The time frame from the initial meeting to clean up could be months! I don't know how other caterers do it, but I'm working a job tomorrow night and the initial contact was back before Christmas. I do a lot of menu work via email and probably only meet with the clients once or twice- once in the beginning, and once to view the site. Often the hard part is not spending the deposit and payments for an upcoming job well before it happens. I've done that before! It's just like working for free..... I try to keep the deposits and payments in a separate account specifically for that reason, but there are those times when a wedding deposit for June will pay the electric bill in January.
Market yourself to groups, Dr's offices, clubs, etc by dropping by a catering menu and maybe a box of treats you've made or a small platter of sandwiches. Once you have your kitchen, take out small ads around holidays or events- graduations, Fourth of July, and try to pick up some small parties. Do them well, and you'll soon be picking up more business by word of mouth.
I started out as a personal chef, and almost immediately got a few small jobs for birthday parties, grad parties. My first wedding for 150 was during my first 3 months of being in business. It was a nightmare; not because of the food or anything I did, but because I didn't have the experience to stand up for myself and didnt' make much of a profit at all. What was supposed to be a 5 hour job turned into 8 or 9 hours plus travel over an hour each way. I'm still doing it, but I've become much more assertive. Since you've already been in business, you'll probably have better luck in that department. Best of luck!