Pardon the Cliche, but in my case this is literally true. When I first hit level 85 on my first account, a few weeks after starting WoW back in January of '11, I struggled to pay for anything. I saved up for days to buy my artisan flying, and I was so happy to get that phat lewt known as the Darkmoon Card: Hurricane, and Crossfire Carbine. Each purchase broke my bank. But I always seemed to get more money, and I thought I was doing well when I had 10k after a few weeks of playing after each purchase. Hoo boy.
Of course, the first thing I tried was farming. I was a miner, and so I would farm elementium ore and pyrite in Twilight Highlands and Uldum. This ore would either be smelted and thrown on the AH, or prospected, often only a few stacks at a time, by a friend, and I would work with the gems I had getting 1-2 meta gem transmutes from a friend at a time, and so on. Needless to say, because farming wasn't very profitable, and I didn't have the patience or time to spent countless hours mining, I didn't make much.
Next I did what I thought was rather smart, and leveled a alchemist/herbalist hunter, leveling alchemy through the herbs I gathered. I then provided a friend's guild with the various flasks they needed for their raid team, they liked to keep 40 of each in the Gbank. So I'd farm herbs, make flasks (being the proper specialization) and cash on delivery them over, with a discount off AH price. This was slightly more profitable, and I enjoyed farming herbs a bit more then mining, whether using elixar of water walking to farm Azshara veil in Tol Barad, whiptail in Uldum, or heartblossom in Deepholm.
Still, the eyes of man are never satisfied. I started perusing gold blogs, and listening to a few podcasts. This only whetted my appetite. The money to really be made was in the Auction house, not farming. As well, it was in having a number of items up, and not depending on only one item to provide all my income. So I got some help. Wes, of Cappedbycata.com was an amazing help. I knew what items did, and how much they were worth, but I had no clue what I should be making, crafting, stockpiling, buying, and selling. He helped me out, especially by showing me theunderminejournal.com. I started simple, shuffling heavenly shards by making stormforgerd shoulders and having a friend disenchant them, and sometimes making enchant weapons-hurricane. I also sold my first crafted 359 piece on the AH. Before, I was lucky to get 200g an orb if I sold my orbs in trade. Now, I was making 4k profit per item! Great success! Belt buckles too, simply amazing. If you don't have a blacksmith, I'd advise checking your server. For me, I sell roughly 50 a week, for around 200g profit. They cost around 110g to craft, and I sell these from 300-400g/ea. A nice thing too is that I can reset this market on the weekends, or a friend does, buying out everyone when they are low (sub 225g) and reposting back at 400g. These are one of my main pipelines, a steady profit stream.
Having learned the basics, nothing could stop me! I looked at niche markets, such as deepstone oil (200% profit margin, and almost no competition.) Mysterious Fortune Cards (check out Cold's guide if interested, link on the side) and lavascale catfish. As a raider, I knew what would be in demand after 4.2 hit, and so I bought a number of stacks for 80-100g each, later selling for 325g per stack. PvP sets are another great market I'm glad I got into, each piece costing roughly 150g and selling for between 250-600 gold, depending on if anyone's been leveling blacksmithing lately.
So, from farmer, to wana-be, to actually knowing what I'm doing was a journey that I'm glad I took. Learning how to make gold was not hard at all, I just had to learn what to look for. If you are in the same boat I was, look around! There are numerous podcasts, twitter accounts, blogs, and people willing to help. Gold making isn't hard, its all about knowing what to look for.
I wrote this as a bit of a chronicle of my journey, something to look back to, and as a great big thank you to those who helped me get started. I just broke 300k after a month of knowing what I am doing, and I have no plans to stop. Remember, gold making is a different type of progression compared to raiding, but it can be just as fun, and fulfilling.
Wes, thanks so much. Don't know what else to say, but you showed me how to get started, and that helped an amazing amount. Cold, your tweets help, and your blog is always fun to read. The Gold Queen, I always enjoy chatting on twitter, reading your blog, as well as your guides.
Here is to my further progression, not only into heroic mode raiding in T12, but also to knowledge of my market, my gold making, and fun! Cheers Mates!