Collaborate…Coffee…But I’m Really Freakin’ Busy?

2 December 2019

I hear the term collaborate every hour. I get messages all of the time about what I think about brands who email you guys asking to “collaborate” or send you product. I’ve addressed this on videos and social posts but I do think it’s a solid conversation to keep having. Back in 2011 when I started blogging I used the word collaborate all of the time. Instagram wasn’t as common then because the term influencer hadn’t even come out, so we were all using the term collaborate.

Here is the textbook definition of the word collaborate: work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.

There’s a blurry line with the word collaborate and trying to get product for free, get a service for free, or ask someone who you are inspired by to help you/ meet up with you for something.

Since many people are attempting to make blogging/Instagram into a career, the word is used freely now. Which is totally cool- but there’s a difference between cold pitching yourself to a brand to get something and sending a pitch to someone you aspire to be like to meet for coffee.


To be transparant, I and every executive/ CEO you follow are too busy to meet you for a cup of coffee. It’s much easier for me to reply to an email or a thoughtful DM or meet you in public/ at a summit than it is for me to meet you for coffee if you’re a stranger. No one necessarily just wants to meet with someone who they don’t know to give their advice to. Safety people, safety 🙂

The better thing to do is watch the videos I’ve put online, listen to my podcast episode on how to write a cold pitch…and stop asking to meet someone for coffee without nurturing a relationship prior. If you’re looking to collaborate with a brand, totally ask for free product in return for a post but think about what sets YOU apart from everyone who also wants that free lip gloss or drone before you write an email. Write a few emails and see who replies, test a few different pitches and figure it out along the way!

If you are emailed by a brand who wants to give you product, say yes if you like the stuff! Say no if they ask you to buy the product to then feature the stuff. I’ve been asked how to reply to an email like that and my advice is don’t reply at all or counter their email by saying that they can pay you for the post because you’re not buying a product to then write a post on it. That’s not a collaboration, that’s a sale. It’s offensive actually to be asked to purchase a product for a discount to review. Doesn’t that sound stupid?

I’m happy to chat with someone on the phone briefly or on Skype who has questions and we have corresponded over a period of time. I’ve now had the chance to get to know you and understand what you’re trying to build (or if you’re confused altogether, that’s totally cool too!) but don’t waste your time asking for coffee. You can get way more via email by knowing what you want.



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