Have been a trainer for over 20 years. To me, when I needed cash in the past, it was like waiting tables. It has changed drastically over the years, and it IS competitive. Very. Craigslist is OK--but a LOT of trainers there.
Have you looked at IDEA's website? http://www.ideafit.com
a LOT of great info with archived articles, etc..you can get a 30 day Free trial and access all the info there- and there is a whole section of ideas and ways other trainers have used to get their Independent business's going. I always wanted to( and never did) take a photo and send to all the major local news stations and offer a free on site training class- be creative---THINK big and outside the box--if your physique is good- that right there is a great calling card. I wear tank tops often ( I live in So Cal) and when I am a peak, I will get stopped a LOT and asked if I am taking new clients- still at 50, etc...find your thing, work it and advertise it.
Do you have a business plan? Do you have a gym/ equipment? Whats your angle? For years, I did rich moms from my kids pre school in their homes- even now, I could target 35 plus women and make a killing ...find your niche and WORK it. And like heck you couldn't work at Bally's...CHAIN clubs are the easiest to get hired at- and they offer a lot of pro's as well as con's..and/but you have a built in population of potential customers DAILY in front of you ( you still have to sell people and get them to commit)
Check out the sites of other people in your area- see what they are charging. Offer a free class/ training session/consult. You don't need a website to train, but people like to "see"...do something on wordpress.com and make a site. Build your platform, find your niche. Again, if you haven't checked out IDEA- do it. They even have a free registry for trainers to post their business and site. Like any other business you want to build- it takes time.