I recently graduated with a [url removed, login to view]+ in Web Design (2 year), and I am now 69 credits in on a software engineering program ([url removed, login to view]+). I live in a rural area where there are not any technical jobs or recruiters, and telecommuting-freelancing are my only options that do not involve moving. I have the skills for web and graphic design (DHTML, Photoshop, etc.), but I need to know the ins-and-outs of freelancing. I have no experience.
I do not have a portfolio website yet, though I do have many designs for a networking website that I used to own (they all have the networking site's logo, however). I have also written more than 30 previously commercial cross-platform (Win32-Lin-BSD) artificial intelligence programs. All designs and programs are available, and I would like to leverage them the best way possible.
I am looking for an experienced web design freelancer to guide me. How do I bid, what do I charge, how do I find good projects (what sites as well as what to look for), what forms and contracting details do I need, what legal considerations are there, etc. I am looking to spend $100-$150 on somebody who will essentially hold my hand through a successful freelancing gig. This project is completed when my first gig is completed (I will do all technical work, but I will need to know how to communicate with clients and close the deal).
I am looking to spend $100-150 for guidance primarily, though all materials (tips, tutorials, lessons learned, etc.) are welcome. I would like to have a review of my programs and designs, and (if possible) tips on how to incorporate them into my freelancing career.