Hi there, I wanted to follow up on this topic. A few years ago I posted here, and I wanted to update you guys.
Firstly, good news, I am still in business :), and I am creating WordPress sites for my clients. The budget of projects I work on is now anything between $500 and $5,000. But most of them are around $2,000. I found that $2k is something most small businesses are okay with to spend on a website. To make my life easier, I usually buy some nice WordPress theme, show it to my clients for approval, and then I modify it. Best!