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For reference, I wouldn’t take a job that low now, but when I was starting out I would have jumped on even $1k for a WordPress site. I would have regretted it horribly though… and I did, because I’ve been there. And I’d never recommend it for anyone. I guarantee that $1k job will spread out over weeks or even months and when you look back you’re making half (or less than) minimum wage.
It’s really important to be able to get the exact scope from the client (as has been said by others), this way you’re in a position to say something like “This sounds like a $15k job…” (random number for example), and if they scoff at the idea no harm no foul. Of course if you just tell someone it’s going to cost them $15k without selling them, you’re going to get a lot of scoffing indeed.
I highly, highly recommend this book: http://www.abookapart.com/products/design-is-a-job (this goes for anyone that works freelance in design or development)
Getting started is really tough if you’re on your own. You might want to find some moonlighting work, or even remote stuff, for a company to help build weight into your portfolio.