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Five tips on freelance editing

Five tips on freelance editing

March 25, 2017 By Devin Rodriguez, Online News Association USFSP Conferences

In the Freelancing 101 session at ACES' 2017 conference, speakers Julie Munden and Jennifer Maybin presented information prepared by Ruth Thaler-Carter, who unfortunately could not attend the event.

Editors and reporters alike can find themselves in a competitive job market suddenly and without much warning.

As the communication industry changes, editors adjust by taking their skills and going freelance.

“People used to say, work for a company; it’ll be safer. But that just isn’t true anymore,” Julie Munden said.

Instead, editors could make more money, determine their own hours and allow for more flexibility.

Self-employment can often be a double-edged sword, but one seminar at the annual ACES conference suggested how to overcome the stress and start a freelance editing career.

Speakers Munden and Jennifer Maybin are freelance editors who gave ACES conference attendees information on how to begin their own freelance careers. Their advice:

1. Determine the value of your time and stick with it. For new freelance editors, there is a tendency to charge less for your services. If you’ve had a job, why? You have the experience, so go with the industry standards. When setting up your first clients, you may want to keep your pricing competitive, but over time you should be pricing near the industry standards. The Editorial Freelance Association offers a handy pricing guide for starters.

2. Think of everyone as a networking opportunity. Don’t look at other freelancers as competition; look at them as someone you can network with and help refer them to clients. Events like the ACES conference could be crucial in networking for jobs. Not only can you meet vendors and mentors, but you could also meet fellow freelancers who can lead you to work.

3. Market yourself early. Freelance editing can often be a game of networking, and if you are an editor with prior experience, there is nothing wrong with tapping those old connections for material. Munden also suggested reaching out to local businesses and nonprofits for work. Many of these organizations are in dire need of good copy editors and can purchase your services.

4. Ask as many questions as possible. Freelance editing may give you more control on your own hours, but it adds a lot more bosses for you to answer to. There will be different expectations with each client, and negotiating with them will be easier with more information. Ask them about their editing process and how you fit into that. Ask them about their style guidelines and which stylebook they use. Will you be the final person editing?

5. Be rigorous with self-discipline. No one is paying you to do the dishes. Get rid of the distractions. Going freelance doesn’t leave a lot of cushion for a personal budget, and the self-employed don’t have company-provided insurance or retirement plans to fall back on. But with proper planning, budgeting and good pricing, freelancers can work from home and enjoy it.

The 2017 ACES conference will continue through March 25. For more information, check #ACES2017 and #NOTatACES on Twitter, on Facebook or follow the media posted by the Online News Association USFSP.

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