How to turn GIFTED collab into a PAID collaboration

I was always under the impression that smaller influencers do not get paid to work with brands. This could not be more wrong!

If you’re ready to start being paid for the content you create then keep reading!

I got my first gifted collaboration in 2017 and immediately accepted. I thought it was the coolest thing and assumed that’s all they would offer me.I quickly realized brands kept offering me ‘gifted’ collaborations. This was great however, I soon realized the reward was not worth it in the end. However, if a gifted collab is worth my while, I will reconsider.

As a blogger, you must come up with content ideas, outfits, planning, photography (or hire a professional photographer) and more…in my opinion, this meant a lot of time and effort for little reward. I work a full-time job as a speech-language pathologist and my time creating content without pay was not worth it in the end for me.

I took a leap of faith and asked a brand that gifted me items for a paid collaboration. To my excitement, they agreed.


I want to share some tips for microinfluencers who are starting out on this journey.

  1. First piece of advice. You’ll hear a lot of NO’s. It’s frustrating to put all the work into a collaboration with little reward. You might hear “we do not have the budget” or they may a discount code to your following. Evaluate if the gifted collab is worth your while, if not, move on.
  2. KNOW YOUR WORTH! I talked about this in another blog post- seen here. I always consider what the brand is anticipating for deliverables. In my experience, brands respect and value you more as a creator/influencer/blogger when they know you value your own work! Yes, your content is your work! All the photos, reels, videos, and stories, you are creating is work! Know your worth and charge for it.

So if you feel like you have done your fair share of unpaid collabs, keep reading!

Here is my final and most important tip!


This is a real email that I was recently sent for a gifted collaboration:

Hello Elsa,

My name is ABC and my marketing agency partnered with ABC. I recently discovered your account Mai Lookbook and think you would be a great fit for ABC.

I’m writing to invite you to be part of ABC Influencer Program (this is by invite only, our team has screened and handpicked each person). Program perks include:

  • Receive a 15% affiliate payout on
  • Gifted items

This is a popular brand thats I was very familiar with. I was very excited that they reached out to me. I was able to turn this gifted collaboration into a paid one! I have done it many times. Here are some of my responses I have used.


“Thank you so much for reaching out! I would love to hear more about what you’re looking for and what the budget for this campaign is”

It is that simple! Just ask.

Another option I have tried is:

Thank you for reaching out! I am very excited to receive these gifted items. Aside from your gifted program, do you have any active paid campaigns? I would love to be considered.

It is so important to know your value and worth as a content creator/influencer/blogger! Check out my other blog posts for tips and how to ask for a paid collab as a microinfluencer.

If you have questions about getting paid, rates, pitching, or anything blogger related… message me @mai.loobook


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