It's by all means best to work for the experience and connections you'll make along the way. However, every living organism has a belly that needs to be feed to sustain life for any extended period of time. In your youth the thought is that you have more energy and hustle than you know what to do with, so this is the time to work for experiences and connections. The goal is that as you become seasoned (veteran) -if you will you should have gained enough wisdom, information, connections and resources to warrant others wanting and NEEDING to pay you for your expertise.
As your experience increases you'll begin to have a knowledge on when others should begin offering and/or you should begin requesting money. It may go something like this. Hey, JaWar, we would like for you to speak on Dec 20, 2008 at our conference. I'd reply that's great, but with rising fuel and food cost I want be able to make this trip, because I've exhausted all of my financial (marketing) resources for the year. No, problem JaWar we will pay for your plane ticket, hotel and ground accommodations. Additionally, we will give you a food stipend of $75/day and pay you your normal speaking fee. We'll also give you a table to sign and sell your books during the conference. JaWar, would you be needing anything else?
The example above is one demonstration of how by me investing my own time, energy and financial resources to consult and speak at conferences over the years has turned into paid motivational speaking situations. Along the way I have had this job here and this job there, some paying a little and some paying a considerable amount.
Work whenever possible should not be a job (just over broke), but a career move that puts and/or keeps you on the path. Assuming that you admire Jay-Z as a business man would you mind working for him for free? -Probably not. You'd probably event invest your own money to move to New York to ensure you were able to work for him to learn what he would have to share. In fact, it's safe to say you'd find a part time job, even if it meant working in a factory or Burger King (no disrespect mind you) to ensure you were able to work for Jigga Man to learn what he could share in the way of experience and connections.