If you want to “network”, don’t think of it as trying to meet people, or trying to find customers. Think mostly of servicing the network you already have
Consider everyone already in your network to be your clients. This doesn’t mean “customers that pay”, it means “clients that you serve”. It means you care about their well-being. You would help them if asked. You are interested in them and their problems.
There are times when they make requests, and you would do it freely—do it and follow-up. There are times when servicing the request should cost money—make that clear.
But, the important thing here is actually care about them and their problems, not yourself and your problems.
Make deposits. Do this constantly. Do it right now. Just build up as much good-will as you can. Also, to be clear here: likes, shares, and engagement on social posts are not deposits.
What if you actually need something from someone?
Ok, at some point, you might a withdrawal. Paid work, a recommendation, an introduction. Some of those are small enough, just ask. Let them know what happened—follow-up.
For bigger asks, to the extent that it is possible, figure out how your withdrawal might also be a deposit. For example, can you ask your paid clients how you can deliver more value to them? How you can help their contacts?
If your mindset is to serve, you will constantly come up with ideas.