There is a tradition, held by many modern practitioners of the Art, that magical ability should not be used for personal profit. Others claim that there is nothing wrong with this, provided that the profit is not excessive. My take on it is as follows:
I'm not entirely sure where the idea of "free" instruction in the art and practice of magic came from, or the moral attitude that it's somehow "wrong" to accept money for the use of the Art, but it simply doesn't make sense to me in the light of history. Why? Every transaction—whether in business, school, love or life—involves an even exchange of energy. If payment doesn't come in one form, it will come in another. Money is simply another form of energy.
In olden times, money as we know it—gold, silver, paper—was not used by most people; they bartered for what they needed. The local village wisewoman or cunning man was not paid in dollars and cents, but in chickens, cattle, or other goods or services.
It must be noted that we no longer live in a culture that runs on barter. My landlord, the utility companies, the grocery store and others whom I deal with all want cash (or plastic) these days. Ergo, those are the primary forms of payment that I must accept. That said, I personally like and approve of using barter and will gladly do so when necessary and/or possible.
This is my vocation: This is the manner in which I make my living and support my family. I put a lot of time, effort and skill into creating the content of this site and the products and services which I offer. Thus, I feel that I deserve to be compensated fairly for it, as any other professional would. What is fair compensation, you ask? It takes into account my labor, materials and administrative costs (like the fees for this website), as well as my many years of study and experience.
I refuse to feel ashamed of charging my clients for my use of the Art. I practice the Art to help those in need; am I not also in need? Is not my family deserving of having their needs fulfilled, as well as my clients? I'm sure you see my point.
Nor am I greedy. I'm not looking to get rich from this (although if the Powers That Be ever decide to help me win a lottery jackpot, I wouldn't turn my nose up at it). We only need "just enough, plus some extra" for my family and I to live a modest, happy life.
Just to hammer home the point that I'm not into ripping people off, I charge "sliding scale" fees for my services, meaning that I charge based on ability (or inability) to pay. I can't get much fairer than that, now, can I?
Okay, so we don't barter with chickens or cows anymore in this country, with its modern culture (my family doesn't eat them anyhow; being vegetarian, they'd be wasted on us), so just give me what they're worth in modern currency and I'll call it a deal.