Available for advice on software development implementation, evaluating technology against business goals, and consultation. Web Engineer Veteran w/ 14+ years of professional experience. Knowledgeable in PHP, Python, Ruby, Node, jQuery, HTML/CSS, AJAX, Drupal, Wordpress, Linux administration for web development, several MVC frameworks for custom web applications (Zend Framework, Symfony, Laravel, Rails, Django, and others), MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle, CouchDB, Redis, and MongoDB. Have worked on medium to large corporate web applications, as well as startup projects.
The Cake cookbook is pretty good: http://book.cakephp.org/2.0/en/index.html. Nothing's better then getting your hands dirty after learning the concepts, especially MVC is general. Cake is very opinionated, clunky and bulky, which means you have to do things "the Cake way" which depending on your needs may or may not be great. I'd stay away from CakePHP unless you have to work on a project that's already using it.
If you're new to MVC, I'd recommend FuelPHP first, then Laravel. CodeIgniter is definitely easy to use and the documentation is great, but it's aging and has many old concepts which other frameworks have improved over the years. If you need help jump-starting your learning on MVC frameworks book a call with me. I can get you up and running in 1-3 hours so you could focus on coding.
Back when I started LinkedIn wasn't as huge as it is now. I wish it was. I didn't have a large network and those networking sessions NEVER brought me any clients. I used to go to all sorts of them hoping to get clients. There were a couple of nibbles here and there, but never anything serious. The only thing that helped was reaching out DIRECTLY to people in my target market. That meant cold calls and cold emails. I'd sell myself while thinking about their needs. Once I got a few bites I'd build good rapport by keeping in touch, asking questions, repeating back what they were saying so that they knew I was on the same page and kept my promises. If I said I'd call them back next Tuesday at 2:15 I'd do so. Eventually I built trust with them without having a network, or an insane amount of experience.
Oh and the most important thing about consulting is to LISTEN. When those first clients notice that you're truly listening and you're not selling the cookie cutter solutions everyone else is trying to sell them that's when you got them hooked. You start to understand their problems, fears, and see through their eyes and not just yours.
A network will help, but in the beginning just good 'ol salesmanship will get the ball rolling.