Well I call bullshit on your bullshit man.
This is the same mindset as the myriad of "work at home" MLM schemes my wife has found her self wrapped up in over the years (Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Stampin' Up, yadda yadda yadda).
Yes sir! If you're a super-motivated outgoing self-promotion machine you too can earn up to* a bajillion dollars a year!
Here's a bloody obvious thing: everyone can't do that. If everyone did that, then it would not work.
It worked out for you: congratulations. That *does not* mean that it will or can work out for anyone motivated and good enough.
It means you got lucky, and you worked hard.
A hard-working, motivated, talented person is like a seed. If the seed finds itself on fertile ground, it can grow and thrive and bear fruits . If it lands on barren ground, not a damn thing is going to happen.
When you get down to it, that's the real root issue, here. There are fewer and fewer parcels of fertile economic ground in the US. Typically boomers (hell, everyone once you get past a certain age threshold) tend to think "hey I worked hard and these lazy kids ...". Your post betrays that same sort of thinking, and I'm here to tell you it's complete bullshit. The US is completely awash in talented, motivated, educated hard-working and capable young people who haven't got a place to plant their seed.
IT contract workers (especially the from-overseas variety who are willing to work for pennies on the dollar) are like an invasive species ... say Kudzu (if you've ever been to Georgia, you know what I'm talking about). It's resilient ... it can thrive in barren, low-nutrient soil where other species can't, but it does EVEN BETTER when there is good soil, so ... like I said ... drive through Georgia some time ... you'll see it covering *everything* choking out every other native species of plant.
You can self-promote your ass on youtube and blogs all day long. If everyone else is doing it to (and I'm here to tell you -- THEY ARE), then it doesn't matter at all. Who that works for is that the old guy with 25 years experience gets the job (like an old growth tree rising high above), while the youngsters can battle it out with the kudzu below.
It's only a matter of "hard work" if there's a place for you to do it. Increasingly there isn't. And I say this as one of the old-growth old guys with experience, who does many of the things you're talking about ... and who has been lucky enough to have things work out. I just have the awareness to see what's going on down below, and I'm telling you ... it wasn't like this for us when we were starting out, and if it had been we wouldn't be where we are today.