The new freelance editor’s guide to getting started

The new freelance editor’s guide to getting started

May 18, 2021 By Erin Brenner Resources

You’ve decided to become a freelance editor. Hooray! Now what? Can you just hang out your shingle and go?

You could, but you might soon find yourself scrambling to prepare a client for working with you, taking too much time to do what should be quick tasks, or panicking because your computer crashed, taking all your client work with it.

Invest in your new business by spending time upfront planning and preparing. You may change your plans or process later—that’s normal in any business. But you’ll be improving rather than creating, which is not only more efficient but also less stressful.

What follows are some of the first concerns of your new business.

Basic business decisions

Starting a business is a little like building your own house: you need a blueprint for what you’ll build and you need to make a lot of decisions, even for the basic structure. Will it be a ranch-style house? Colonial? Where will the kitchen go? Will you have a large bathroom? How many bedrooms will you have?

The fundamental freelance editing decisions include:

You can download the “Define Your Editing Business” worksheet to help you work through and record all these decisions. 

Once you’ve got a basic structure for your business, start thinking about your next steps: 

Basic tools

Editors don’t need to rent office space, purchase a lot of equipment or materials, or hire a lot of staff. But you do need a few things, including the following:

Next steps:

Basic materials

Taking a little time at the start to create templates and files you’ll use most often will help you stay on top of administrative work later. If you’ll use a file more than twice, it’s worth creating a template for, as with:

Save yourself time and work by downloading templates from my New Freelancer’s Business Pack and customizing them to your heart’s content.

Other materials you’ll need:

Next steps:

Feeling overwhelmed by these lists? You don’t need all the answers or all the tools and materials when you’re starting out. Making any move will get you started and you can grow from there. Use this as a guide to keep you moving forward. Good luck!

Header photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash. 

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