How I make $1,400 / month as a freelance video editor

Hey, I’m Karim. I started a little while after lockdown last March, I had been editing for a year making stuff for myself & friends because of my love for filmmaking, but it never occurred to me that I could be making money editing videos.

I stumbled upon a Youtube video talking about freelancing websites and I got super excited about the idea, however my old laptop PC wasn’t gonna be very useful, so I only did some small editing gigs as well as some voice over gigs so I could save up for a good computer, and it worked!

After I got a powerful desktop computer, it made things much easier for me to just focus on the editing side of things.

Who inspired you to become an editor / writer?

I’ve been into filmmaking for a couple of years now, lots of movies and directors/writers inspired me to dabble into this field, notably Damien Chazelle, Stanley Kubrick and Richard Linklater. As for the editing, I wasn’t *inspired* to start doing it per se, it was just something that I had to learn in order to make videos or films, and I ended up really enjoying it.

How did you get your first client as a freelancer? 

My first editing client was a corporate salesperson who posted a job offer on Upwork. They wanted a promo ad for their building using stock photos & videos and fortunately for me they really liked the video I delivered.

What’s your editing process once you have the files? 

Usually I’d try to organize the files if they aren’t already, I import them, go through the footage the first time, cut anything we don’t need and adjust the audio levels, I go through it a second time and add motion graphics, sound effects and overlays, and the third and final time I add the soundtrack and synchronize it with the footage.

Which platforms & tools do you use for your freelancing business? 

I use Upwork to look for job opportunities, Premiere Pro or Davinci Resolve to edit, After Effects occasionally for some animations, and Wetransfer or Google Drive to transfer the files with the client.

Which project or video are you most proud of? 

The video I’m most proud of is my video introduction, it’s basically a video where I talk to the camera and pitch myself to potential clients by talking about myself and past work I’ve done.

I’m most proud of this video because I just remade it recently with a good camera and gear, and I compared it to the version I did last year with a phone camera, I still had my old laptop and my editing wasn’t as good, so the difference between the two versions really make me proud of the progress I’ve made.

Where can someone see your rates, if they’re interested in working with you? 

I’m always available on Upwork and my hourly rate is $25.

Do you have any advice for young freelance editors? 

1. Be kind, punctual, and open to feedback.

2. Always overdeliver, try to exceed your client’s expectations.

3. Learn to say “no” when the job or the budget’s not right for you.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?  

I’m doing better than ever, I edit consistent weekly videos for a Youtube client and I’m looking for a second one, and finally I’m looking to expand my freelance work to doing local videography as well.  

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