How to get clients as a freelance writer in Germany

by Jakob Straub
March 03, 2021
female freelancer who is smiling as she has secured new clients

Jakob contributes to the Lingoda blog as a freelance writer. He also writes for an ever changing list of other clients. Finding work and writing gigs is part of his freelancing life! He has to make sure he has a backlog full and make sure he has enough customers. In this blog, Jakob shares his tips on how to get clients as a freelance writer in Germany.

Where to find freelance writing gigs in Germany

Client acquisition is the part of the job most freelancers dislike, because you don’t see an immediate return on your invested time and you have to get the attention of potential customers and sell yourself and your services well. However, if you don’t actively look for new work, you won’t get paid once your current projects run out. Get started early and check out which of the following work best for you!

Please note: as a freelancer, I’m location independent and work remotely almost exclusively; I’m assuming you are, too. The compilation below will serve you if you’re working from Germany, but won’t necessarily mean you’re working with only German clients. However, content targeting the German-speaking market (the D-A-CH region of Germany, Austria and Switzerland) appears to be in particular high demand for the time being. If you can write in both English and German, you’re likely to have your pick among clients.

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Job boards and listings

Job boards are websites and lists you have to scour yourself for freelance work matching your expertise and criteria. Some cater specifically to freelancers or writers, others mix all kinds of jobs and work. It can be annoying because many websites require you to register with them in order to apply for jobs or see details. On the plus side, having a profile often enables you to create custom alerts or save your recurring searches.

  • LinkedIn: A dinosaur and the most well-known job portal out there. It’s a sign of the changing times that LinkedIn has an increasing number of remote and freelance positions available. As a premium member, you have access to learning content and insights about your profile, but even without the membership fee, the custom alerts are useful tools you can use to automate your job search. 
  • Xing: The German networking platform is basically a LinkedIn clone and has the occasional freelance writing post. Use alerts to be notified and don’t waste time on manual search.
  • Monster: This career platform also has email alerts, so plug in your keywords and receive jobs in your inbox. 
  • Problogger: You’ll find both freelance and contract writing work from around the world on this site. Most jobs require you to write in English, though the occasional German client might pop up. The quality of the listings is high because companies have to pay to advertise on the site.
  • Working Nomads: So you want to write and be a digital nomad? Get started there. Listings include contract, part-time and full-time work opportunities in writing and other tech jobs.
  • Berlin Startup Jobs: In case you’re interested in the Berlin startup world, you can browse opportunities here. Writing will be in the content and marketing categories, but only a few freelance gigs are available.
  • We Work Remotely: This listing of remote freelance and contract jobs includes a copywriting category.
  • Indeed: Another job listing portal with many creative jobs. Chances are that recruiters and companies will cross-post here and on LinkedIn.
  • Domestika: They offer courses for creatives, but also have job listings targeting primarily creatives in the new economy. Writing jobs will be around design, content creation and UX writing.
  • Remote.co: International companies looking for remote workers advertise here. Freelance jobs are tagged as such and writing has its own category.
  • Remote Work Hub: This site lists many digital economy jobs, including writing, but focuses primarily on remote contract work with only a few freelance gigs now and then.
  • Content Writing Jobs: You can browse paid content writing jobs to work from home, remotely, freelance, contract, and full-time on their site or join their newsletter at a premium.

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Portfolio platforms

On portfolio platforms, you create a showcase of your skills, experience and work samples and let clients find you. If you want to register on a couple of these, it’s a repetitive and tedious process to go through all the details time and again, but on the upside, you’ll only have to do it once and then update your portfolio with new samples.

  • Malt: A platform for freelancers mostly in tech and engineering, but you can find writing work in the areas of communication, marketing, tech and design on here.
  • Clearvoice: This site allows you to create a comprehensive profile with work samples, then matches you with opportunities and emails you when you can apply for a project.
  • Reedsy: A platform for finding professionals around the process of creating fiction and non-fiction books. You can register as an editor or ghostwriter, but you’ll need extensive proof of experience.
  • Remote OK: You can join their global talent pool of remote workers and freelancers. Most of them are in tech and engineering, but you can advertise yourself as a copywriter and content creator.
  • Hubstaff Talent: While also a job listings site, Hubstaff Talent allows you to create a profile for easier and better matching with job opportunities.

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Content agencies

A content agency offers content production services to companies and clients and typically works with both in-house writers and a pool of freelancers to provide content for specific markets and in various languages. If you can get on the roster of an agency, you can hope to get a more or less steady stream of work which fits your skills.

  • The Writer Finder: An agency looking for English writers in nearly any niche.
  • Work Genius: A platform seeking to make acquisition and payments easier for freelancers. Register and be matched with opportunities, however I’ve found many jobs seem to cater towards students.
  • More than writers: You’ll have to do a short test to prove your language and writing proficiency and then get offers to work on projects, most of which seem e-commerce related.
  • Quill Content: You can sign up as a copywriter or translator in your language and hope to receive writing work on a project basis.
  • Key Content: They distribute writing and editing jobs to their community of freelancers.

Groups and lists

Groups of other writers and writing professionals are a great resource to find freelance work. Browse Facebook to find places such as Writing for Profit or Write Jobs, which also exists in a newsletter format and a premium list.

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The less than great

There are freelance platforms out there which I personally find exhaustive, because the pay is less than great and you have to put a lot of effort and hassle into either finding quality jobs or maintaining your rating in order to appear in search results. The list of these is long, but I’m including Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.com because they take high commissions while offering freelancers very little.

Other sites such as People per Hour are somewhere on the brink of this; ultimately, you have to decide what works for you. I’m not saying you can’t make a living on Fiverr or Upwork, but in my experience, these sites were not worth my time.

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More tips for paid freelance writing gigs in Germany

Networking still includes the element of “who you know” – it still happens that one client will recommend you to another and you suddenly have requests for work seemingly without having to invest in acquisition.

To facilitate this, it helps to have a ‘virtual business card’, in other words, your own website or online portfolio. It looks professional and impressive if you can showcase your most important samples on your own domain and have your own email address. There are various options available, such as hosting your own WordPress installation or getting a Squarespace site.

When you publish your own content in order to attract attention and visitors to your website, write about your passions – publish in the niche that truly interests you instead of trying to tell clients why content writing is important so they should hire you.

If you manage to build a dedicated following and a loyal audience, you can also try and monetise your particular content through a tip jar on your website, through Patreon memberships or with a premium newsletter on Substack.

Are you looking for gigs as a general freelancer? Read our guide to finding work as a freelancer in Germany!

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