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4 Key Takeaways From Our Contract Negotiation Workshop

A while back, lawyer and negotiation queen Steph Onyekwere led a one-hour brand negotiation workshop for our community. She dropped so much invaluable knowledge on us I think I'm still digesting it. If you joined us, thanks a million-- we heard a lot of positive feedback from you. In case you missed it, I've summarized a few actionable tips you can put into practice today!

1.) Prepare in advance for every client convo

Determine where you're going and how you'll get there by outlining your strategy and goals of the convo before you hop on a call with a brand. Practice talking it out to the mirror, your mom, or even a furry four-legged friend.Be ready to ASK your client for their campaign budget! Don't close down the opportunity before you even start the conversation by telling them a rate.

If they agree too easily, you likely could have gotten more.

If they say that's it's over their budget, you may never get a chance to re-negotiate.Calculate your bottom line. If it's going to cost you $1000 to create the content and they're only offering $500 to start, you will know that doesn't work. If you haven't calculated your costs, you won't have a strong foundation for the minimum you can accept, which leads to confusion for you and the brand.& REMEMBER: you can ask for more. If you know your bottom line (see above), you can easily explain why their rate is too low and counter with a more competitive rate. Explaining how you account for your time, the equipment or expenses you'll incur to create the campaign, digital usage rights, additional paid exclusivity or licensing terms, and anything else that is relevant to your creative work can help bring the brand around to your terms, or at least to a middle point.

2.) Improve your skills with these small tweaks

Here are some pro tips for negotiating when the time arrives:✔️ Speak with confidence! You're the expert on your own brand and work✔️ Demonstrate your value with analytics & data from your account and previous campaigns ✔️ Be patient, because coming to an agreement may take some time. Rushing the conversation can make it feel like an argument, which is counterproductive✔️ Deliverables and usage rights are your most flexible points to negotiate with: can't get them up in price? Adjust the number of deliverables, and/or their ability to use them

3.) Always Read The Contract

READ. THE. CONTRACT. Every word of it. Ask someone for help if you don't understand certain terms.

Contract terms are the #1 place where creators leave money on the table and get locked into unfavorable terms.

You do NOT want the surprise of seeing your content used in huge campaigns you didn't realize you'd agreed because they were buried in the depths of your contract.

You especially want to look out for contract terms regarding ownership provisions, licensing, exclusivity, and of course, payment.

Even better than having a finely tuned eagle eye? Providing your own contract. Having a contract template you can easily modify for each partnership is the best way to prevent sneaky, unfavorable, or confusing terms because the terms outlined are exactly what you want!Steph offers a lawyer-drafted, creator favorable contract template on her site for a one-time fee, which is a great investment in your future.

4.) Be Ready to Walk Away

This is a really powerful one, so listen up! It is OKAY to politely decline and walk away from a negotiation or potential collaboration if you can't come to an agreement that works for everyone. Walking away shows confidence and honors the value you're bringing to the table. When is it a good idea to walk away?

  • When the brand won't compromise on certain non-negotiable terms
  • When it turns out the brand may actually not be a great fit for your audience
  • When the reputation of the brand is poor or you've had a negative experience

We know it's incredibly hard to feel like you're missing out on an opportunity or perhaps you've told yourself that some money is better than no money.But we promise that walking away under the right circumstances has a net positive effect on your business because it ensures that all your partnerships are positive, authentic, and reflective of your worth!