How to Begin a Freelance Video Editing Career?

There is a famous saying that – “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Since even a short video is a collection of thousands of pictures, so by that logic, a video of 1-minute length is worth 1.8 million words. Fascinating, isn’t it?

With the rise of video content everywhere, the demand for video editors has also grown exponentially. Looking at that, you might wonder that there is no better time to begin a career in the video editing field. Factually that is true, but it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

If you are looking to quit your current job and want to begin a freelance video editing career, you need proper planning and guidance before taking such a bold step, especially if you are a newbie in this field.

In this guide, we would walk through the process of beginning and building a freelance video editing career.

So, let’s begin!

Pros and Cons of being a Video Editor

Before starting a career in a particular field, apart from your aptitude and interest, you also need to know about the merits and demerits of being in that industry.

Video Editing is a vast profession, and even though it is in demand, it is a fact that not everyone can uphold themselves in it. So before getting into it, you must know its advantages and disadvantages so as to clear your uncertainties.

Let us first go through the bright side of being a video editing freelancer.

Pros of being a Video Editor Freelancer

  • It is in demand, so after getting established, you will never be out of work.
  • It is a creative job, and if you really have a good aptitude for it, you will live a satisfying life.
  • There is a project due date, but no foundation of working in a fixed duration like professional jobs. You have the flexibility of working as per your will.
  • The paying scale is healthy once you mastered the art.
  • Because of its reach, every industry is using videos. So, you get to work with a wide range of professionals.

Cons of being a Video Editor Freelancer

  • It takes a lot of effort and time to master even the basics of video editing.
  • Freelancing in video editing requires an expensive setup for the proper workflow. You can buy good video editing software at a discounted rate, but hardware components such as high-graphics laptops, hard drives, etc., need heavy investment.
  • For a fresher, it becomes challenging to get the clients. Many times, it can be demoralizing too.
  • As a freelancer, you always work alone and inside.

How to start Video Editing?

1. Make sure it is for you

Since now you know the merits and demerits of the video editing profession, weigh them all, and ensure whether the field is right for you or not. Don’t just blindly follow the trend and never choose any career specifically because it pays more. You can also take a psychometric test for assurance.

Also, since you are now becoming a freelancer, you must know that it is riskier than regular jobs. Freelancing is unpredictable and can be a lot more stressful. You will earn a lot at some period, while at some other, you might not earn at all. So, make sure you are good at handling such stress before leaving your current job and beginning a freelance video editing career.

2. Setup Your System

After making up your mind and ensuring yourself that the video editing profession is perfect for you, now it’s time for the action and devoting yourself entirely to learning the editing process. For that, you require to set up your system.

By setting up the system, we meant equipping the device with the compatible configuration so that you can learn and further work on video editing smoothly without any system crash. Following are the top things you should look for:

  • An allrounder editing software that is great even for beginners. Research thoroughly and get a suitable editing application for your system.
  • Enough CPU RAM to run the big software and handle the high-end projects
  • A GPU that has a high rendering capability to speed up the video exporting process
  • Enough free hard disk space to entirely export the edited video
  • External HDD or SSD storage for storing the old edited videos so that you can reuse them in the future

3. Learn and Apply

After setting up the system, now it is time to get used to the video editing software, learn it thoroughly, and keep practicing to enhance your skills. It is not necessary to work only on client projects. For becoming better, you should first get your hands on the tasks that are not for publishing. You can do a lot of experiments on such projects and learn new techniques and skills.

You must understand that for getting genuine clients, you must reach a certain level of editing that you can present as a sample. For that, you must always be willing to learn more.

You don’t require to learn everything on your own. There are a lot of free courses on YouTube to get the basic to moderate knowledge of editing. For more advanced learning, you can buy professional courses from Udemy and other sources.

4. Finding your First Client

This is probably the hardest of all the steps. After learning the basic to intermediate level of editing, you are now ready for your first client. Your first client will be your most important client ever as it will form the base for your portfolio and help you get further projects. It is only after completing the first client’s project; you will become a ‘professional’ video editor.

  • The first way to get a client is to contact the people you already know. For example, if you have a friend who runs a startup, you can contact them, present yourself, and ask them for any video editing requirements. You can even suggest something from your side that would benefit their startup as well, like creating a promotional or explainer video for their product or service. Don’t just think about your gain.
  • The second is through the online freelancing portals such as Upwork, Fiverr, etc. Create your profile on these job boards and add your best examples to display. Though these websites are really competitive, you might still grab good projects there. In the beginning, to create an impact, you must settle for reasonable rates. However, don’t go much lower as you have to maintain the standards too.
  • The third way to get clients is by contacting local businesses and new startups. Local event organizers regularly require promotional videos to maximize their reach. Similarly, new firms and startups also need promotional and explainer videos for highlighting their products or services.
  • Another method to get your first client is by contacting the YouTube channels. To grow a YouTube channel, the videos they are publishing must be professionally edited for greater mass appeal. So, YouTube channel owners are in constant need of a skilled video editor. You can contact budding YouTube creators and ask about their video editing requirements. If it is suitable, you can take the project.

5. Create your Reputation

After getting the projects in hand, now it is time to build your reputation. Building a good reputation from the starting of the career is extremely important, and it is decided mainly by the work you perform for your first few clients. Here are the things you can do to create a favorable reputation for yourself.

  1. Complete the first few projects ‘before time’.
  2. Provide something extra without being asked and without charging extra.
  3. Co-operate with the clients, provide a reasonable rate, and make a good conversation.
  4. Don’t hesitate to make changes demanded by the clients without extra pricing. You have to treat them as your boss.
  5. After the project completion, ask your clients for feedback and testimonials. Also, ask them to rate you on the freelancing networks, social media sites, and other platforms.
  6. To present yourself as a professional, you have to create proper bills and issue the invoice to receive the payments. This would also help you with taxation. Accepting payments by following this procedure would build your authenticity and create an overall professional image.

By following the above steps, you will not only create a positive repo for yourself, but you might also grab some permanent clients.

6. Build Your Portfolio

After completing the first few projects, you can now build your portfolio. In it, you can add the testimonials from your clients, your best works, your pricing, and primary services. You can create your YouTube channel and post a sample of your best work there.


The video editing profession is currently on a roll, and it is not going to come down any time soon as videos would continue to rule the internet world. This post would guide you on how to kickstart your freelance video editing career, but ultimately it is your skills and professionalism that would raise you and put you on the greater heights. You always have to remember that there is no limit to knowledge and learnings irrespective of your profession. So, to reach and remain at the top level, you still have to keep yourself updated with the latest tricks and keep learning & improving yourself.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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