I use facebook and have got orders this way. Follow fashion and style blogs. If people have seen your work and you have commented and interacted with them online, they will remember you when they need a hat made. I also have some hats in a shop, simply by going in with my smartphone and showing a few pics. I don't think we can predict what is going to sell when, except for major race meeting dates perhaps.
Living here in Australia our main season is Spring leading up to Melbourne Cup. To ensure business is constant and a minimal off season I supplied hats to an area in North Australia as their race season started after Easter until August before the monsoon season. In August I start on Spring hats until November then another race on Gold Cst mid January kept me busy. Off season would be for 2 months until March when Easter Brides work would come in. Bridal work was always happening through the year as an extra plus hats for church goers which is limited to a few churches. 90% of my work has been for Racing industry Fashions on the field.
Look at your big WHY I am doing this business - mine was $$ as I needed to put 4 kids through uni. I set myself a goal of 5 hats/ week and if I did not finish them I would work on Saturday. It did not start out like this but built up over a couple of years. At one time I was so busy I contracted out some of routine work - found a lady who enjoyed hand sewing & she took on hand hemming binding around brims. Another lady made all my hat linings.
Word of mouth got around and I had more work than I could handle myself.
Business plans are vital. I have done same for HatAcademy. http://hatacademy.com/forum/topics/business-plans
This discussion is worth reading re pricing of hats http://hatacademy.com/forum/topics/hat-prices
When you started learning millinery you had to take it slowly ...in other words crawl before you ran and the same works for your business take it step @ a time.
Hope this helps- E
This is great advice, Elaine. when I started learning millinery, I studied shop manuals from the 1920s and found it interesting that new workers were required to make buckram bases for 4 years before being allowed to drape and apply ornamentation. They felt it took that long for the worker to learn lines, and develop an eye. I found that those who try to build a business too quickly often fail or suffer a number of damaging set backs. It takes time to learn what direction you want to drive your business. While the financial gain of having 30 clients a month might seem attractive, it takes confidence to juggle multiple orders without becoming too overwhelmed with both the design aspect and business aspect.