When you do get your first gig make sure they are 100% satisfied! That is what I'm doing. Keeping a good reputation in regards to reviews, completion, on time, re-hire information, and skill specific ranks are crucial! Be Patient! Take skills tests. It is not going as fast as I would like it to either but it is working. Do a good job and turn out a good product, make sure they are satisfied, build reputation, and "Ask them to send anyone they know that would need your services" Just like another freelancer posted. Think car salesman, catchy phrases, slogans, branding, use what you got and remember you ARE the CAR!
Wish you luck! Hang in there!