It’s never been a better time to work as a video editor.
Trust me, I’ve been doing it full time since 2017.
There are so many different opportunities nowadays to make money editing videos.
The world is changing, and so are occupational opportunities, especially if you work within a creative field that relies on the latest technologies.
Making a decent income, in some cases, a good living from the skills you possess is actually far easier now than in recent years, and there are countless ways to sell yourself and your skills accordingly.
Traditional ways of working have changed.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, far more of us were working for ourselves or outside the established office-based environment, and COVID merely hastened and increased this practice.
This means that if you have offered a service, whatever that service is (and even the more bespoke and unique niches can pay off in a big way), you can offer it remotely and to anywhere and anyone in the world.
How To Make Money Editing Videos
We very much live in a visual age.
The amount of visual content we consume, in a plethora of ways from a physical perspective (i.e., on our mobile devices, on TVs, and laptops), is increasing every day.
And if you are a talented video editor, then the possibilities for making money from your abilities are nearly endless.
Having any specific skill, like being a video editor, is a very valuable commodity, and there are countless ways to make it work for you.
If you are an expert using Premiere Pro, or any other high-quality piece of editing software, then there are buyers out there ready to pay you for your work.
In an ideal world, and it’s worth noting that no one really lives in one, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule, you’d have some level of qualification in video editing.
Whether this comes from a college or university program or a class you may have taken doesn’t matter so much.
We only say this because some might, perhaps wrongly, believe that such qualifications would act as proof of your abilities.
Formal education in the video editing field can be very handy, not just in terms of the skills you possess but also in terms of how they are received by potential clients.
However, we should stress that this isn’t necessarily a game-changer. I am the living proof of that.
So when it comes to the types of jobs you can look to secure as a video editor and make money as a side hustle or a full time living, let’s take a look at a number of the opportunities out there.
Work for a Production Company or Television Network
This is perhaps one of the most common and most sought-after positions for a video editor to look to secure.
Here you’ll be employed on a full-time basis (but that may still involve a lot of home working if that’s what you are after) and will be trusted to sit down with a TV program’s producers and directors to cut and edit the content that will then air.
The pride and accomplishment you’ll feel when you first see your name on the screen will almost certainly leave you beaming for days.
Here you’ll get a credit that will help to boost your profile and your resume.
It should be noted that, as a starting point, the salaries in these positions aren’t as high as you might imagine, but the work can be varied, and the possibility of advancement is high, especially if you are good at your job.
Here creativity is as key as your general understanding of editing principles and the software that you are using.
It’s the kind of job that will prove very rewarding and is, for many, the pinnacle of the video editing profession.
Work as a Film Editor
This opportunity may come off the back of work with a production company or TV network, where you’ve learned your trade and made a name for yourself.
Now instead of editing short-form content, you will be editing films, and this comes with a great deal of gravitas and, potentially, a bigger payday.
Clearly, it depends on what type of production you are working on, from student films to Hollywood blockbusters, but the work you’ll be putting in will be very satisfying and can lead to you picking up trinkets during awards season.
You might find yourself getting well with a particular filmmaker, and this could lead to more steady work and a partnership that will serve you and the productions you work on very well indeed, as you’ll be marrying the creativity that you have combined with your respective talents.
Editing for Special Events
This kind of work should not be sniffed at. Some may consider the editing of weddings or other special occasions as beneath contempt.
There are inverted snobs in the industry who might balk at such work, but it pays well and is a steady way to make good money as a video editor.
Here the work might be very similar, but if you are good at what you do, then you might find yourself becoming very popular as word of mouth can aid your chances of cleaning up.
If you regularly work with a camera operator who films these occasions, then you can partner up on these projects, and this will make finding new work much easier.
Perhaps you can even secure an invite to the event itself and enjoy the fine champagne and wedding cake you can handle!
Put Your Services Up On Freelancer Websites
This is a very common route in 2022 and one that is likely to grow. Here you’d post a profile that outlines your CV along with, typically, a shot reel that shows your editing skills.
You’d then battle others in the industry for work that comes your way.
This might be via the likes of Fiverr or Upwork and other similar sites, and if you get a positive reputation, then you may find yourself being approached by individuals rather than you pushing for any relevant gig.
There are upsides and downsides to this form of making money from your video editing skills.
On the one hand, the work can be regular, and it’s easy to pitch for jobs, but you might not start getting them until you pick up a contract or two (which makes it a little bit like a vicious circle).
You will also see a chunk of your earnings taken by the platform that you are signed up with.
If you are an experienced video editor with proof of your capabilities that will impress those in the market, then you might want to teach others the trade.
You might offer tutorials via YouTube and look to clean up via their service, though this may be tough, to begin with.
Teach Editing Skills
Alternatively, you might offer your services in person or via video conferencing channels, and being able to communicate the way you work to others is key here.
In other words, you might be the best video editor in the world, but if you can’t teach a group or individually effectively, then this isn’t an avenue for you.
There is a stereotype that has some basis in truth, that video editors are a quiet and introverted bunch, and as such, they may not be perfect for the type of delivery needed by a good tutor, but if you think you can cross this bridge then why not consider it.
Edit Content for YouTubers and Other Social Media Networks
This is one avenue that could provide a great deal of work and a great way of making lots or money editing videos for others.
As mentioned previously, the amount of content being created and consumed via social media networks is off the charts.
Every day we all, as a society, watch hours of video content.
Be that via YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or wherever.
Our appetite is insatiable, worryingly so if we are honest, and that means that social media influencers, businesses, and companies of all shapes and sizes need editors to help produce content that is fit for purpose.
The rapidly growing market in this niche means that those who produce content need to know that what they shoot, produce and edit is of the highest quality and that often means they look for editors out of house, and that’s where you might come in.
Here your job will be to edit long video content into bite-sized chunks.
Be that stories on Instagram that might last seconds to documentaries on YouTube that last an hour plus, and this creates opportunities for those who are skilled in the video editing field.
Pitching for these jobs may come via the freelancer channels we mentioned before, or if you have a strong website and name in the industry, you might find that the relevant business comes to you directly.
This type of editing is quite specific, and it’s something you can learn a lot about long before you ever get work in this field.
Check out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to social media content.
Often this is very direct and unflinching.
It can be about as subtle as a sledgehammer, and it’s worth noting that every social media network has different styles and needs, so do some research and consider putting together a test reel that covers this form of video editing style.
One important thing when working as a freelance video editor for a YouTuber for example is to make sure you’re using one of the most popular pieces of software YouTubers use. It makes collaboration and the workflow much easier.
Edit Promotional and Advertising Content
This is another area that some video editors may elect to, wrongly, swerve around on the ground that it’s ‘selling out,’ but such a move would be foolish in the extreme.
Here we are talking about video editing for big business and commercial entities.
This might involve work on putting together advertising and promotional material.
On the one hand, this work might be a little bland, and the work may leave you constrained from a creative perspective, but it pays well, and if your work is good, then you may find your name passed around, or you could start to work exclusively with one brand or another.
This is, for some, the most rewarding way of making a good living from your video editing skills.
Know Your Worth
Now that we’ve outlined some potential areas of employment for good video editors to pursue, it’s worth reminding yourself of your worth in the market.
It may be tempting, and perhaps even unavoidable, to take whatever work is offered regardless of how much the work pays.
This is one way of approaching the situation, but overall we’d strongly suggest, especially if you have a proven background in the field, to always know your worth and charge accordingly.
Here, with a field as creative and specific as video editing, you are selling a service that isn’t merely for the sake of cost.
In other words, if you are in a supermarket and you are looking for a product, you might (on some level) be swayed by the cheaper brands, but as a video editor, you are offering a product that is on the high-end of what’s available in the market.
Companies, individuals, and businesses will pay more if they feel that what you offer is on the high-end of the spectrum.
While clearly, if you take work at a lower cost, you might end up getting more work, but in the end, you are essentially devaluing your output, and you might find that this hampers your ability to make a good living from your work.
The earning potential of a video editing with a good track record is very high indeed, and the scale of video content being produced in all the fields and niches noted earlier in this article means that this isn’t likely to change.
As far as creative fields that require a specific form of learning and ability, a video editor is in a very strong position to do very well financially.
It’s also a growing field, and as such, you will be fighting it out with other talents, which means you’ll need to work harder to stand out, and working out how to promote yourself may end up being as important as your actual abilities in the field.
With this in mind, don’t be afraid to demand a high rate, especially if dealing with those you feel can afford it, and you might find it leads to more jobs on the same pay scale.
Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.