It's stressful to feel like you've gotta stop what you're doing and respond - and respond quickly and cheerfully at that, while expecting nothing in return! - but that really is what some people expect. It's astonishing, it's rude, it's absolutely wild and you have my sympathy. But those Bad Actors shouldn't dictate your policies; and those need to sustain you through the long haul.
"When you ask to pick somebody’s brain, you are essentially asking (often a stranger) if you can extract value without adding any value. [W]hen you ask to pick somebody’s brain, you are asking them to give away for free what they use to earn a living."
Let me begin with a foundational point: please think of your generosity not as “free” – but as as providing your work at low- and no-cost. The lexicon of “free” and “freebies” are common, but unfortunately and as I touched on last week, “free” implies there’s little value: that your expertise, products, or skillset are kind of take-it-or-leave it, really.
People jump at "Free" reflexively. People also, astonishingly, can move very swiftly from "Free" to - "You owe me!"
Take care of yourself. Build your sustainable business. Once you can see that future coming true in your cash forecast (please create a cash forecast!), then yes do explore ways to give your amazing products, services, and expertise forward via low cost and no cost opportunities. Because I do think at the point you are taking care of yourself, and your business will sustain - then yes. Yes I do think you own something to the marginalized, oppressed, to those who are struggling. But you owe that on your terms with your gifts, in a way that makes best sense to you.