I don't know about others but I'd start with your local community first. It's infinitely easier to work for people with whom you have a connection with than random people over the internet who you don't. Unless you live in a ridiculously small village!
I'm not sure what PPH is but I would also avoid crow sourcing websites - where you compete against others for a project and only get paid if your work is rated as the best.
Yeah. I use PPH selectively. Certainly don't get involved in creating work for free so a client can decide. Difficult not to lose it at people asking for that.
I do carry out work for local business. But the odd online job helps. If anyone hears of any good places to look, please shout.