Best ways to find online, remote, and freelance editing jobs right now
There is no better time than now to explore online and remote work in fields like editing, proofreading, writing, and researching. The demand for great writing has exploded recently, and so has the demand for great editing!
As budding writers of all stripes work on their first books or articles, they need a good editor to get their writing into shape. Companies looking to sharpen up blog posts, website content, reports, or video scripts will also need the expertise of an editor. If you love the written word and are a stickler for grammar, the only thing left to wonder is: Where can I find good online and remote editing jobs?
Where to find remote and freelance editing jobs
As an editor, you can find freelance, remote, and online editing jobs on most online platforms, but your three best places to start are freelancing sites and job boards. There are pros and cons to each approach, so you need to find the right balance that gives you the best results.
Regular job boards
Remote-focused job boards
Remote-focused job boards, like WeWorkRemotely, will make it easier to find an online editor job, but there might not be a huge amount to choose from.
Smartblogger also has a great list of opportunities for editors.
Using freelance sites to build your freelance editing career
Freelancing sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and Guru can be good places to pick up a lot of online editing jobs quickly. You see the job, vouch for your editing services, and wait to see if you get accepted.
Editors who are successful on these sites do earn good money. The average freelance editor makes $57,000, according to Glassdoor, but your income will depend on your experience. A freelance editor needs to have their “I won’t do it for less than…” number. And they need to stick to it. Every freelancer has rates that slide up and down depending on the work and client, but you need to make sure your "lowest" rate is still fair compensation and allows you to grow your business as an editor. You’re becoming an editor to have a more flexible life and still earn a good living, after all.
The second risk is the clients. On these freelancing sites, you’re competing with other freelance editors for a client you haven’t met or spoken with, and can encounter language barriers. All the sites have client ratings, but you still have to make sure you get paid and the client is good to work with.
Gig work sites give you a chance to practice, build a portfolio, and earn money too. Editors do make a lot of money by first building their reputations and finding great long-term clients there.
Using job boards to find editing jobs
Job boards like Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor, are a staple of all job hunts. Using them to find freelance or contract content editing work is a matter of knowing what to look for. Starting off with terms like "freelance editor," "copy editor," "proofreading," or "video editing jobs" will get a lot of results, but to narrow your search you'll need to use filters.
Adding filters for region, industry, and making sure you weed out full-time permanent work (if you’re not interested in it) is the first step. These filters save you the time of looking through editorial jobs you’re not interested in.
If you’re open to full-time or part-time editing work, apply to those editing or proofreading jobs as well. Sometimes you might not be right for the role, but you can offer to do freelance, part-time, or contract editing for them while they find a permanent person.
Just be careful how you do it. Don’t apply for full-time or part-time editing jobs if you’re only using them to fish for freelance editor work. That wastes people’s time and would sour any company on hiring you for any future editing services.
Remote-focused boards are a go-to in niche online editing jobs
In the past five years, remote-focused job boards—like WeWorkRemotely—have sprung up to serve remote-first companies. These boards are only for remote jobs. Permanent, full-time, part-time, contract, and high quality freelance jobs are all there.
And that’s the catch. Because this is a niche job board, you might not find content editing, proofreading, or video editing jobs very often. You have to be patient and play the long game to see what editing jobs pop up over time.
How to apply and get editing jobs
Finding freelance work and online editor work is step one. To get editing jobs, you often have to pitch or apply for them, which can be the hardest part of trying to find remote editing jobs.
Here are some tips to help you land more freelance or online editing work.
Build your professional online freelance editor presence
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need tons of editing experience or a bachelor's degree to become a freelance editor. All a successful freelance editor needs is an online presence to back up their resume and a cover letter with more detail.
Social media for editors
As an editor, having your own website is great, but you don’t need to start out with one. In the past year, LinkedIn has exploded with remote job opportunities and is a good substitute for your own editor website. On LinkedIn, you can create a free profile to connect with other freelance editors and look for editor jobs.
On LinkedIn, you can also build your online presence and reputation by posting and commenting on things you’re passionate about and writing longer articles about how you approach editing, writing, or freelancing. Then, you can connect with people you know and start commenting on their posts. When you leave a comment, make sure you add value to someone’s day. Advice, tips, support—anything that helps another person out. If a writer asks about needing freelance editors, absolutely put your hand up. When you’re connecting with people, don’t throw out a sales pitch right after they accept the connection request. Start a conversation, then see if there is a good time to offer your services.
Facebook groups and Twitter communities are also great opportunities to boost your online presence, connect with other freelance editors, and find editing opportunities and calls for editors.
Personal websites for editors
When you’re ready to create your own website, there are lots of inexpensive ways to do it that don’t require a ton of tech skills. Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com are three of the best places to start for editors.
On your own website, make sure you include:
- What you do
- Your background and experience (both as an editor and otherwise)
- What kinds of clients you take on
- What you’ve done in the past
- How to contact you
Build an editing portfolio and client list
As you build up a client list and portfolio of work, gather testimonials and examples of your editing work. You’re not going to be able to do this right away when you start out as a freelance editor. Don't worry: all editors started from zero at one point.
As you build relationships, try to get testimonials from clients, so you can use them to win more clients. Freelance writers have it easier. They write something and they have work to show for it. Editing is a different game. Editors can’t show a client a writing piece before or after they’ve worked on it (that will not win you friends among writers). However, you can talk about the kinds of projects you’ve worked on and your specialties, like copy editing, proofreading, video editing, or writing.
Be sure to highlight your unique editing skills, or your niche. If you’re really good at editing white papers, reports, or blogs, talk about it. If your superpower is punching books or eBooks up—bring it up. Expertise in video editing? Include it. Freelance portfolios are examples of the things you’re most proud of—even if you can’t show the actual writing.
Apply for all the editing jobs you can
Even though the fear of rejection can be scary, if you don’t apply, you won’t get that first client or the editing job in the first place. An editor needs to cast a wide net to land more freelance work.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” - Wayne Gretzky.
You’re going to have more pitches go nowhere than land. This is the life of all freelancers, whether it be writers, editors, or otherwise. To be successful as a freelance editor (or writer or designer) you need to make sure you have enough clients to ensure you can make a living.
There are always delays and setbacks on a project. The income you were counting on might not come when you expect it. So you need to have enough content in the pipeline to keep your life running. Until you have so many clients and referrals you’re turning away work (which you should then share with other freelancers to pay it forward), you need to apply for editing jobs and network with people.
What to ask before taking on freelance editing work
If you’re taking a freelance editing job, here are five things you need to make sure are discussed and understood before you start the work.
1. Is there an editorial or creative brief?
Writers need a brief to create a piece. The brief covers the audience, the tone, the main points to cover, and deadlines. A really good brief has examples from similar pieces the writer can refer to when writing this piece.
But you’re the editor, why do you need a writing brief?
Because: Your job as an editor is making sure the writer followed the brief. If there isn't a brief, simply ask more about the piece so you know what to edit for. Even if you can get the writing brief, asking questions is still a big help.
2. Confirm the editing budget
If you’ve pitched and won the business from a gig site or gave the client an estimate and they accepted, you should confirm their editor budget. It also doesn’t hurt to ask if the project takes longer than planned, is there a budget for additional work? This is an important detail to cover if you’re working on an hourly editing contract. If the content needs a lot of editing, far more than you anticipated, you need to flag this with your client right away.
3. What’s the deadline?
Is this a rush job (in which case you can charge more money) or do you have time to work it in with your other freelance projects? If you don’t have a date, get one. Answers like “get to it when you can” or “we’re not in a rush” are sure-fire ways to get into trouble. Don’t assume dates!
4. What’s the editing process?
Every client has a process for approvals and calling content “done.” When you kick off the project, you need to understand the process and what your client expects. For example:
- Will you be emailed a Word document to edit the writing?
- Should you use track changes (you should, but the client might say no)?
- Are you working in a Google Doc?
- How closely are you working with a writer?
- Will you have to upload the writing document to a content management system like WordPress when you’re done?
- What does “done” mean to your client?
- Are you doing one edit and that’s it or will there be another round of edits?
Get this out of the way when you start so there’s no confusion later. Process is important, but communication is essential.
5. Invoices and payments
Here’s the most important part: how and when you will be paid. Part of this is on you. Things to think about when billing freelance clients:
- Do you bill at the end of the project?
- Do you bill a little up front and the rest when it’s done?
- When is the invoice due? Immediately or after thirty days?
- How will the client pay? Check? Bank transfer? Credit card?
Get these details worked out at the beginning of the editing project. This is also a good time to re-confirm (see above) what happens if you go overtime. If you’re billing hourly, the last thing you want is to send an invoice that the client refuses to pay because it’s more than they budgeted.
What if this is a full-time or part-time, remote editing job?
Do these still apply if you’re working as an editor for a single company (even on a contract basis)?
The short answer is: yes!
With the exception of budgets and invoicing, all of these things to watch out for are essential to being productive as an editor. Creative work like editing needs to have a brief, process, and deadline. Without these, the work is going to be chaotic, and your work as an editor will suffer. If you can bring one extra thing to a job (besides your editing skills), it might be asking these questions and helping a company work more efficiently.
Set yourself up for freelance editing success
This post might be about how and where to find online editing jobs, but finding the job is only half the battle. To keep getting work and make a successful career as a freelance editor, you need to build systems and processes to support your success. Here are three tips for starting out right and creating a foundation to build a successful business on.
1. Track your time on jobs
Even if you aren’t billing hourly, you should track your time. Tracking your time gives you real data on how long it takes to complete editing jobs. When you give an estimate to a client and figure it will take you two hours to review the content, but it takes four, it’s unlikely you can double your price.
Knowing how to estimate your time is how you figure out how much to charge. But if you don’t know how long editing jobs really take, you’re only giving your best guess.
Track time with a tool like Toggl and you will see exactly how long jobs take. You can also track your time for marketing, invoicing, accounting, and researching so you can know how much time those things take.
2. Don’t overcommit to editing work
There’s a fine line between having more than enough jobs coming in to manage unexpected delays and having so much work on your plate you need 40-hour days to get it all done.
Not overcommitting to editing work ties right into tracking your time. When you know how much time work takes and how much time life takes, you get a good sense of when you’re at the limits of your time. We all get 24 hours in a day. In that time you need to work, eat, take breaks, recharge, and sleep.
If you overcommit to work, you might wind up letting people down, but you’ll certainly start burning out. Commit to enough work so you can get it all done and earn the money you need.
3. Communicate with your clients
Finally, communicate to the point you’re almost over communicating. You might misjudge how long editing jobs will take and overcommit yourself to work. If it does happen, don’t be hard on yourself. All freelance editors go through it. The secret to getting out of it is communication.
If you're running over your time budget or took on more work than you can handle, talking it out and asking for a deadline extension might get you out of a jam. You’ll be surprised how often a quick email, phone call, or Zoom meeting solves problems you thought were looming monsters.
Now, some people aren’t going to be able to budge. There are some deadlines that just can’t move. However, if you’ve built a good rapport with your clients and know from the project brief what’s going on, you’ll know who you can ask to move things around and who you can’t.
Go from invoice to income with Wave
The fourth tip for being successful at freelance editing is making sure you get paid. It can be a hassle to generate invoices and remind clients when something is due, even if you use invoice templates to save time. On top of that, it’s not easy to set up online payments for any client in the U.S. or Canada.
Well, unless you use Wave.
Wave lets you send free invoices and accept online payments with no surprises or hidden fees. With Wave you can take invoicing, accounting, and getting paid off your things-to-stress-about list and focus your time and energy building your freelance editing business.