I suppose the answer is finding places who'll play you every week till you become a regular and dependable to the house. Open mikes, hoots, gigs, anywhere you can present your wares. Eventually the industry takes notice and signs you to a deal, especially if you're a singer songwriter performer who is willing to collaborate with other writers to create a minimum of 15 covered songs a year for the term of your deal (usually 3 years). It can only be done in places like LA, NYC, London, where the tools of the trade are in abundance. Ie: access to producers, studios, labels, publishers, managers, attorneys. If you have to work parttime then keep it in your industry (film, tv, music, etc.). There is no short cut to fame or wealth especially in fields where the competition is as fierce as it is. You know the drill though so I shouldn't have to tell you, because you've already been there and back again.