The freelance economy is in full swing. Sustaining a professional career through short-term gig opportunities was difficult in the past, but with the rise of online job boards, freelancing services, and communication tools like Skype and Slack, it’s easier than ever for freelancers to work full time while working with different clients every few months.

However, it can be hard finding a steady stream of work or even earning high paychecks with each gig, so to increase their income, freelancers need to use every resource at their disposal to ensure they maximize their profits. Luckily, freelancers can determine their own rates, and there are all kinds of ways freelancers can ensure that they earn the rate they want.

If you’re a freelancer looking to increase your income, here are five steps to get you started.

1. Build your credibility

If you want to increase your income, it’s important that your clients recognize your talent and, just as importantly, your track record. The more confident clients feel in your abilities, the more they’ll be willing to pay for your services. The most effective tactics for building credibility include starting your own blog in order to share your own knowledge and showcase your expertise as well as acquiring client testimonials and encouraging your past clients to share their experience working with you online. Crowd psychology is an incredibly useful tool, so make yourself seem desirable by getting other people to read and talk about your talents.

2. Create a website

Regardless of what type of freelance work you are looking for, creating a website is a great way to attract new business to your services. As well as including the aforementioned client testimonials on your website, your website should include your contact information and a portfolio of your past freelancing projects. If you’re a web developer or designer, this is a great chance to show off your skills, and if not, there are plenty of website builders out there to help you. As soon as a client asks questions about your past work, you should be able to direct them to your website, a simple way for potential clients to find out more about what you offer.

3. Join a freelance network

Finding clients on your own can be a challenging task, but there are all kinds of networks out there that help connect freelancers with clients. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up your own hunt looking for clients because making personal connections can go a long way. However, in those dry spells where you can’t find anything, a freelance network can come in handy to land you that next gig. There are plenty of broader networks that include all types of gigs, but there are also more niche networks, such as Contently for writers, Behance for designers, and Toptal for developers. To ensure you never stop receiving a paycheck during the year, freelance networks are one of the most stable ways to ensure more work.

4. Automate everything you can

The most time-consuming tasks in freelancing are never the work itself. It’s scheduling meetings, negotiating the next gig, handling the paperwork for the next paycheck, and so on. If you want to increase your income, maximize the time you spend actually working and use automation tools to make your day-to-day life easier. For example, use Calendly to schedule meetings, Wunderlist to track your own to-do list, and FreshBooks to bill your clients. With these tasks streamlined, you can focus more on the work you need to do and finish more projects at a faster rate.

5. Get active on social media

The average American checks social media 17 times a day, and that includes your potential clients. If you want to increase your income, then you’ll need more clients, and one of the best ways to find new clients is through social media. 65 percent of freelancers post regularly on social media for their work, and you don’t want to be in the minority of freelancers missing out on this useful pipeline. Post often about your own work and interests, including links to your blog posts if you have one, but even more frequently, you should share relevant news and content on your industry so that people know you are someone who’s well-informed and up-to-date on the latest news in your field. This step sounds time-consuming, but in the long run, it can win you new clients and make all that time spent on social media worth it.

Are you a freelancer that increased your income? Share how you did it in a comment below!