People are important. To a business, their skills are important. Skills + People = Talent. Talent should not be undervalued or underappreciated.
I understand that most businesses and projects must start small to afford necessary tools and have room to grow. Money runs out, and you need to work within your budget to avoid the crash and burn.
If you ask for a favor, make sure to repay the favor with a service or a raise. Raises demonstrate that the sacrifices made are appreciated. Appreciation is key. If you do not demonstrate appreciation in some way, your talent will burn out or resent you. Your “savings” from not paying them more will end up costing you more long term. You will run out of favors eventually and you will fail.
If you cannot handle giving people money, do not be an employer for a living.