I've been freelancing for the last 10 yrs or so, mostly doing UI/UX/web development and odd design gigs( architectural, jewelry, marketing, CAD etc,etc) I recently got my first real ID contract which should hit the market around November or sometime next year.
The only thing that has consistently been an ok to good source is a mix of having something to show, usually projects I do just for fun and networking,for example: I was doing a bunch of wallets to teach myself how to use a sewing machine and do textile patterns and I showed them to a friend whose company happened to need some help doing a textile/electronic prototype, did some preliminary design sketches and that turned into a 6 month contract, on the software/web side it is a bit more straightforward in that there are now a lot of open source projects and communities,both online and offline, as you become involved there is usually a need to build something for money, the maker scene is somehow analogous in design, but it seems more dispersed/nascent.
I don't do it as much as I used to, but Craigslist ( or whatever job board is popular ) has also provided plenty of contracts, but the quality /quantity is all over the place and it is such a time and emotional drain, as an aside, the biggest web contract I got: (2 yrs building a facebook clone) , came while I was sitting at a coffee shop and said hi what are you working on to the guy sitting next to me.
Sorry to post from other boards, but this might also be of use:https://www.reddit.com/r/IndustrialDesi ... rict_sr=on
And get a good contract : )