I began my career by entering as many local art competitions as I could. I did quite well and won many prizes. My advice for young artists starting up is still to do this. Get your work seen, get it out there and get a price sticker on it. Keep the price low and move those paintings. Apart from getting income (even if its small to start), you get your name out there AND more importantly get used to giving up your darlings (your precious artworks), so you have to create more of course!
Oh one more tip ... never mind if they spell your name wrong to start! Don't get caught on the small stuff.
Naughton indeed (see below) ? Found myself comparing my name to a motorbike often in the beginning.