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Do you have a passion for writing? Are you looking for a way to make money from home? If so, becoming a freelance editor may be the perfect career for you! 

Freelance editing is a great way to use your skills and knowledge to help other writers improve their work. And best of all, no experience is necessary if you’re dedicated and willing to learn on the job.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to become a freelance editor and what services you can offer. We will also provide tips on how to get your first freelance editing job and earn your first dollar in the field.

a man in front of his laptop working as a freelance editor with no experience

How to become a freelance editor with no experience

Here are some tips that can help show you where to start as a freelance editor:

1. Research the field

Before beginning your career as a freelance editor, it is important to do some research on the field. Read books and blogs about editorial skills and techniques, and connect with or follow people working in the field.

A great way to deepen your research is to interview someone who is already working as a freelance editor. Ask this person questions about the job and how they got started. 

a woman in front of her laptop doing research on how to become a freelance editor with no experience

You’ll also want to ask them about their favorite and least favorite part of the job so you understand the range of challenges and rewards that come with the job.

Finally, ask yourself if the job feels right for you after diving into the research. If you’re still excited about the possibilities, then freelance editing may be the perfect fit!

2. Develop your skills

If you want to become a successful freelance editor, it’s important to develop and refine your editorial skills. This means learning about grammar, syntax, proofreading techniques, formatting styles, and more. 

You can find free online courses or webinars to help you build your skills, or you can purchase courses and ebooks to further your education.

Another idea is that you may also want to consider taking a freelance editing course specializing in editing or proofreading. This is a great way to demonstrate that you have specialized knowledge and experience in the field.

Online programs such as Coursera offer a variety of courses related to editing and proofreading that come with certifications that can be added to your portfolio.

Related: 9 Best Proofreading Jobs for Beginners to Work From Home – No Experience Needed

3. Offer your services for free to get experience

It can be a contradiction to gain experience if you don’t already have it, so a great way to get your foot in the door is by offering your services for free. Reach out to authors or writers that you admire and offer to edit one of their pieces free of charge.

This will not only give you the portfolio pieces that you need, but it shows potential employers that you are committed to the field. Not only that, but it can also help build your reputation and give you an idea of what type of editing projects may be right for you.

Make sure to ask for a review or testimonial in exchange for your free services. This will help potential employers and clients get a feel for who you are and why they can trust you.

3. Build a portfolio

Creating a professional portfolio is essential for any freelance editor. This will help demonstrate your skills and experience, both online and in person, and give potential clients an idea of the quality of work you can produce.

Your portfolio should include samples of your work, such as articles or documents you’ve edited, as well as any reviews or feedback from previous clients. 

a freelance editor with no experience working on her laptop

It’s also a good idea to include a brief biography and a list of services you offer so that potential clients will know exactly what they can expect from you.

You can build your portfolio by starting a website or a PDF file. As long as the portfolio is accessible online, you’ll be able to share it easily with anyone who may need your services.

4. Get familiar with helpful software

Now that you’ve developed your editorial skills and built a portfolio, it’s time to get acquainted with some of the helpful software available for freelance editors.

A great place to start is by familiarizing yourself with Grammarly, a popular tool for editing errors and typos. Word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs also contain a variety of tools to help you with proofreading, formatting, and other editorial tasks.

Organizational programs such as Trello and Asana are also helpful when it comes to managing deadlines and collaboration. Additionally, online payment processors such as PayPal can be used to securely accept payments from clients.

You may also be interested in: 21 Legit Ways to Get Free PayPal Money Instantly

5. Set up your financial systems

The last back-end step to becoming a freelance editor is setting up your financial system. This includes deciding what payment methods you will accept, setting up invoices and contracts, and tracking expenses.

As a freelancer, it’s important to keep track of all the money coming in and out so that you know exactly how much you’re actually earning. 

Invoicing software such as FreshBooks or Wave can help automate this process and make it easier to manage your finances.

Additionally, setting up a separate bank account for your freelancing earnings is a great way to keep track of all the money you’re making and ensure that you’re paying taxes properly. While this step is optional for sole proprietors, it can save a lot of hassle when tax season rolls around.

6. Find clients & offer your services

Now that you have a portfolio of your work and some experience in the field, it’s time to start finding clients. 

The best place to start is by networking with other freelance editors or professionals in the industry. You can find these people through online groups or by cold emailing potential employers.

Another option is to seek agencies that specialize in freelancing services. These agencies will vet potential clients and make sure that you’re getting paid on time, making them a great option for those who don’t want to handle the entire process themselves.

There are plenty of job boards that will have regular editing opportunities available. You can even set up alerts to notify you when there’s a job posting that fits your skill set.

Find out more about: 11 Best Virtual Assistant Websites to Hire Your Next VA (or Be Hired)

7. Niche down and refine your services

Although it’s important to be flexible when first starting out, you should try to niche down and refine your services as soon as possible. This will help you attract more high-end clients who are looking for specific skills and expertise.

Start by deciding what types of projects you would like to specialize in, such as fiction writing or academic writing. From there, you can develop a list of services that you offer and target potential clients who are looking for those specific skills.

You can also focus on expanding your skill set by continuing to take online courses or attending seminars in order to stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry. This will ensure that you’re able to provide top-notch services to clients and distinguish yourself from other editors.

Can you be an editor with no experience?

Yes, with the right skills and effort, anyone can become a freelance editor with no previous experience. Self-starters and those who did well in writing and editing classes in school are particularly well-suited for the job. You’ll be able to learn on the job and command higher-paying projects as you gain experience.

Your best bet is to start by gaining some experience through volunteer work or internships before launching into freelance editing. This will give you a better understanding of the industry and help you develop the skills needed to succeed. 

a woman sitting on the floor of her home working as a freelance editor with no experience

When applying to content mills or joining agency teams, you may be given an aptitude test that can help the hiring party assess your skills. If you pass these tests with flying colors, you may not even need a portfolio to get started. 

So take the time to learn the basics of editing so you can prove to prospective clients that you can handle their projects like a pro without experience.

How much do beginner freelance editors make?

According to the popular freelance platform Upwork, you can make between $20 to $30 dollars an hour as a beginning freelancer. The specific rate depends on a variety of factors including the type of project, the length of the project, and the budget of the client.

As mentioned above, starting out with free offerings can help to build up a portfolio and reputation, so you may be earning under $20 at first. 

However, after a few weeks to one month, you should be able to increase your rates and start earning the more desirable rate of $20 to $30 an hour.

By niching down and offering a specific set of services, you can also command higher rates from clients looking for those particular skills. Additionally, you can add additional services such as proofreading or research services to boost your hourly rate.

Related: 13 Easy Freelance Jobs for Beginners to Make Money From Home

How much should I charge as a beginner editor?

When deciding how much to charge when getting started with editing, it’s important to take a look at the market rate for the services you offer. You’ll need to figure out how much other editors with your level of experience are charging in your area and make sure that you’re not undercutting their prices.

You should also consider the length of the project, the complexity of the project, and any additional tasks that will be included in the scope of work when setting a price. 

a freelance editor with no experience holding a pen

Once you’ve determined the market rate for your services and taken those factors into consideration, you can decide how much to charge.

You should also make sure that you’re charging enough so that you’re making a profit after taxes and other expenses. If you find yourself in situations where clients are asking for discounted rates, try to negotiate additional hours with the client.

Is freelance editing worth it?

Yes, freelance editing can be a great way to find flexible, remote work. It can be a great way to transition out of a full-time job or supplement other forms of income. You’ll have the freedom to choose projects that interest you and work with clients on your own terms.

Freelancers, in general, have the potential to make much more than employees working in the same field. This is because you can use your ever-improving skills to take on more projects and charge higher rates than you would get as an employee.

Just remember that when starting out, it may take some time to find steady clients and build a successful freelance editing business. Be patient, continue learning and honing your skills, and don’t be afraid to apply for new positions or negotiate higher rates. 

With enough hard work, you can eventually become a successful freelance editor with no experience.

What do I need to become a freelance editor?

To become a successful freelance editor, you will need to have strong editing skills and an understanding of the industry. You’ll also need to be able to work with clients in a professional manner, deliver projects on time, and ensure that your final product meets the quality standards set by the client.

In terms of specific tools and resources, you’ll need a reliable computer and access to document editing software such as Microsoft Word, Google Drive, or Adobe Acrobat. 

You’ll also need a good internet connection, an email address for professional communication, and an online portfolio where you can showcase your work.

a freelance editor with no experience in front of his laptop

Finally, you’ll need to have knowledge of the different types of editing services available so that you can offer clients a tailored service. Having a basic understanding of the different editorial styles is also important, as each style has its own set of rules and formatting requirements.

Once you have all these elements in place, you’ll be ready to start pitching for freelance editing jobs and building your career as an editor.

Is it hard to become a freelance editor?

Becoming a freelance editor can be easier than some other freelance roles as you don’t necessarily need to have any prior experience or qualifications. Having certain skills can help, such as being able to write clearly and concisely, having knowledge of different editorial styles, and having an understanding of the industry.

However, these skills can be learned through practice and research, so if you’re willing to put in the effort and invest in your own development, it’s definitely possible to become a freelance editor with no experience.

In contrast, becoming a web developer or graphic designer may require more qualifications and experience, so if you’re looking for a flexible, remote job that won’t require too much of an upfront investment in terms of knowledge or resources, freelance editing could be a great option.


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About the author

Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, Bankrate, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. With more than 10 years of experience in the financial and legal industries, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in these fields, as well as her own journey in turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio, she’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom. Find out more.