Let me highlight some bits for you:
"Using a freelance editor can be a great idea - if you use it as a learning experience." [Her bold, but I'd have bolded it, too.]
I couldn't agree more - and it's exactly what I do with manuscript appraisals for Pen2Publication: I work up detailed edits, with comments and explanations, for a section of the book, so that the writer can see the problems and rectify them elsewhere, and not make the same mistakes in the future. Good editing is not about spelling and punctuation but about all the much more fundamental aspects of being a writer.
"It can be very helpful for an editor to give you an evaluation of your first few chapters, so that you can then rework the entire manuscript according to what you learned. It's a terrific learning experience and can help you grow as a writer. It's almost like having a writing tutor."
"Many agents and editors are uncomfortable with writers having too much outside editorial help prior to being contracted, because it can mask a writer's true abilities. I'd hate to get you a 3-book contract with a publisher based on that stellar first book, only to find out that you had a ton of help with it and are not able to deliver that quality of book a second time."This is the point about getting any kind of help before submitting your work: it needs to be your work, not someone else's, and if you do not understand the suggested changes so clearly that you can implement them yourself, then this is going to bode ill for the future.
There is absolutely no shame in hiring an editor, consultant or tutor, as long as you a) choose the right one and b) more importantly, learn from it and use it properly, as a way of curing your weaknesses, not covering them up.
(Unfortunately, I cannot at the moment take on any new clients for Pen2Publication, as I'm fully booked till June. Meanwhile, I am prepared to run a very small number of Submission Spotlights. If you're interested in putting a piece of your submission up for public scrutiny, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It doesn't cost anything, but you must be prepared for honest reactions from total strangers. Please see the label "Submission Spotlights" on the list on the right before contacting me. The rules for these Spotlights are here.)