Host your own blog, run your own systems, use distributed software. I even keep two payment systems available, just in case. I get gigs often enough (as often as I want) mostly just through people reading my blog (where I can advertise when available)
OP said he did a project for $10, which for most freelancers is maybe 5 minutes of work at their standard rate. If you're going to work for free, might as well do it in your own circle and build out from there.