Making a living as a freelancer has its ups and downs. Being extremely busy one month and slow the next is a fact of business that takes some getting used to and requires you to carefully plan out how your income can sustain you through the months. To create a more level business flow, engage in a routine, disciplined marketing plan that keeps your inbox regularly filled with customer requests.

However, that’s easier said than done. When you’re in the midst of a deadline-sensitive project, it’s hard to carve out time for marketing. To make this happen, budget your marketing time in small but frequent clumps and automate it as much as possible. Here are eight tips recommended by social media expert Ankur Kumar on Social Media Week.

Understand your market

The first step is identifying your target market. Then, ask what are their needs and spending habits? What resonates with them? Once you understand your target audience, it’ll be easier to find ways to appeal to them and claim their business.

Optimize technology

The social media revolution is here, use it to your advantage. By engaging in industry-relevant social media, you become known as knowledgeable in your field and also serve as an industry influencer. Blogging on a regular basis builds not just recognition, but also authority.

Make your website relevant

It’s easy and cheap to build a website. That’s great, but it also means there millions of them. Make yours a showcase for your skills and abilities. Visitors should say: I want to hire this professional. Connecting your blog to your website increases traffic. You should also share your blogs and website on your social media accounts to direct more traffic there.

Business cards

The old fashioned kind are still important. Have them with you at all times and ready to go before any marketing events. Contact information should always be attached to emails and social media posts in order to make contacting you easy. Design is important as well. If you’re not a graphics person, designing a simple but attractive card based on a successful model helps.

Share, engage, and network on social media

This step takes active participation on a regular basis. By scheduling time each day to check social media and create posts, blogs, and comments, you gradually get better known. Your time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites can help your business!

Guest blogging

Look for these opportunities. Remember, they are not for shameless self-promotion. Share key information that interests readers and doesn’t sound like an advertisement. This builds your personal brand and profile up as an expert and professional.

Take small projects

If you’re new in the business, remember that small projects matter. They count as experience, and that same client may become a regular customer. Also, they help build your reputation, which leads to referral business.

Team up

It doesn’t hurt to get information from other freelancers. Some projects require a team effort. Getting known in the industry can open the opportunity for you to collaborate on larger projects.