Back in 2016, there was a popular watch company that so many bloggers worked with. They were the “it” brand to collaborate with and I couldn’t wait for my turn! Then, one random week day I received and email from this popular watch brand’s team. They were interested in work with me on Instagram. I was so excited! I read through their briefing, and was kind of taken back by all the requests. It was the most extensive briefing I had received at that point, but I didn’t care because I wanted to work with this company for months now. I followed up the email exchange with the typical, “I am very interested, what is your budget?”.
That’s when things got interesting. It turned out that this “it” watch company isn’t interested in paying bloggers or influencers even when requesting at least 3 very meticulous Instagram post per watch. Guess what happened? I declined the collaboration, and soon enough a majority of other bloggers and influencers stopped working with the brand as well.
Why bloggers should never work for free
I actually wanted to title this article, no one should work for free because everyone’s talents and work needs to be valued in a monetary way. But I have seen it most common among bloggers, social influencers, and photographers to assume their time, skills and efforts should be at no cost.
Why is this a problem?
There are multiple reasons why working for free is an issue. The largest is, how it affects a persons self-esteem. You are worthy and deserving to be paid for your time, efforts, resources, skill set, and energy put into each project you work on. Point blank.
Secondly, if a brand is coming to you, then they obviously like your work enough to ask to collaborate. They ultimately need you more than you need them. They are gaining exposure and new eyes from an audience you’ve cultivated. What are you getting in return? Yes, it is nice to have on your resume brands you’ve worked with, but there needs to be more of a return on your time and efforts. Also, we all have bills to pay and dreams to fulfill, thus what you should gain from the partnership is a monetary value along with the relationship with the brand.
Other reasons why it’s important to ask for compensation
Like I mentioned above, there are a multitude of reasons to ask for your monetary value when working with companies. Here are a few more reasons in case you’re still hesitating. Having a budget:
- Allows you to hire a photographer, buy props, and have hair and makeup done. In the end you’ll provide higher quality material that will please the brand and in return ensures more collaborations with them in the future.
- It increases your worth overall. Having a rates card shows companies that these are the prices used for each collaboration. Brands often show more respect and worth knowing you ask for payment for each project.
- Decreases the number of collaborations you will take on. There will be brands like the watch company who do not have the budget (or willing to pay). This will decrease your work load, while at the same time increase your credibility and value. Think about it. The more projects you have, the less likely your audience will trust you and the less valuable your material is. Become over saturated in brand collabs isn’t always the best.
- Reduces stress and increases happiness. Being paid for your time and efforts allows you to continue to do what you are doing in a sustainable way. It becomes enjoyable working on projects that pay.
But what if I don’t have the numbers?
I think this is the number one excuse for self-doubt and not believing you are worth being paid. Here is the thing, if the brand is coming to you, once again, they like your work. It takes time and energy to produce the material the brand is looking for. You are working for them essentially, and no one deserves to work for free!
Overall, I hope this helps you no matter what industry you are in. You are so worthy of payment and happiness. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever experience a brand not willing to pay, and what you did in response!