ATTN: Creators! PLEASE stop doing this ASAP…

Many of you can relate, but maybe some of you need to see this – we have to ALL collectively stop devaluing ourselves as creators in order to demand fair partnerships as the norm. Read on to see what I mean and grab some help at the end! Subscribe for the latest!

Do you know what it takes to create quality content on your blog or social media? Chances are, if you’re seeing this, you are one of our connections who also spend time perfecting their craft, working for hours on end to get that perfect shot, editing to perfection, nurturing an audience (or audiences across multiple platforms) and dealing with countless behind the scenes maintenance tasks… 

NEWSFLASH: You don’t have to give up your valuable blog & feed space for free product! Read on see what I mean, and at the end, you can snag some free templates for politely declining unreasonable partner requests!

1. This Is Your Business…

Like building any business, you often have to spend money and put effort and resources in before you can make money. Treating a creator platform as a business and understanding the fundamentals of what it takes for YOU to create quality partner content is a great first step to leveling up your game and freeing up your time to spend on more of your own organic, helpful content that your audience craves! Unless you specialize in product reviews, chances are your audience may value unbranded helpful content in your niche as much or even more than they do a sponsored post. 

2. Find Your Inspiration

Most photos and blog posts that are on a digital creator’s feed or site are a labor of love and are things that they’ve put their heart and soul into, even if it looks like a “simple post” at face value. Many bloggers and creators work for YEARS consistently before they ever see a return on investment, and some never expect one because they genuinely love it. Considering the money dump that can be involved in a blogging/content creation hobby, I urge you to look at your work as WORK. Most of us start out as hobbyists, but even if it is fun, it is still valuable and worthy of adequate compensation when brands want you to use your hard-earned reach to promote their products to YOUR audience. 

3. Don’t Work For Free!

You can and should be compensated for creating branded content, and your feed space is VALUABLE! Don’t give it for free unless you have some other idea in mind for how it is considered fair for you. UNLESS you want to build a portfolio, some rapport for a first collab, anticipate you’ll be able to earn commissions or value the relationship enough to start out working for free, then just don’t. Take that time you would have spent creating specific content for a brand willing to pay (what they may not realize is) pennies per hour. 

4. Keep The Options Open

Please feel free to use these as a guide to craft your own unique version of a reply. There are a lot of ways to politely decline in a quick fashion, also of course, some things may not be worthy of a reply… but if you want to take a minute to explain why, it’s only going to help the industry overall. If we all collectively educate those interested in getting free partnerships, we can possibly change the narrative that creators don’t deserve more than a product in exchange for hours of work and overhead expenses. 


1. “Oh, thank you for thinking of me! Sorry, I don’t have any options to create content for free. Keep me in mind if your marketing budget ever changes.”

2. “Appreciate your consideration, although your brand looks great, my branded content is reserved for paid partner content.”

3. “I understand your budget is (number below what you can accept) and I respect that.  I can’t do XXX for that compensation, but I can offer XXX instead!”

4. “Sounds like a great opportunity! I would love to be considered when the marketing budget resets. Let me know when that happens and I will send my current rates at that time.”

5. “So nice of you to think of me! Although your brand sounds great, my business can’t donate the time, money and other resources to promote it for free.”

Are you treating your creative outlets as a business when it comes to working with brands? Tell us all about it in the comments at the bottom of the page.

Until next time – find us at for even more blog & business tips!

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