KitKat “Practice for free” means (to me anyway) not soliciting to the public, or pushing or marketing in anyway, until you have the basics down and have some consistency to your work. Hiring models to help you, or even just employing your friends and family or aquaintances. Shooting for yourself and for your learning process (or port building or personal projects), not shooting for free in a professional capacity for others. Your advice is sound. Once that shingle is put out there, shooting for free really shouldn’t happen anymore unless it’s for some charitable type situation that you are interested in giving your time and expertise to.
In this case the shingle was hung well before it should have been. A hiatus from being in business would be the best thing for this tog to do for themselves if they want any sort of chance at making it in this genre as a pro