This post can be in relation to a lot of things, but it’s mainly going to be in relation to if you’re growing a platform or brand or working to create things (such as commissions) to make sure you stay ‘on brand’ and don’t get pulled into a black hole of agreeing to things you’re not comfortable with or you’re maybe not capable of.
For your brand or platform.
If you’re an influencer or you have your own brand that bases itself around say clothing, if someone gets in touch for a collaboration there’s a few things you should consider before agreeing to it. To make this simpler, I’m going to base the theoretical answers around an influencer that wears and supports sustainable clothing and in turn, may want to create their own brand later down the line.
- Does it fit in with your core value?
Is the collaborator also a sustainable brand or are they more into fast fashion? If they’re no sustainable, this would be going against your core values and likely wouldn’t fit with the audience you already have.
- Can it serve others?
If the brand that wants to collaborate is sustainable, are they going to be something your followers would want to look into. Maybe you’re regularly posting more going out/high fashion looks but the brand is based around pajamas which may not fit in with why your followers follow you.
- Do you have passion and excitement for it?
This one is really important as I think if you’re going to promote something for a brand, whether it’s gifted or paid, you need to believe in what you’re promoting. If you don’t believe in it, this will show and in turn, your followers may think you’re just pushing something on them because you’ve been paid. You want to make sure that what you’re putting across is something that you genuinely like!
- You don’t need to be everything for everyone.
Okay, this isn’t a question but it’s important to make sure that you don’t agree to a collaboration simply because it may find you another type of follower. I think it’s important to cater to the ones you already have, as changing your direction can sometimes lead to losing the trust or interest of those that have already been around for a while. (Take this from someone who changed her complete Instagram at the start of this year).
Okay, so it fits your brand.
Perfect, the collaboration that you want to do fits your brand. Make sure to not sell yourself short. If they’re offering to gift you something, maybe make sure to tell them it’s not necessarily going to be shared unless you love it and that all opinions if you do share will be your own.
If you’re going to be paid to do something, does the payment fit the amount of time it’ll take you as well as the value it will serve the collaborator themselves. For example, if they wanted you to do a try on haul which would take 1 hour to film, 2 hours to edit and then another hour or two to create a thumbnail, video description and promotional content for your Instagram stories – is this time paid for?
It’s also important to think about what exactly they want. If they only want a Instagram post, this will provide them with good promotion for the time it’s posted to your audience and through hashtags etc. If they wanted a video on YouTube, this is more of a platform where it can constantly be referred to, searched and provide them with promotion and outreach of the brand. For the latter, I’d advise making sure payment is more as it’s a constant way they can be found, rather than just a one time post which after a week will likely only be looked at if it’s shared by someone else or a new follower has a little stalk through your profile.
Saying no to commissions.
This section, although I’m writing it, is one that I really need to listen to from time to time. I think if you’re working as an illustrator on the side of a full time job like me, fitting in projects can be difficult. I personally work a 5 day week, full time and around this I manage my blog (one post a day) along with create illustrations to go alongside these posts both for my website and also for Instagram. On top of this, I commission artwork of both pet portraits and faceless portraits. I also do custom commissions if requested and run a little Etsy store too.
Yes, I know this seems a lot and it is.
I have myself a schedule but at times, I take on too much and I need to say no.
Schedule and give yourself time.
I think when it comes to art, illustrations or commissioning work, you need to have a schedule from week to week to figure out exactly how much time you have spare for those incoming projects.
For example, my ‘free time’s providing that I’m not working my full time job are Mondays, Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. This is the time I have free around doing my blog, artwork for my Instagram. Overall this is likely around 10 hours, taking into consideration other things I may need to do, such as admin for my website, answering emails and general life stuff. As a pet portrait takes me around 3 hours (if it’s just one pet), this means that I’d have time for 2 pet portraits a week and if I get 5 requests, I either need to give them a realistic timescale. Say all 5 needed their pet portraits in 10 days, I’d need to advise that realistically I can only get 3 done and in turn, I’d likely provide them on a first come first serve basis but advise the 2 missing out that I’m here if they want to get them done later in the year or on another occasion.
Saying no doesn’t make you weak.
It’s needed to make sure that you stay on top of your workload, stick to the values of your brand, still have a social life and most important don’t get stressed and compromise your mental health. Yes, others may be disappointed or upset if you say no to their proposition or commission request but providing you’re honest with them about why you’re not able to do it, they’ll respect your decision and understand it’s not about them, it’s about you (oh what a line).
Love, always – B
*For commissions, please email me or get in touch on Instagram*
I’d also love for you to check out my Etsy shop here: beccabynature