I've learned the following things about being a professional designer in the past year:
1) When you quote someone, it's okay to quote more if you think they won't be good to work with. I have an extra $50 fee, for example, for people who say "u" instead of "you" when e-mailing me. That's so annoying! Friendly e-mails are one thing (although I find it very annoying there too), this is business.
2) It is not my job to pull content out of customers like I'm pulling teeth. If they promise to get me content by the end of the week and don't, I will send one e-mail reminding them I'm ready for it and will take it any time. That's all. If they forget about me forever after that (as one customer has this semester I think) then I need to let it go. I have their deposit. $200 for a starter set of buttons and sending a few e-mails isn't bad at all.
3) When a customer has eight million questions, just call them. I sound resonably smart over the phone.
4) The best clients are work-at-home mothers. That will be my target audience. They have money, like supporting young sweet things like me, and are amazed with the itty-bitty talent I have.
So with this, maybe I'll make it? Who knows. All I know is, the job search has gotten depressing and lame, and being a starving artist (can you be a starving artist whose tool box consists of a 1.2GHz processor?) might be my calling.