Finding different methods for landing offline/online clients is my favorite hobby and I am going to share one of them with you as a step by step plan. This one requires absolutely no money down and no tedious hard work. No web site, either.
After implementing these steps, I signed up 2 offline clients and one of them also signed up for monthly maintenance deal for backlinks, google places, site updates etc.
The only requirement is basic wordpress skills. You don't have to be a coder or expert. If you know how to customize some free themes, you are good to go.
I recommend using suffusion theme (download here Suffusion » Aquoid Themes) since it's extremely versatile and allows a myriad of different designs. It has great documentation too. You can also choose another good quality free theme.
I also recommend WP Simplicity plugin: WP Simplicity - Plugin For WordPress by Olusegun Balogun it has 40 most popular plugins in one package.
You don't need a web site, domain or hosting account, although having some showcase websites definitely helps. You can use a wordpress.com blog if you are penniless broke.
1. Create accounts on fiverr.com and zeerk.com. We are not going to use these to make money, since the jobs there don't pay much. We will use them to create a free portfolio and free advertising. You don't only advertise for free but get paid on top of it!
2. List your service for building wordpress sites and configuring a few plugins (such as linking twitter, facebook, disqus, other social media plugins etc)
3. List different versions of the same service gig for more exposure. For example wordpress and SEO, wordpress installation and 2 free articles, wordpress installation plus free graphic banner, or free video editing job (whatever fits your skillset better...) this helps exposure. The more gigs you list, the better chances to get clients.
4. Once you score some clients, build their wordpress sites. Make sure to overdeliver and throw a few freebies to be nice (and let them know that too). This gets you great feedback and better exposure/more business. Not to mention it makes it super easy to upsell them more stuff since they will trust you.
5. Now the important part: Add a link to your own web site in the end of each page like you see in most web sites (prepared by xyz web services llc). If you have no domain/hosting you can create a simple site on weebly.com or wordpress.com listing your services, and link that.
6.Keep in touch with the client. You can upsell them other services such as SEO and traffic, or get them to sign up on your mailing list (there are some free autoresponders for newbies who can't afford paid ones like aweber) tell them you will have upcoming specials and you really don't want them to miss it. Then you can send them discount deals of upsells or promote back end products/services.
7. Once you build a bunch of sites for clients, keep a list of them. List more gigs on fiverr and zeerk and make sure to list all of those sites as examples of your work, let the people click and see. If you make/edit videos for them, make sure to add your branding and your web site URL in the end. If you created a youtube channel for your client, you can use youtube annotations to brand the videos.
8. List your web design/SEO services on craigslist and backpage. List the client sites you built as your portfolio.
9. If you manage to sell traffic/SEO services to clients, they will get traffic and you will eventually get referral traffic from their sites. I get such referral traffic and inquiries from prospective clients, asking for quotes. It doesn't happen overnight but it happens down the road.
10. Search craigslist for Web and SEO jobs. There are always people looking to hire for such services. Since they are already looking to pay for such services, it's very easy to get responses. Email prospects with your quote and your portfolio.
11. Once the money starts flowing, you can outsource the bulk of the work, even the whole thing to Philippines. You can easily be the middleman reaping the profits.
12. Rinse and repeat!