I'm a freelance copywriter. I write for small businesses – web content, brochures, fliers, welcome letters, etc. Here are my suggestions for making it to a decent income:
1) Start small, i.e. cheap and maybe for people you already know who are willing to give you a shot. (Cheap doesn't mean free.) Even if you've done plenty of other writing, you need experience copywriting specifically because it really is its own skill. You need to be really good at it, comfortable working with clients, and confident in your skills, before you expand to strangers you charge decently.
2) Craft a great elevator speech – 10-15 seconds that explains what you do, why they need it, and how you do it differently from everyone else. Sound friendly and casual, not stuffy and formal. This happens to be exactly what I do for the businesses, so I really need to nail this part. I've gotten reallllly good at it and I can see their eyes light up. "Oh wow! I have so much trouble with that! That's just what I need!" Everyone knows how to write, technically, so in this profession you really need to sell yourself as offering something they want and struggle with.
3) Network, network, network. I found a local small business support group and found plenty of clients there, because I am a small business and because I work with small businesses. Use the people you know. I tag along to some of my husband's business functions and any friends who want company. Anytime you're having small talk and there comes the question "what do you do?," you have a chance to get your name out there. Pass out your business cards a lot. Get reaaaally nice business cards so you're memorable (I love moo.com, terrible name I know but very modern and high quality). Plus if you're good, reliable, and really easy to work with, you'll get referrals.
4) FOLLOW UP. If someone mentions they could possibly potentially use your services, get their info and email or call them. Do not wait for them to contact you. Does it feel awkward and even rude? Yep. Do it anyway. Be polite obviously but track down all your leads.
5) Don't give up. It can take a long time to build up a client base.
6) Get really lucky and catch a big break. I know, that's not something you can plan, but the previous steps prepare you for it, and this is how I really broke through to a bigger volume. Ultimately, you want clients that keep giving you projects, not just one-offs.
I introduced myself to a friend of a friend at a party. Months and months later, the company he worked for needed a writer for a project. They're a graphic design company and found out, halfway into a project designing a brochure, that the client expected them to provide text as well as design. They don't have a writer on staff but he remembered me and said hey, I know this writer who sounded very professional and I got a good recommendation from my friend who knows her. We need someone fast so let's start there. I met with them and impressed them. The project went extremely well so I've gotten many other projects from them.
One more note. I'm an introvert and used to be fairly awkward and really timid. It's not easy putting yourself out there but it's simply the only way. Fake it till you make it. Pretend you are confident. Pretend you are amazing. Pretend you feel comfortable. Be scared, and do it anyway. Be uncomfortable, and be social anyway. You get used to it, then you get good at it, then you enjoy the rush of feeling powerful.
I'll discuss daily routine if anyone's interested but this is already long. Satisfaction level: A-