There are two kinds of people: those who create value first and those who charge first. And over the short length of my working experience, it is those who create value first who make the most positive impact and progress.
It takes considerable effort and some time to become proficient at anything, to learn anything well enough to create value with it. And every time you are obsessed with not being exploited or charging first before adding value anywhere, you miss out of many opportunities to become an expert.
I like saying life is like a business, to grow you have to open yourself up to opportunities, mistakes and initial loss. When a new company starts, they sink in a lot of efforts, time and money to create value and are usually eager to offer it free or very cheap at first. They know that the increased market learning and engagement they are getting will pay immensely off in the end. They create value first.
No business charges first, in the beginning, and even all throughout its lifespan. A product based business manufactures the product (value) first and offers free trials or credit-buy initially to push the product out. A trading business sells more on credit in the beginning. A services business offers the service before pay at the beginning, before tightening the credit terms latter on. It is only a business that is not serious about growth that will charge first right from the day 1.
So how do you as a person create value first?
Be more willing to volunteer your skills. Nowadays, the only volunteerism people are willing to do is to mentor someone else. They don't volunteer their hard skills.
Be less obsessed with the monetary value of your contribution. I have even seen volunteers at church and NGOs not put in their best because they are focused on the money value of their contribution that doesn't hit their account.
Be more tolerant of being exploited. I have noticed that the main reason a lot of people charge first is they don't want to be exploited. They spend more time making it difficult for people to engage them for any work than they do getting better in their field. They will come up with legal documents first before adverts of their services. They will rather put up terms of engagement online than put up free content of value to prospective clients. They are obsessed with not losing the a cent than fishing for the dollars.
I have made progress in my life and business because I try hard to create value first. The Excel training I now charge N50,000/self_sponsored_individual and N100,000/corporate_sponsored_partcicipant started as a free training I did for people using my own resources, time and even going to meet them at their own place. The online video course I now have people pay for started as a free training I even marketed with my sweat without any idea of how to monetise it. The book I now make monthly passive income from was a book I wrote for someone who I knew was exploiting me. Everything generating me income and awards now were things I started without pay and using my own money and resources.