1. Leverage your existing strengths, experience and contacts
Consider whether there is some work you can do for a previous employer. Some kind of retainer, even five hours a week, can be a brilliant option. It takes the pressure off the rest of your time while you’re figuring out what you want to offer and finding out if this is something people want.
2. Value your time – don’t take on low paid work even when you have no other work
If you take on low paid employment at times when you don't have much work, you end up having no time to invest in developing your business. Unless absolutely necessary to pay the bills, you are likely to be better off being paid nothing for those hours and spending that time on learning new skills and marketing.
3. Choose a target market which can afford to pay you a reasonable rate
Choose a target market of people who can afford to pay you at a rate that will mean your business (and therefore your life/work balance) is sustainable.
4. Avoid being over-reliant on one big client
When one client is keeping you busy, it can be difficult to justify spending time and effort to actively seek out new clients. However, broadening your client base will help you to create a long term business, which is not vulnerable to the loss of any one particular client.
5. Have a website
A website is essential so that people can find out more about you and your services. I also highly recommend writing regular blogs to attract visitors to your website. However, these strategies are most effective as a complement to personal connections and other networking, rather than as a stand-alone solution for gaining clients.