Why We Have Got Collaboration So Wrong

I don’t know about you but every time I see someone asking to collaborate or mentioning they’re collaborating I have to control my eye roll and automatically I think they’re just after free s%^&.


When did collaboration become such a buzz word and when did everyone start to get it so wrong?


I was speaking with a photographer friend of mine, who is at the top of her field and absolutely amazing, I mean she has been flown around the world to photograph some major events and featured in some magazine “bibles”, (I am so proud of her!) and she said she still fields numerous requests each week to collaborate, every one of them she responds with her rates.


What the requests are asking of her, is to either photograph an event or product for free and then she will be credited via social media for her part in the collaboration. Say what now? If there is anyone out there that can explain to me how this helps her, then I’m all ears.


The foundation of collaboration has been lost. No longer is anyone coming up with creative ideas, it’s simply:


  • Give me product for my gift bags
  • Give me your product to be part of a photoshoot I’m organising


The gift bag one really annoys me. It’s not collaborating at all. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I get a gift bag, I eat all the food out of them, put the pens in my gift bag pen draw and ditch the rest. Tip: Pay for product to go in gift bags. Most companies offer a considerable reduced rate for this. I do know of a few businesses in Perth that pay for product in their gift bags, and I applaud them for doing so.


It’s time to be creative again!


I recently did work with a big corporate who created a collaboration between six other businesses. Not a picture or social media post was in sight. They had developed a content series that was aimed at start-ups, where each business wrote a mini e-book on their topic, and each week the content series was emailed out to each businesses database. At the end of the series, the individual mini e-books were created into one e-book that was then promoted by each business.




Here’s a thought…collaborating isn’t actually free. It means time, a product or both are given up and each has a price. Before you say yes to collaborating, ask yourself if it really will be beneficial to you and your business. Will it help you with your overall goals and expand your reach to your target audience.


And remember, every time you say yes to something, means you are saying no to something else.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  • Sam

    February 19, 2020 at 6:59 am

    Thanks Megan for the blog, it’s interesting to see collaboration from that point of view and you have some very valid points. From my point, as a coworking venue I have notice how collaboration can happen natural and people find ways to work together and as you mentioned hopefully not for free but a way to benefit both businesses. As collaboration needs to be a partnership that works for you both.
    I think influencers actually have made it an over used word as I think in a lot of those cases advertising would be the correct word more than collaboration.


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