Just my personal experience.
When I graduated with my design degree 30-plus years ago, I just sort of figured that a job would automatically come along, but no. It was right in the middle of a recession and jobs were few and far between. There was no internet at the time, so all anyone could do was look at newspaper classified ads, make lots of phone calls and rely on connections made while in school.
After several months of searching, I finally landed a job at a design studio, but that only lasted about six months before the firm started having financial problems, and I got laid off as the newest employee.
The couple of years were very difficult. I called every ad agency in town asking about freelance work, which paid off in that several of them would periodically call me to come in and work a day or two here and there when they had more work than they could handle.
I also scoured the newspapers and local magazines looking for amateurish ads for good local businesses that I thought deserved better. I’d work up a sales pitch, then show up at the business and ask to talk to the owner. Apparently, this didn’t happen often because more often than not, the owners were interested in talking to me. About half the time, I’d actually get work out of it. As a total introvert, it was not easy, but it worked.
Even so, there was no stability in any of this. Weeks would go by with no work, but I’d stay busy with practice projects and portfolio building. Other weeks would come when I was working 18-hour days and had to turn down work. I stayed active in the local art directors’ club, and made connections with other freelancers (both designers and writers). We passed work back and forth and relied on each other for leads and cooperative sorts of projects.
This whole period was probably the most difficult time of my life, but it was also the time in which I grew the most and learned the most. Every day, I was forced out of my comfort zone, but I kept my eye on where I wanted to be and didn’t give up. The broad range of experiences and contacts I made during that whole time formed the foundation of my entire professional career, which has been pretty good to me. I just wish I knew at the time how valuable that struggle was.
Like LineDetail said, don’t give up. Do whatever it takes to stay afloat and moving ahead.