Secret Behind Becoming a Successful Freelance Video Editor

Becoming a successful freelance video editor

The whole new era of work from home and freelancing has let creative people stretch their wings and take their talent to new heights. Especially, the tremendous growth in social media and multimedia has opened up a lot of job opportunities. One such, booming career seen these days is freelancing video editor and we must say it’s no play but a serious business. It requires talent, knowledge, and a magical stroke that gets you to the heights you aim for.

Video editing is not just about shooting a video, it requires a perfect blend of knowledge and creativity to create a masterpiece. Quitting your full-time job and taking up freelance video editing though has a lot of risks, also has a lot of benefits, only if it is done in the right way.

Though it is pretty understandable who is a video editor, wondering what it means to be freelancing in such a profession? Let’s see!

So, what does it mean to be a freelance video editor?

Being a video editor first and foremost means, you edit the footage and upload it on any video-sharing social media platform and get your creativity noticed by a vast audience. The content should be beguiling enough to attract all the active audience.

As a freelance video editor, you can work with a variety of clients on a variety of subjects. You will not be restricted to just one proposal at a time. Also do not forget, it is a high risk to be a freelance video editor but at the same time there is a potential for huge rewards and sometimes you may earn nothing.

In short, nothing is predictable. However, if you are confident about your skills and creativity and ready to shoot the works then let’s learn the art of becoming a successful freelance video editor.

What does a freelance video editor do?

For promotional and marketing purposes many companies require video services for which freelance video editors are required. A video editor is also required for filming a wedding event or similar family occasion, music videos, etc.

Let’s discuss the typical workflow of a freelance video editor:

  • They import, log and tag video files
  • Trims excess footage
  • Rechecks the initial cut
  • Checks for color and sound
  • Final review
  • Lastly, compress the final product and save, and then catalog the end product.

Interesting facts about freelance video editor

  • As per research, there are nearly over 27k freelance video editors in the US.
  • Out of which nearly 23% are women.
  • Most of the video editors are located in New York, Los Angeles and California and their average annual pay is around $54k.
  • The starting salary of a freelance video editor is nearly $34k and surprising in 2021 women earned 100% of what men earned.
  • Freelancer video editors work more in private companies than public companies and about 10% highest paid professionals earn nearly $84k or even more.
  • Another interesting fact is that about 20% of freelance video editors are from LGBT community.

Let’s now understand the transition process

What will you require to switch from full-time to freelance video editor?

Regardless of your video editing knowledge, preparation, and experience, to kick-off as a freelancer, there are some almost mandatory requirements like:

Your own tools and equipment

When you work under an agency or at a media production office, the expense of video editing tools is of course borne by them but when it comes to freelancing you have to shell out from your pockets for all the necessary tools and equipment that you will need for video editing.

The quality of the video edit is something you cannot compromise on. So remember, the better the quality, the higher will be the cost of tools. Heavy-duty computers, high-definition headphones, paid video editing software with full features, an external hard drive, the hardware is some basics that you may require right from the beginning. If you are already having some of these necessities since you did video editing as a hobby then good for you. You can start off with it and upgrade later once you start making some money.

Be prepared with some extra funds

Starting a freelance video editing job is almost like taking a leap of faith. So if you are taking this leap, make sure you have a financial backup. Like emergency funds, you will require at least 2 to 3 months of expenses ready, to save you from any sort of problem when you make the transition or for any worst-case scenario.

No matter how excited or passionate you are to start off with freelance work, first, be ready with the emergency funds then only initiate. If you don’t have enough funds, delay the idea or initially start with a part-time job and continue till the time you are all set with funds.

Create an engaging portfolio

Every creative work demands a beautiful and captivating portfolio. Your portfolio should instantly reflect your skills, creativity, and dedication. Whether they are hobby projects or projects worked with a previous employer, whichever attracts your future clients should be part of your portfolio.

However, make sure if you are showcasing your work with the past employer, take the employer’s as well as the client’s permission, just to save yourself from any sort of legal trouble. But, also don’t fail to add your personal projects as they are the ones which will rightly reflect your level of passion.

Understand the business

You know your work but now it’s time to know the business. Since you will be self-employed, there are a lot of behind-the-scenes tasks that you need to take up now responsibly. Apart from your main editing task, you should also be able to manage your time, create a schedule, hunt for new clients, create and send invoices, file your own taxes, manage accounting, and much such clerical work which was alien to you till now.

However, remember if you fail to do any of these duties, it can affect your freelancing business. To keep a track of finances and also to ensure invoices are sent on time and you receive payments on time, use online invoicing software. It is handy, easy to use, and automates most of your billing and accounting tasks. You can even invoice your clients on the go and keep proper track of paid and unpaid invoices. Just focus on what you do the best and let the cumbersome invoicing task be handled by such cloud-based invoicing software.

Start finding your work

After all the initial setup, it is time to hunt for customers. But how will you build a client base? Though, in the beginning, it may be a bit strenuous but it is totally worth it. First, you can start looking in your community itself. Connect with creative professionals, personally as well as professionally, take their help.

Analyze where you can find your target audience and start reaching out to them. Try sending cold emails, post your work on social media networks, and pages where your target audience is present. Word of mouth is not a bad option too.

When you eventually become the Boss

And then comes a day when you finally succeed as a freelance video editor. You’ve found some clients and have started making good money. Taking up more work, will you be able to handle it all by yourself? Certainly not. When you will be at a stage where you want to take your video editing business to the next level, obviously you’ll be drowned in work. Managing everything would be really chaotic. You need to consider hiring some staff and also take the help of some online management tools.

Additional tips for a freelance video editor

  • Just like invoicing, you can use some effective tools for project management, customer management, inventory management, etc. This will reduce a lot of your management work.
  • You can also consider hiring staff like for example a junior editor to handle minor tasks or a videographer who will just shoot the footage and you can work on the editing part. Outsourcing some parts of your business is also a good option.
  • Pitching new clients, growing your business, and upgrading your creativity should be your main focus.
  • If you are employed you can look for a transition to the freelance field to experience more exposure.
  • Start saving for your freelance project and cut down on expenses so that you have enough for 2-3 months of your business expenses.
  • Remain flexible and stay versatile to get more work. Be open to work in different genres or projects that are out of your preferences. This will sharpen your skills and will help you gain more experience.

Pros of becoming a freelance video editor

  • You get the flexibility and freedom to work anytime and from anywhere.
  • You can decide your niche and specialize in a particular genre and work accordingly. You need to work forcefully on areas that you don’t find interest in, which happens mostly when you work for your boss.

Cons of becoming a freelance video editor

  • The main difficulty that you may face while working as a freelance video editor is finding clients. You need to build up your portfolio first to get a steady client base.
  • Income is often unpredictable for freelance video editors. They go through dry spells as well as busy months- so it’s hard to predict the income base.
  • Though you have no risk or fear of job loss or pay cut, it may be hard to motivate yourself. You need to be disciplined and must motivate yourself to stay focused all the time.
How much money do freelance video editors make?

Depending upon the experience, location, and niche the income may vary for a freelance video editor. But mostly for US freelance video editors, the average income per hour is around $37 as per the reports of 2020.

How much should you charge clients?

Whether you charge on a per-hour basis or on a project basis, the charges vary for every project. Set your initial rates based on current trends, what your competitors are charging, the location you are in, and most importantly your experience. All these factors count while charging a client or setting the rates.

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Wrapping up!

Becoming a freelance video editor though is challenging and backbreaking, it is surely a fun-filled and rewarding career choice. If you are aiming for it then just go for it.

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