Why I said NO to a paid collaboration:

I feel like I am still a new blogger. I am still trying to figure out what works best for me and my blog, Mai Lookbook. I am always trying to better myself in this process. If you told me 2 years ago, I declined a PAID collaboration. I would have thought you were crazy!

At the start of my blog, I wanted ALL the paid collaborations. However, I realize now…the collaborations I want to partner with, are ones that are in my niche. This is when I realized, it is okay to say NO to paid collaborations.

Big money does not always mean good money! Getting offers in the $$$$ seems extremely enticing for someone like me starting out and trying to pay off debt.


I have a full-time job. Trying to balance my personal life/social life on top of my blog is a lot of work! I also always try to take high quality photos for all my content. This means hiring a photographer, taking time out of my busy work schedule to shoot, editing photos to match my aesthetics, and most importantly trying to plan all my content prior to my shoots.

I always consider what the brand is anticipating for deliverables. For example, if the time creating the content offsets what the budget of the brand is offering. It is a NO for me.


I once got offered a $1500 paid collaboration. (which was a huge deal for me!) However, it was with an Adult-related company to promote adult items for their brand. This was obviously way out of my regular niche and something I was not comfortable doing. Besides my comfort zone, this brand was not one I believed my followers would resonate with.


I recently declined this paid collaboration for a multitude of reasons. Although, their brand and company were in my niche, the timeline for deliverables was unrealistic. The company wanted rights to all my photos, 3 static posts a month (WHICH IS A LOT FOR ME TO DO), and a signed exclusivity clause. This meant I could only work for their brand for a period and could not sign on to work with other “competing” brands related to their product. It was hard to turn down but ultimately this collaboration was not a good fit for me.

How to say NO to a paid collaboration

These are real life examples that I have personally used with brands I have said no to. Try to keep it short and simple. Also, thank them for the opportunity but make it understood that you are declining their offer. .

Alternatively, If you would like to work with the brand in the future and the time is not desirable at the moment, be transparent about it.  I have attached some examples below.

Response #1

“Hi Company ABC,

I appreciate you reaching out to me! Although I appreciate your offer, my calendar has been planned for other collaborations. Please continue to keep me in mind for future partnerships! I would love to be considered and work with COMPANY ABC in the future.


Elsa Mai


Response 2:

Hi Company ABC,

Thank you for reaching out to me! Although, I appreciate this offer, I do not believe this opportunity resonates with my brand or followers at this time. I am going to have to decline this partnership. I wish you the best.


Elsa Mai

Have you ever said no to a brand? Let me know if these ideas helped in the comments below! Until next time.