This post is about the work entrepreneurs do for free.
It's easy to hoard your knowledge, shield your contacts, or be resistant to helping others unless you're compensated in some way. It's human nature to want to know "what's in it for me?"
But the truth is, we live in a world of abundance, not scarcity. If everybody came to the table asking, "wha-jya get me?" then no one would get anything. If, however, everyone came to give, all would receive.
Sharing and helping others will benefit you by demonstrating your worth and goodwill. The beneficiaries of your advice and support will want to return the favor. At worst, you'll be known as a facilitator (nothing wrong with that). At best, you'll have a large network of people that are ready and willing to help you.
I look at this unpaid work as the price of entry.
Another instance where we end up working for free is when we take risks, such as starting a company - and end up having to shut it down for any number of reasons. It's easy to be angry, disappointed, and embarrassed by this failure. But to move forward, we need to learn from our mistakes and the forces beyond our control.
I look at this unpaid work as the cost of an education.