I've been making small affiliate websites for myself for years and living off of my work. I'd like to start a service making small websites for others but I don't know anyone who needs a site made, and I live in a new city where I don't know many people. How can I find people who need small sites made for them starting from scratch?
When I was starting out freelancing, I was also starting in a new city without much of a network at all.
I built my network by looking at local meetups, conferences, mixers, and pretty much anything else I could find where people would show up who were either A) doing the kind of work I do, or B) were the kinds of people I wanted to work with.
I volunteered to give small sessions to help other people in my industry, which established me as a perceived authority. This led to referrals from people in the industry who were overbooked or had a lead they weren't sure how to handle.
I met as many people in my target client group as I could, helping for free (with advice and ideas only) in person, connecting them to other freelancers when it was appropriate, and generally being nice and helpful. This led to word-of-mouth referrals.
One note: this is a slower way to start. However, once I built momentum (this took me maybe a year, and I was working a full-time job in addition to networking), it's NEVER slowed down. I have never advertised or marketed myself, and I'm nearly always booked enough that I have to turn clients away. The agency I built and sold using this method is still referral-only and profitable, even after two years of new ownership.
Running ad campaigns can be effective, but it requires constant money and attention. Building a strong network requires a lot of upfront effort, but costs little and becomes less time-consuming as you become more successful.
I'm happy to talk more on this if you want to work on a specific action plan. Hit me up for a call and we'll hammer something out.