I was shocked when I first found out it was possible to make money by editing videos online.
Here is what I realized: the video industry is booming!
More and more businesses need videos to promote their services on Youtube and Instagram. It is a golden opportunity to make money as a freelance video editor.
However, be warned: it’s not as easy as it seems.
It took me months to figure out how to make a decent living.
But don’t worry, I will share my hard-earned knowledge in this guide: how to edit videos, find clients, and become a successful freelance video editor.
The topics covered are:
Let’s dive in!
Introduction: My video editing journey
Let me tell you how I became a freelance video editor.
A friend of mine had a Youtube channel about personal finance (it covers any topic from budgeting to investing).
And guess what? He offered me a partnership!
He was in charge of writing the scripts and recording the audio of the videos.
My job was to add the relevant images and video clips to his speech.
I liked the job (and I was quite good at it).
After a few months, I decided to diversify my incomes: I made a promotional video for a festival and an advertisement for makeup products.
Nowadays, I specialize in promotional videos, and I make around $30 per hour.
And you? Do you think you have what it takes to become a freelance video editor?
Let’s face it: video editing is not for everyone.
To guide your decision, I have gathered my knowledge about video editing jobs: the pros, the cons, and how much money you can make.
Pros and cons of working as a freelance video editor
There are some aspects of freelance video editing you need to know.
Let’s start with the bright side:
- Video editing is a creative process (and I find it very satisfying).
- I have the freedom to work wherever and whenever you want.
- Video editors are paid according to their skills.
Nothing’s perfect; there are also some disadvantages to consider:
- It takes time and effort to learn the basics of video editing.
- Video editing requires expensive equipment like hard drives, video editing softwares, and a laptop.
- It can be challenging to find clients (don’t worry, I’ll teach you my method in Step 2).
And now, let’s talk about the exciting part: the salary.
How much do freelance video editors make?
According to Payscale, freelance video editors’ average salary is $20 an hour (in the U.S.).
In my experience, it mostly depends on your experience and duties. For example, editing promotional videos for small businesses pays more than making Youtube videos.
Step 1: Learn video editing
Video editing is easy to understand but hard to master.
In this section, I’ll walk you through the basics:
- What video editing equipment you should buy.
- How to choose the right editing software.
- How to learn video editing with online classes and tutorials.
Let’s get started!
Video editing equipment
You don’t need a studio to become a successful video editor!
Powerful laptops can now handle many of the tasks that editors used to perform in a studio. Here is what you should look for when buying a computer:
- A powerful CPU and graphics card.
- Many gigabytes of memory.
- USB ports.
You may also need high-quality headphones, external hard drives, and cameras (you can decide if you need them later down the road).
Choose a video editing software
Video editing softwares are very intuitive.
That’s is why I recommend using professional softwares right away!
Here are some of the best video editing softwares:
- DaVinci Resolve has a free and paid version. I use it daily, and I think this is by far the best video editing to get started!
- Lightworks has a free version that is good for beginners. The professional editor has been used for many feature films.
- Final Cut Pro X is an excellent video editing software if you can afford it. Many professionals recommend it.
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC is also good, but quite expensive.
Remember: the workman is more important than the tool! All of these softwares are capable of editing Oscar-worthy films; it all depends on you.
If you don’t feel like investing cash upfront in editing software, then you can get away with using iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, which are pre-installed on Mac and Windows machines.
Online classes and tutorials
You don’t have to learn video editing on your own!
Here are some of the best online classes that I recommend:
- Video editing in DaVinci Resolve (Udemy): that’s the course that taught me video editing! It covers everything from beginner to advanced. I highly recommend it!
- Video Production Bootcamp (Udemy): a course that helps you shoot, edit, and manipulate videos on a professional level.
- Become a video editor (Lynda): you’ll get a solid foundation in everything from story structure and editing techniques to video compression and color correction.
- Video editing classes on Skillshare: thousands of courses to learn the various aspects of video editing.
If you don’t want to pay for a class, I recommend these free tutorials:
- How To Edit Videos in DaVinci Resolve 16 (Free Video Editor): the best video to learn editing with free software.
- World’s Most Advanced Video Editing Tutorial (Premiere Pro): the best free tutorial to learn video editing with Premiere Pro.
Practice, practice, practice
The best way to learn video editing is by actually doing it.
Just find your footage, choose an editing program, and get to work.
Mastering skills like directing, lighting, and audio will give you a taste of what it takes to put a film together. Editing is so much more than merely cutting footage.
Video editors are storytellers!
If you want to perfect your skills, here are the best resources for video editors:
- Larry Jordan’s website: his blog has thousands of free tutorials for video editors! You can learn about Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Audition, and many other top programs.
- Videocopilot.net: a nice collection of plug-ins, resources, and tutorials widely used by the visual effects community.
Step 2: Find video editing jobs
Now that you have decent video editing skills, it’s time to find your first clients.
The best ways to find video editing jobs are:
- Signing up on freelance websites and job boards.
- Contacting small businesses in your area.
- Contacting Youtube networks and channels.
So let’s take a closer look!
Freelance websites to find video editing jobs
If you are a beginner, you can get hands-on experience on websites dedicated to helping freelancers find work.
Here are my favorite freelance websites:
- Fiverr – the world’s largest freelance services marketplace.
- PeoplePerHour – a website where freelancers can bid on jobs.
- Upwork – a platform that connects top companies to talented freelance workers.
- Flexjobs – for about $15 a month, you get access to a list of remote jobs.
- TopTal – through a rigorous screening process, TopTal identifies the best freelancers and connects them to potential employers.
Some websites are also dedicated to video editing jobs:
- ViEdit: get paid to create business videos, social media clips, home videos, travel movies, and more.
- Tongal: they hire writers, animators, videographers, and editors to make videos for businesses.
Job boards to find video editing jobs
If you are an experienced video editor, you can find jobs on:
- Behance: a great place to upload your creative portfolio. It also has a job board where you can find video editing jobs.
- ProductionHUB: a global network of vendors that serves the video production industry.
Contact local businesses
Here is a list of local businesses that might need a video editor:
- Event organizers (festivals, weddings, etc.) often need to promote their events with video.
- Contact marketing agencies in your area. Every market has its local advertising, and those commercials need to be edited.
- Some local businesses also need to publish videos on social media.
Edit Youtube videos
Let’s face it: Youtube is massive.
More and more YouTubers and networks need video editors. That is an excellent opportunity to get some hands-on experience.
The downside is that editing YouTube videos usually doesn’t pay well. Most YouTubers will promise to pay a percentage of their income or pay you with exposure.
Remember that you can’t eat exposure.
Step 3: Grow your video editing business
Now that you have some experience, it’s time to step up your game!
Here are a few ideas to land more video editing jobs and increase your revenue.
I see that a lot of video editors specialize to get a competitive advantage.
For example, I have seen that some freelancers specialize in wedding video editing.
They team up with wedding organizers to get an edge over their competition.
And it works: people often pay a lot of money to make sure that their romantic moments are well-edited.
Build a strong portfolio
Here is the deal: if you want to land high-paying jobs, you need to showcase your skills.
YouTube’s an excellent platform to publish your videos.
You can even build a website with:
- The best videos you’ve ever edited.
- Testimonials of your clients.
- Your services and your pricing.
- A contact form.
And all there is left to do is market your portfolio to your target audience.
By branching out and becoming familiar with other aspects of the industry, you’ll be able to land high-paying jobs like sound engineering, assistant directing, or even small-scale video production projects.
Here’s a short recap of how you can start your career as a freelance video editor:
- Improve your video editing skills.
- Land your first video editing job.
- Build your reputation.
- Build a portfolio to showcase your skills.
- Make more money by teaming up with other professionals and learning new skills.
If you liked this article, here are more ways to make money online as a freelancer:
- How to Make Money Building Websites for Other – An effective way to make some money on the side.
- How to Become a Social Media Manager – Many small businesses rely on freelancers to manage their social media accounts! Do you want to take advantage of this opportunity?
- How to Become a Freelance Writer – A great guide if you want to turn your writing skills into gold!