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Why I Stopped Doing Brand Collaborations

May 25, 2023

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This time last year I was doing 8 collaborations a month on YouTube.

Each video was sponsored by a different brand and I made over six figures in brand collaborations alone.

But this is why I stopped taking on brand collaborations for YouTube.

Why I Stopped Doing Brand Collaborations

Like I said before, last year I made six figures as an Influencer in brand collaborations. I was posting twice a week on my YouTube channel, which means about every month I was posting 8 videos and each video was sponsored.

For some people, that’s the dream. I remember when I first started on YouTube, that was the dream. Having my first sponsored video was so huge! 

I don’t think a lot of people talk about the negative side of brand collaborations and how doing too many can be hurting your channel.

Brands > Audience?

Now, this isn’t the case for every YouTube Creator. This is just my experience doing a lot of brand collaborations.

What I found is the more I did brand collaborations, the more I wanted to make the brands happy. When I first started my channel, all of my video topics were geared toward my target audience.

That’s how I did my content research. I always thought, “What does my target audience want? How can I help them? How can I serve them?”

Over time, I started working with more brands and was getting more money from collabs than YouTube, my loyalties shifted to, “How can I serve the brand with this video?”

I believe that’s why brand collaborations actually had a negative effect on my channel.

I was thinking brand-first instead of audience-first. All of my video topics were centered around the offer that brand had. If a brand was a Link-in-bio service, I thought, “How can I pick a video topic that will encourage people to use this brand or product?”

I wanted to make sure that brand collaborations made sense in the video. I didn’t want to talk about Instagram tips and then all of a sudden, I’m talking about this random skin care product.

Since I wanted the sponsorship to make so much sense for the viewer, I was focusing way too much on that.

For example, if it was a website host, I would gear my topic more toward the brand, instead of thinking of what my audience actually wanted.

Even though my audience wasn’t looking for that sort of content, I would make it so it made sense for the brand.

That started to have negative side effects on my analytics. My views started to go down… a lot.

Audience > Brands

I set a goal for myself. For 2023, I wanted to say, “Peace out!” to Brand partnerships.

I was doing way too many and I felt like my channel was just a walking ad for all these businesses. My channel and my goals needed to go back to my audience.

I had to prioritize brand collabs less, regardless of the money, and just focus on how can I create content for my people, my community, for all of you.

That’s what I wanted to focus on this year. Moving forward, I told my Digital Business Manager and my Brand Collaborations Manager that I only want to work with brands that:

  1. have a similar mission of wanting to help Content Creator
  2. I genuinely love and want to be with for a long time.

So, in case you haven’t noticed, so far in 2023, I’ve only worked with two brands on my YouTube channel. I’ve worked with Metricool and HubSpot.

Those are the only two sponsors that I’ve had on my channel this year.

  1. Metricool is such a cool tool (no pun intended). I love it, I use it all the time and I think everybody should use it.
  2. With HubSpot, we have very similar passions and missions for just wanting to give free value and free resources to Content Creators, business owners and social media managers. Their heart is in alignment with my heart and what I want to give to my audience.

Ambassadorships Are Still Cool

Now, you will see that I have a few ambassadorships where like I’m an ambassador or an affiliate for a brand. That doesn’t mean they sponsor a video. they don’t pay me to talk about them, but I just bring them up a lot because I love them.

Like Stan Store, for example. I’m an ambassador for Stan Store. They don’t pay me to post YouTube videos, but it’s the #1 link-in-bio tool that I refer all people to. It’s the best one out there, so I want to represent them and be an affiliate with them.

I’m also an affiliate for Storyy, so you’ll see those Social Media News updates where I’m like, “This video is sponsored by Storyy.” It’s not sponsored as in there’s this agreement where they’re paying me and I have to say certain things.

I just love Storyy. I’m an affiliate for them, so we just agreed to help each other out. They’ll script one of my videos, which saves me a bunch of time, and I’ll direct people to their Trend Report

So, that’s how I’m doing my YouTube channel this year and it has been a huge weight off my shoulders.

Sometimes, I still find myself going back to how I can serve the brand because I love the brand so much, but I’m really trying to focus more on you, my audience, and give value to you.

Working With HubSpot

As you’ve noticed, I have been working with HubSpot a lot more lately throughout the past few months. That’s because I’m finally able to announce that I’m officially part of their HubSpot YouTube Network.

I’ve been following the HubSpot Podcast Network for quite some time. When I first started being an Influencer and Content Creator, I learned and consumed through podcasts. I’m a huge fan of Jenna Kutcher, Amy Porterfield, Michaela’s Side Hustle Pro podcast, and so many of these creators that are in the HubSpot podcast Network.

When HubSpot reached out to me and said they want me to be a part of their HubSpot YouTube Network, I was like, “Who, me? You sure?”

So, to be one of the founding members of the HubSpot YouTube Network is huge. I’m stoked to be a part of this mission to create a central Learning Hub for Content Creators and business professionals. That way, you can all go, watch, learn, and grow your businesses and see the success you’ve always dreamed of.

What is the HubSpot YouTube Network?

Basically, a bunch of us YouTube creators are creating YouTube series on different topics like entrepreneurship, AI, studying your analytics and a bunch of other topics.

I’m creating a YouTube series on The Ultimate Guide for Content Creators. In my series, I’m teaching everything you need to know about Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and how to make money.

And there are other creators that are teaching so many other things. I’m just really excited that I’ll be able to focus more on teaching all of you instead of making a brand happy. I can focus on my audience again, focus on educating, teaching, what I love doing and there’s a brand that is in complete alignment with my mission and my goals.

If you want, check out the HubSpot YouTube Network here and start looking around and find something that you’d want to learn more about.

Brand Collaborations in My Future

How I plan to do brand collaborations in the future and how my past choices have affected current Millie, I’ll probably just continue to work with 1-2 brands a year on YouTube.

On Instagram, that’s a little bit different. I’ll probably dabble and work with 1-3 brands a month, depending on that partnership.

This is the best thing I could do for my mental health, physical health, stress, etc. Last year, doing 8 videos a month and 8 partnerships a month was a lot of work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely grateful for it, but looking back, I have no idea how I did that for an entire year. I know now that isn’t what I want to continue doing, especially with so many other projects going on now.

Working with too many brands and neglecting my audience is what led to being burnt out at the end of the year. I’m taking it as a wonderful lesson, so from now on, I want to keep a realistic level of brand collaborations that I know I’m able to do on top of all my other projects.

Brands Collaborations For You

I’m not saying brand collaborations are bad or not to do them. I experienced my initial dream, I got to partner with so many brands that I really loved and I learned about myself. 

I learned that it’s better for me to work with a smaller amount of brands for a longer period of time. It’s equally beneficial for everyone that I’m able to put 100% into my audience and find brands that support what I’m currently doing instead of me trying to fit into what they’re doing. 

That’s why I dropped brand collaborations a little bit on my channel and why I’m not really accepting future sponsorships.

I hope this was enlightening for some of you, I wanted to share what’s been on my mind with brand collaborations recently.

If you want to pursue brand collaborations, go for it. Live your dream.

My main “YouTuber” advice to you would be to at the very least never neglect your audience. Have as many partnerships as you want, but keep your audience at the heart of your channel. 

You’ll go far if you do that.

And, of course, follow your joy.

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