How Jeanne Found The Confidence to Pitch Brands and Negotiate Her Rates [Blog Sponsorship Boss Case Study]

This is an interview with Jeanne Lund of Make Calm Lovely.

Hey, Jeanne. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I run the blog, Make Calm Lovely, which is a blog all about creating – IKEA hacks, DIY projects, crafts, home decor and more. 

When and why did you start Make Calm Lovely?

I actually started Make Calm Lovely as I was going through some tough stuff in my life. My dad was really sick and dying with cancer across the world from me.  It was very stressful, especially as I couldn’t be there very much with him and my family.  So I needed something to really get into and focus on. 

I read about starting a blog and thought I would give it a go – as I loved doing DIY and crafts so I knew that would be my niche.  

I called the blog Make Calm Lovely because I wanted to convey that if you make and create lovely things you will have more calm and satisfaction in your life. I never thought that anyone would actually read my blog! But they did and it took off – and I haven’t looked back!

How are you currently monetizing the blog?

I run ads on my site (I belong to the Mediavine advertising network).  I am starting to do some sponsored post work and partnerships (thanks to the Blog Sponsorship Boss course!).  I also make money from being an affiliate, but I am selective about what I am an affiliate for.   

I am not a full-time blogger, I actually have another full-time job! I love my full-time job and I really don’t want to leave it, so I run the blog as a side hustle, which really suits me right now, and is one of the great things about starting and running a blog

Why did you choose to enroll in the Blog Sponsorship Boss?

the blog sponsorship boss course

I came across the Blog Sponsorship Boss course and the information about the course just really appealed to me. It seemed to fit perfectly with where I was in my journey with my blog and considering working with brands. 

I was already doing a tiny bit of work with brands, but really not much, and it was all a little intimidating to be honest.  I was getting so many enquiries that sounded a little shady and that I didn’t have a good feeling about. 

So I think I can say that I was feeling a little despondent about sponsored posts when I first started taking the course, I just didn’t have the confidence that I needed.  I needed validation that I could be choosy about who I worked with. I needed help in creating a media kit, help in negotiating and I needed to really understand the sponsored post process.

What limiting beliefs did you uncover throughout the course?

One huge one was having the confidence in myself to actually do sponsored posts and not settle for anything less than I think I deserve.  I think that was the overwhelming thing I got from this course – which to me is priceless.  

I have put so much time and effort into my blog, and I want it to be good and something my readers love and enjoy. I don’t want to work with shady brands or anyone who I don’t feel even really cares that much about my blog or my readers. 

This course really helped me understand that – that I should never sell myself short and not be afraid to say no. This course gave me so much confidence in that.  I should have started out with sponsorships earlier, I was too hesitant to do that.  Now I feel I am armed with all the information that I need!

Read also: What is Sponsored Content + 8 Tips to Write Great Sponsored Posts

What was your favorite lesson of the program and why?

It is hard to pinpoint one particular lesson, as they were all so educational and full of amazing tips.  

I think the module on Becoming a Master Negotiator was really so helpful. The lessons inside that module include how to spot a bad client, when it’s better to reject a sponsored opportunity, how to firmly say no, how to negotiate rates with clients, and how to get paid every time.  

This was all information that I really needed and I think that everyone considering sponsored posts will find invaluable.

Tell us about creating your media kit.

I was very unsure about creating a media kit, but the Blog Sponsorship Boss course helped me realize how important a media kit is to have when working with brands.  The lesson in the course on creating a media kit was invaluable because then when I created my media kit I knew exactly what it should contain, and what brands are looking for in a media kit. 

It was also so helpful to have the information on where to get stats to use in the media kit – for instance your DA etc.  

I created my media kit using the suggestion of Canva. I just looked for a template for a media kit on Canva and then worked with it to make my own. 

I actually created my media kit in half a day!  It was incredibly easy in the end once I knew what I had to do.

What are you going to do differently about working with brands from here on?

I am going to be selective and absolutely not feel bad about that.  I only want to work with brands that are good honest brands and have something to offer my readers to their advantage.  

I now have the confidence to also approach brands myself about working with them – something I would never have done before taking this course. 

What actions have you taken as a result of what you learned in the course?

I am already saying no to bad offers and enquiries – now I can see them a mile off!  I feel empowered to do that! 

I just worked with a great company on a sponsored post and I knew that they were a great company to work with from taking the course. There were no red flags and they were professional and great to work with.  

I knew how to negotiate, what to look out for, and what to expect from a partnership.

Do you think every blogger can start working with brands?

Yes I do – whatever niche you are in

I think you have to have good content to start with to actually appeal to brands so they want to work with you.  Even a blogger with a small following can work with brands, if they have dedicated followers. 

What’s next for you and Make Calm Lovely?

I am trying to create more and more content. I actually have come to the conclusion that as bloggers we spend so much time trying to do everything for our blogs, and at the end of the day we should just be focusing more on creating the content that our readers want.  

That is where sponsored posts and partnerships come into play. Because through those I can create more and more content for my blog that is what my readers need and want.