Aspiring freelancers always ask this question. Lara Schenck answers:
I tell people I’m looking for work. Then, while I wait for referrals, I do a bunch of stuff for free. That includes talking at meetups, doing free workshops, and writing blog posts. Finally, I cross my fingers and have faith that it will come when I need it. It’s a very exact science, let me tell you.
This formula works. Yet, so many freelancers do not believe it and so they prioritize based on the fear of not getting work if they "waste" time blogging, designing logos for nonexistent companies and putting them in their portfolio, or writing code for open source projects on GitHub. The clear way to get work is to share work.