s going to make up a high-level solution to a bounty? (This is not a challenge.) I mean seriously, it’s a waste of your time and the bounty posters.
I wanted to be sure that I could complete this bounty before I applied, so here’s a brief outline of how I’d go about completing it. …
You should also note something important about my choice of words here.
I wanted to be sure that I could complete this bounty before I applied.
What I’m doing is I’m telling the bounty poster, in an indirect way, that I’m being 100% honest (and I’m not suggesting anyone lie, I am always 100% honest with my bounty applications).
Again, think about it from the bounty poster’s perspective:
Well, if they’re completely honest and they say they can for sure complete this bounty, they must be able to do it and they must be a good person to work with.
You might realise by now, that what we are doing is actually using psychology to manipulate the bounty poster. Once again, I emphasise that you should always be completely honest. And anyway, what purpose does getting accepted serve if you can’t actually complete the bounty and actually earn the cycles?
Now, another thing you can do, is create a prototype or demo prior to submitting your application, but this may not be possible with all bounties. This does exactly the same thing as describing a high-level solution, just to a greater extent. The only difference would be you don’t have to understand how the prototype/demo works to know that it’s doing what you want.
Here’s a link to a prototype/demo I made so you can get an idea of my solution!
Now we’re almost done. We’re nearing the end of our application. The next thing to include is past work or experience. Link to some projects you’ve made that you are proud of, if you have projects relevant to the bounty definitely link those.
Here are some other projects I’ve worked on: … This one in particular is really relevant to this bounty: …
Something to make sure you’re doing is, if possible/applicable compliment, the bounty poster in some way. Remember to be as friendly as possible. Who doesn’t like a nice person? You want to stand out and you want the bounty poster to remember you.
Now the last thing to do is to add a little commitment to quality and ‘I look forward to working with you’ message making sure to keep it clear that this is in the event you get selected. At me personally, I don’t like arrogance, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
If you accept my application, I will do my very best to bring your idea to life. I look forward to potentially working with you!
That first sentence is important since it acknowledges that you’re human and you’re not perfect, but you’re going to try your best. It reaffirms your honesty and also says you are going to give your best efforts to the bounty poster.
Now don’t be a robot, don’t just copy and paste what I’ve written. It needs to come from you. It needs to be written in your style of writing. Each application should be personalised to the bounty and bounty poster. Change the structure I’ve given you, add more, go crazy (not literally of course). Making your application unique to you will add more to your bounty.
With any luck, following this advice, with any luck, you’ll get to work on your first bounties soon!
One last thing to remember, it doesn’t just stop at your bounty application, good communication is essential to being a good bounty hunter. If you’re accepted, start the conversation! Take the initiative! At the end of the day, it’s up to you to get the results, and to get the results you need to put in the effort.
-Matt, signing off (I don’t know, it felt like the right way to finish… Wow, this ended up being so long… like 1000+ words I think… it’s basically an essay…)