ONLINE CLASSIFIED AND COMMUNITY WEBSITES
Never underestimate the good old fashioned job boards of old: namely Craigslist or Kleinanzeigen – which is known in other parts of the world as Kijiji or Gumtree. Quite a few employers (and many start-ups in fact) post their job vacancies here, as they are in a budget and it is inexpensive. It can be rather effective at securing short term and sometimes even long term casual work, across a variety of industries. You will notice that many of the postings are in German language but don't let that discourage you: the ones requiring English speakers will nearly always have the post in said language, or simply type 'Freelance English' in the search bar of the job section for the best results.
Why settle for what the current job market presents to you, when you have your mind set on something in particular? Cold canvassing is the most obvious and logical way to get into direct contact with your dream clients. Whether you pre-empted their need for a freelancer, simply piqued their interest with your enthusiasm or completely endeared them with your pitch: luck plays a huge factor in all of this. If you do it at the right time, it's quite possibly meant to be! Contact the head of department by obtaining their direct email in the 'About Us' section of their website, or search on the contact section of their online social media profiles for leads.
In some cases, be prepared to be ignored completely. However, it is quite likely that some will respond to you, and even if it is to just thank you for your interest (despite not being a need for any freelancers at present) be sure to keep a dialogue open with them. This is the best way to develop a rapport which will most likely lead to you being their first preference when the opportunity does indeed become available. As the good old saying goes: never burn a bridge!
FREELANCE JOB NETWORKS
To hone in on the many freelancers and 'digital nomads' in the current job climate internationally, a fair of share search engines and job boards have been targeted at this market which has grown exponentially. Let's not forget: you can work from literally 'anywhere' now, so start thinking differently. Upwork.com , Freelance.com and Guru.com have wide international networks of clients. Clients looking specifically for freelancers and vice versa. Sometimes, a one-off agreement for work could very well turn into an-going and consistent workload, if the client finds your work impressive. Nearly all of the websites have secure and reliable means of ensuring you are paid for any jobs completed and strict criteria checks ensure that clients are legitimate, for the most part.
Especially for copywriters, headline-junkies and sub-line nerds, smartblogger.com offers one of the biggest resources on the web for finding and landing freelance writing work. It is definitely worth checking out.
The only drawback with many networks is that it's incredibly competitive, on many levels. Firstly, be sure to setup alerts so that you can respond to advertisements as soon as they are posted. From my experience, it is 'first in, best dressed' and responding to an advertisement after a mere few hours after it was posted is futile, and the job will have already been accepted by somebody else. A lot of these clients are on strict deadlines and are usually quite urgent to have these tasks delegated. Second thing to be mindful of is your hourly rate - you can be certain that there is somebody out there with just as much experience, if not more, offering to do the job for a lot less. In some countries, an hourly rate that you would probably scoff at is a small fortune in their economy: and this is capitalism after all!
As much as you would been tempted, in desperation, to amend you hourly rate, really think it through. They might have been worth that much, but are you? Believe in your own self worth and be patient: the work will come through soon enough.
OBTAIN A VAT NUMBER AND OR STEUERNUMMER (GERMAN TAX FILE NUMBER)
A bit of a curveball here, but we mention this now because you would have noticed this upon filling in your pay details on the aforementioned websites and seen that is a mandatory field. Having a tax file number is a no brainer really, as you would have needed one of these in your home country and the same rules apply here, as in any other part of the world. Your clients are going to ask you for one too, don't forget! And you won't be able to start working (or just as importantly, get paid) without it. Depending on the time of year, there may be longer than usual waiting lists at the Finanzamt as well.
That being said, rest assured that organising this is relatively easy, so do not get put off by the whole 'German bureaucracy' thing just yet. Simply make an appointment online with you local tax office and on the day remember to bring your ID and relevant paperwork. You will answer some basic questions relating you your current business circumstances and in the end be provided with a number on the spot. The same goes for a VAT number, which in case you didn't know - you'll need for invoicing your overseas clients.