Wait, are you me from 5 years ago? I started out in the middle of nowhere and I don't really subscribe to the "try the local scene" stuff. None of my clients have come from pounding the sidewalks and knocking on doors. Steps I took to get me where I am:
1) Start hitting up the decent looking projects here in the freelance board. One of my better clients came from PHP Freaks.
2) When you work for someone, do your best and treat them right. Burn a bridge with a client and you could be cutting off a pipeline of work.
3) Networking. Get to know other developers, especially ones that are busy. Often they get overloaded and will toss a job here or there in your direction (if you're worth your weight).
4) Learn the design stuff. It's not easy, and I'm not even close to good with it, but I've learned a few tricks here and there and I can get the basics down. And use things at your disposal. Not every design has to start from scratch. There are a lot of good templates out there that can be used or modified to suit your needs. And if you really suck at design, try something like this: http://www.artisteer.com/
Good luck. Freelancing is hard work, especially when you compete against hacks that undercut the business by doing the work for little to nothing.