I've had a lot of businesses (programming + tech stuff + books I've written + teaching) in the past, so I had a pretty good reputation when I launched my blog http://hackthesystem.com.
Once I launched my blog in 2011, I wrote good content---and used my connections to write guest posts on other blogs. It drove quite a bit of traffic (and grew my email list)
You can see the exact strategy I used to build a 20,000 person email list in a year here: http://thinktraffic.net/five-figure-guest-pos...
From there, I had great traffic---so clients came to me. I didn't even pitch to be a consultant---I've just been offered jobs by high-paying individuals. Because I have a baseline work portfolio, I can charge high rates.
Build a blog, and an email list using guest posts. Clients will come to you.
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