Become a freelance video editor in 2024 [Complete guide]

Lights, camera, action! 🎬

But what happens after the director yells, “Cut!”? 

That’s when the real magic begins–post-production. ✨

Turning raw footage into a slick, shareable video through color grading, seamless edits, and more–that’s the fun part!

GIF Source: Tenor

If this sounds like your jam, becoming a freelance video editor may be your ticket into the exciting world of content creation.

With brands and social media creators seeking talented editors to produce captivating video content, the demand for freelancers is high.

So grab your laptop and dive into the world of sweet, sweet freelance video editing gigs. You’ll get tips on honing your skills, building an awesome portfolio, finding clients, and negotiating rates.

Table of contents

What does a freelance video editor do?

A freelance video editor is like a regular video editor, minus the office cubicle. 

They have total freedom to work wherever they please–whether it’s the local coffee shop or a beach in Bali!

GIF Source: Tenor

As a freelance video editor, you work directly with clients to bring their vision to life. You take their raw footage and whip it into shape through editing, adding graphics and effects, color correction–the works!

Unlike video editors who clock into the same company every day, freelance video editors get to choose their own projects and clients.

Most freelance video editors have a bachelor’s degree or background in film/TV production. They’re wizards when it comes to video editing software and can take raw footage and spin it into cinematic gold.

The best freelance video editors are creative problem-solvers who enjoy the freedom and flexibility of freelance work. They’re excellent time managers who can juggle multiple projects. And they thrive on turning clients’ visions into reality through video editing skillz (typo intended).

What’s on a freelance video editor’s daily to-do list?

As a freelance video editor, your routine probably looks a little something like this:

  • Review and edit raw video footage. 
  • Add graphics, transitions, and special effects. 
  • Export the final product in the desired format. 
  • Chat with clients. Communication is key! 

To truly crush it as a freelance editor, you need strong attention to detail and creativity, as well as robust technical video editing skills. You should also thrive under tight deadlines and pressure–it comes with the gig!

The perks and pitfalls of freelance editing 

Freelance video editing can be an awesome gig. You get to set your own schedule, work from anywhere, and choose projects you’re passionate about. What’s not to love? 😍

Here are some of the best parts about freelance video editing:

  • Flexible schedule. You call the shots when it comes to your hours. Perfect if you need to juggle other commitments. 
  • Work remotely. As long as you have your laptop and WiFi, you can work from exotic beaches to your local coffee shop. 
  • Creative freedom. You get to pick projects you find genuinely interesting, not just whatever you’re assigned. 
  • Competitive rates. You set your own prices based on your editing skills and experience.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Freelancing can also be stressful and unpredictable at times:

  • Inconsistent workload. Some weeks you’re twiddling your thumbs, others you’re drowning in edits. 
  • No benefits. You have to pay for your own insurance and equipment. 
  • Tight deadlines. Gotta deliver those high-quality edits ASAP. 
  • Self-promotion. You’ll need to market your skills on media platforms to get clients.

Does freelance video editing pay well?

Can you make bank as a freelance video editor?

Freelance video editing can definitely pay well, especially as you gain more experience. But your income will depend on a few key factors:

  • Your location–Editors in LA and New York typically charge higher rates than other cities.
  • Niche and specialization–Want to edit fashion videos? Promos for startups? Editing short videos or clips won’t earn as much as someone who edits long-form content or commercials.
  • Portfolio and skills–The more impressive clips you have to showcase your skills, the more you can charge.
  • Type of client–Big brands have bigger budgets. You’ll also have to take on fewer projects because big clients… have big expectations!
  • How quickly you deliver–Fast turnarounds warrant higher rates.

When just starting out, you may not be able to command top dollar. But as you build your portfolio and reputation, you can increase your freelance video editor hourly rate.

Posting your best work on sites like YouTube and TikTok is great for showing off your skills and getting more clients. The more views and followers you have, the more leverage you have to charge higher rates.

5 skills every successful editor needs in their toolkit

From social media marketing to film production and everything in between, videos have captured people’s attention better than any other medium. 

Here are five skills every video editor must have:

A graphic titled "5 must-have skills for every freelance video editor." The graphic lists the following five skills: An eagle-eyed attention to detail Great organizational skills A passion for storytelling The ability to survive (even thrive!) under pressure Stellar communication skills
Freelance video editors: We’ve got the skills to pay the bills and the patience to deal with your crazy demands.

A keen eye for detail

As a video editor, you gotta have a keen eye for detail. You need to see the big picture while zooming in on the little things that matter. A great editor can spot when shots don’t match up and make it right.

This means syncing up sound effects and voiceovers properly, smoothing out transitions between clips, and just making sure all the pieces come together seamlessly. Eagle eyes unite!

Great organizational skills 

As a video editor, you’re juggling more moving parts than a circus act. Huge files, a ton of footage, audio, graphics–it’s a lot! Having boss-level organization skills is crucial to avoid getting overwhelmed and losing track of everything.

You gotta know where all your footage, audio, and graphics are at all times so you can find them fast when it’s go time in post-production.

And you’ll be collaborating with the whole crew–directors, producers, graphic artists, content peeps–to bring projects like music videos, YouTube videos, and more to life.

The world is your oyster – you just need to get organized! 

A passion for storytelling

The best video editors have storytelling in their blood. They just get how to piece together footage to pull people’s heartstrings or get them pumped up. 

If you don’t have a natural talent for crafting stories that glue eyeballs to the screen, editing videos will probably make you snooze. After all, this job requires you to transform raw clips into engaging tales people want to watch. This can be tedious if you’re not wholly invested.

To wrap it up, you’ll need creativity, imagination, and some drama skills – not to mention knowing your way around editing software like Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop. 

But at your core, you gotta be a master storyteller.

Ability to work well under pressure

In any job, being able to work under pressure without cracking is clutch. But for video editors, it’s especially crucial.

Tight deadlines and last-minute changes are as common as spilled coffee in the editing bay. It can get stressful real fast if you fold under pressure.

But editors who know how to keep calm and laser-focused can get things done quickly and exceed expectations.

One way to stay cool as a cucumber? Get organized and have a system in place. When pressure mounts, you won’t waste precious time hunting for files.

So if you can handle the heat, crank up the deadline pressure and watch yourself shine! Just remember to breathe.

Fantastic communication skills

Having top-notch communication skills is a must in this gig. 

You’ll need to chat with clients to make sure their vision shines through in the final cut. That means listening hard, asking questions, taking feedback (even the tough love stuff), and keeping clients in the loop during editing. 

Wanna save some time when clients are weighing in? Try using specialized tools (cough,, cough) that let you get feedback fast without any messy back-and-forth.

The point is, stellar communication skills are your ticket to freelance video editing glory. Let your personality shine through and watch the jobs roll in!

Get started as a freelance video editor 

While there is no “right” way to become a freelance video editor, there are certain things that all successful freelancers do.

First, you should develop your editing skills and build up a strong portfolio.

Next, research the businesses and individuals who might need your services. Send them a pitch that clearly demonstrates how you can help them solve their problem or reach their goal.

Finally, create a solid plan for running your freelance business, including setting rates and finding clients. 

These steps will help you launch a successful freelance career in video editing.

Step #1: Create a kickass portfolio

If you wanna reel in those sweet freelance video editing jobs, your portfolio better show off your mad skills. We’re talking editing expertise, art direction, music picks–the whole shebang.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when compiling your picks:

  • Include your best stuff. Choose projects that show off your strengths. Make an impression!
  • Highlight your superpowers. Got killer color correction or motion graphics skills? Flaunt ’em!
  • Organize that bad boy. Make it easy for clients to find exactly what they need.
  • Refresh regularly. Update your portfolio every now and then to show off your latest and greatest work.

A solid portfolio is your ticket to awesome freelance video editing gigs in any flavor, whether that’s full-time, part-time, or a little somethin’ somethin’ on the side. 

Step #2: Network like your life depends on it

If you want to be a freelance video editor, you need to network. A lot. 

So, attend industry events, and workshops, and connect with other pros on social media. The more folks you know, the more gigs you’ll land!

Talk to everyone about what you do and the type of work you want. You never know who might hook you up with new opportunities.

The more people you meet, the more chances you have of scoring work. Extra points for sliding into a filmmaker’s DMs on Instagram or sending that LinkedIn connection request after an event.

Networking is key for freelance video editors, so get out there and shake some hands! Just remember to wash your hands after. Safety first!

Step #3: Perfect your processes

Having rock-solid processes is super necessary for succeeding as a freelance video editor. You need a system for every project, no matter how big or small.

So, figure out your go-to video editing software, communication tools, and overall workflow. Do you kick things off with a client call? Charge by the hour or project? How will you get feedback?

Some tips for perfection:

  • Create checklists to stay on track and avoid forgetting steps. Tick those boxes!
  • Document EVERYTHING – deadlines, expectations, etc. Avoid mix-ups.
  • Try using tools like to simplify client feedback (wink wink).

Dialed-in systems help you deliver great work efficiently as a freelance video editor. Now keep calm and edit on!

Step #4: Over time, bump those rates up

One of the most important things you can do as a freelance video editor is to increase your rates over time steadily. By following this rule, you can make a good living from your work.

But, keep a few things in mind:

  • Scope out what other professional video editors charge in your area. You don’t wanna price yourself out!
  • Raise rates slowly so you don’t shock clients. We want them to keep coming back!
  • Use happy customers to hype up your awesome video editing services. Social proof, baby!
  • Be ready to negotiate if needed. Some clients just can’t handle your superstar rates right away.

By steadily upping your rates, you can build a lucrative freelance video editing biz. Just don’t forget the little people when you’re rich and famous!

Step #5: Niche down

We know it’s tempting for freelance video editors to say yes to any project that comes their way when starting out. After all, you gotta pay the bills somehow!

But over time, find your niche. Reflect on what work you like doing and what clients jive with your vibe. There are some excellent benefits to specializing as a freelance video editor:

  • Attract clients that are the perfect fit
  • Land more fulfilling video editing jobs
  • Charge more for your services

To narrow down your niche, ask yourself:

  • What videos get you jazzed up to edit? Stick to those!
  • What’s your bread and butter based on experience? That’s probably your niche!
  • What’s in demand right now? Whether it’s tutorials or social media videos, adding popular video formats to your niche will only benefit you.

Once you’ve figured it out, shout your specialty from the rooftops! Update your portfolio, pitch to relevant clients, create a YouTube channel about it–go nuts!

Become a master video editor

The ability to edit videos quickly and efficiently is essential to becoming a master video editor, and there’s nothing better than getting your hands dirty… with popular software.

GIF Source: Tenor

It’s also important to have a strong portfolio of your work to present to potential clients. A few good examples of your work can go a long way. 

Make sure you never have to shrug your shoulders when asked for samples!

Finally, market yourself well; let others know that you’re available for work. The better known you are, the better your chances of getting more gigs.

On that note, why not check out a platform that will make receiving feedback from your clients infinitely easier? Sign up for a free trial with and take it from there!