“Hi there. Thank you so much for reaching out. Unfortunately, I do not partake in trade exchange deals for various reasons. Thank you for considering me. Wishing you all the best with your campaign.” That is the exact email I just sent out to an international brand that wanted me to work for free.

I’ve received a few of these trade exchange requests in the past couple of months. A trade exchange deal essentially means that a brand wants to compensate you with their product for work done. Now that might work for someone who blogs for fun, but not for me because I’m running a busines. In this blog post I would like to share with you why I don’t work for free and neither should you.

Content creation is not free

Content creation costs money and time, those are both limited resources that need to be managed carefully in business. I use a professional photographer to create premium content for all my brand deals. Yes, I could use my cellphone and save a buck but that’s just not how I work. If a brand is paying me to create content I go all out. Now if a client wants to pay me with their product, how would that product offset my expenses? It doesn’t make any financial sense. I cannot pay my bills with a pair of designer jeans or potential exposure. As much as I can’t pay an attorney for their services with products, why should that apply to content creators?

When you’re starting out you might feel the need to eagerly accept trade exchange deals with the hope of establishing relationships with brands. That is absolutely fine, but be careful you’re not getting exploited. Don’t make a habit of working for free.  I’m happy to receive gifts and post them on my Instagram stories, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.

Those brands don’t value content creators

I stand to be corrected, but a part of me genuinely believes brands that are not willing to pay content creators don’t really value what we bring to the table. If you value a service, then you should be willing to pay for it. I have brands that I work with on a regular basis and they are willing to pay for my services. So imagine if they found out that I was working for free? I’m certain that wouldn’t go down well with them. They might as well not pay me either!

Those are some of the key reasons why I don’t work for free. It takes time and money to create content, and we rightfully deserve to be compensated adequately for our services. You need to be confident that you add value and you’re good at what you do before you try to convince others.  What’s your take on this subject? Let me know in the comments below.

Love B