Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, I wanna talk to you about the dos and don’ts of working for free.
As influencers, we have the opportunity to work with brands and companies where we promote their products and services.
You may have gotten comments or messages from brands asking you to partner with them or be an ambassador for them - some are collaborations (where you get free product or get a discount code) and some are paid. It all depends on the brand and what they’re offering.
People always ask me - is this a scam??? And the thing is, I can’t speak for each and every brand.
This brings us to the first thing you should do.
As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to vet and screen the brand that you’re potentially going to work with.
Look at their website, their Instagram account, Google the brand name and do your research. Now, based on that information, you get to decide if you’re gonna work with the brand.
Some influencers work with brands on free collaborations or discount codes and it turns into long-term paid partnerships. Some don’t turn out that way.
Some people work with a brand where they have to buy the product first and review it and then the brand never gives their money back.
All of these things can happen and no one will really know unless you test it out for yourself.
No one can give you the answer to the question: should I do it or not? This is part of being your own boss, you are 100% responsible for the decisions you make.
You only want to work with brands that you align and resonate with and have the same core values as you have.
This is something that I walk my students through in the branding trainings inside The Spark Society, getting clear about your brand’s mission, vision and core values is super important in creating a brand that stands out from everyone else.
You have to do your research on the brand and see what they’ve done in the past, who they’ve worked with before, their stance on social issues, etc.
You also don’t want your channel to have way too many commercials. Remember to spread out your organic vs promotional posts. Usually the ratio is 80/20.
I still accept brand collaborations that are not paid on top of getting free product if it makes sense for me. I know influencers who have over 1 million followers and still do product collabs.
Especially if you’re just starting out, this may be the only opportunities that you have right now and you can always build the relationship with the brand and turn it into something paid later. It’s a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio.
Now, here’s the thing. It doesn’t mean they don’t offer to pay, that you don’t try to negotiate. You can most definitely ask for payment.
Most influencers are scared to ask and that’s why they don’t end up making any money.
This is why it’s so important to have an influencer portfolio (which is what we teach inside The Spark Society) so that you can show them your media kit, rate card and case studies.
You can communicate with them why it’s worth it to pay you (we have email templates in there that help you with this).
Some brands just don’t know that you require payment or need to be educated on why partnering with influencers is valuable to their business.
Even though I do tell you to accept collaborations, you also have to treat this like a business not a hobby - meaning you have to make money.
It takes time and energy to create content, produce a shoot, be the model/photographer/editor, and then grow your audience.
Companies have paid thousands, even millions of dollars, for photoshoots, video shoots, and creating content and with influencers, they’re getting the entire package.
But, it’s up to you to present yourself and communicate with the brand. It’s your job to sell your services as an influencer and show why it would be valuable to get in front of your audience.
In order to do this, you have to get over those thoughts of “Oh, what if I’m not good enough?” or “Who would even pay me?”
You have to work on cultivating a mindset, which is something I help my students with on a weekly basis since we added weekly mindset coaching inside The Spark Society.
A quote that I’ve loved is “If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO.”
And it’s true, if you don’t ask, you will never know the answer and you will never get an answer. But, if you’re afraid of asking and trying, nothing will ever happen.
So, to shift this fear of rejection, you have to ask yourself, “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”
They’ll say no.
And then what?
You need to understand that no, just means not right now.
No means not yet.
No doesn’t mean you suck as a person or your content sucks.
As an entrepreneur, you have to get used to getting no. You can’t take it personally. Not everyone is going to like you or want to work with you.
But, if you don’t ask, you’ll never get an answer and you could be missing out on some awesome opportunities.
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