How do you find freelance/contract gigs?

spend a lot of time “cold-emailing” local businesses and messaging other companies who are actually looking for applicants. The result is always the same: “we are not looking for freelancers/contractors right now”. I have also used freelance sites before (unsuccessfully) like ODesk and Elance, and I have really hated how they work… So ultimately, my question for HN is how do YOU find or establish new freelance/sub-contracting/contracting gigs?