How To Make Money as a Freelance Video Editor

The expansion of the digital economy has spurred a demand for video content that is unlikely to decline anytime soon. As any business grows its presence on the web, there is almost always a need for more video – and someone has to edit all of it.

For those passionate about technology and storytelling, video editing can be a rewarding career. The work can be done remotely, and there's ample potential to earn a decent living. 

While many people are familiar with basic video editing, going pro still requires some study. Luckily, strong video-editing skills can be acquired through online courses and practice, meaning it isn't necessary to get a degree.

How Do You Learn The Craft of Video Editing?

It takes technical proficiency and creative vision to become a great video editor, but all that's needed to get started is a reasonably priced laptop. The priority is to become familiar with the leading editing software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or DaVinci Resolve.

Anyone can tackle these programs through online-course platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, or YouTube. As with any technical course, it's wise to be diligent and do the exercises. This type of info may only stick in the mind with practice.

It's also essential to do some filming and edit the results. “Start shooting on your mobile phone and edit your work to get your hands dirty,” says Jan Sørup, the founder of, a platform for video content creators. “It's very much a learning by doing trade.” 

On the conceptual side, getting a grasp of transitions, pacing, color grading, and how to mix sound are essentials. The same online-learning venues that teach how to use editing software have a trove of material on these topics.

Furthermore, the history of moving images goes back to the late nineteenth century. Take a broad approach and learn as much as possible about this tradition. YouTube, in particular, is brimming with film history. Any attention paid to it will turn up many techniques and inspirations for the modern editor.

How Can You Build a Video-Editing Portfolio From Scratch?

To build a stellar portfolio it's necessary to take the first steps, which probably won't get stellar results, and that's ok. This is where shooting footage with the phone and then editing it into short videos can be helpful. It's also possible to edit stock videos from databases like Adobe Stock.

“You need to take the plunge and start working,” advises Sørup. “Whether it's editing video from friends, your own projects, or smaller clients.”

Another route is to find editing contests, which provide portfolio material and allow people to earn recognition. Once someone has assembled a small body of work, they can present it on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Behance, or a personal website.

“It's best to start by editing various video types to showcase versatility,” according to marketing YouTuber Doug Cunningham. “This helps you practice and shows potential clients your range of skills. Try to tackle challenging projects and remember that each one is a new opportunity to learn and grow.”

Tristan Olson, who runs the video production company, says, “You may be working on a simple wedding video, but use it as a chance to build a narrative of that day, something with structure and flow and emotion.”

What Kind of Video-Editing Work Is Out There?

There are as many types of video-editing gigs as forms of content. Everyone knows that films, television shows, and news broadcasts require editors, but it's easy to overlook the vast range of editing work out there.

  • Corporate work: Businesses use promotional videos to market themselves. These include social media ads, product demos, etc. At the same time, businesses may need to edit internal content such as training videos.
  • Social media: The proliferation of social media and influencers means a constant churn of videos needing production help. Many influencers work on timelines that require them to outsource their editing. Short-form content, in particular, is an emerging area given the rise of TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube Shorts.
  • Event videos: Events tend to need filming, both in the business and social worlds. Weddings, corporate gatherings, festivals, and so on, are usually filmed by videographers who then have a need for editors.
  • Educational videos: Online learning is experiencing a boom, necessitating a massive amount of video editing, as much of the teaching material takes the form of streaming content.
  • Music videos: For those looking to take their career as a video editor in a more artistic direction, seeking out music video projects may be the best way to get highly creative paid practice at an early stage.

What Are The Best Places To Find Video-Editing Work?

Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and other gig platforms are a great way to seek out video-editing jobs. The same goes for job boards on platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor.

Industry job boards on sites like ProductionHUB and Mandy focus on media production work. Meanwhile, social media can also be a great way to find video-editing work, as companies frequently post job listings.

In-person networking, whether it's through meetups or industry events such as film festivals, can be valuable for making friends in the field, which sometimes leads to work.

There is also the path of direct outreach to production companies, ad agencies, influencers, and others. Even when there is no job listing, there may be some work available. Sometimes it can be helpful to start small with local businesses.

How Do Video Editors Retain Clients?

The key to retaining clients is to deliver work that exceeds expectations reliably. Forthrightness, reachability, and requests for feedback are dependable ways to keep the relationship on track.

According to Cunningham, “SEO strategies can be leveraged in video editing. Optimizing your titles, descriptions, and tags with relevant keywords can increase visibility. Not to mention, creating high-quality content can attract organic backlinks, which boosts your video's ranking on search engine results.”

Another approach is to win over clients with a creative sensibility, which can reassure them that the project is in good hands. Olson encourages editors to develop not just their technique but their artistry:

“As someone who was a freelance editor and now hires them,” he says, “nothing is worse than an editor with no value apart from understanding the controls of the software. Clients want an editor to lend their unique vision and tell a story. That story may be off the mark and need revisions, but that's okay! At least they are bringing a unique value to the project.”