Starting out is the most daunting part of playing the auction house. It is also extremely easy and you do not need any specific amount of capital to play the AH profitably. You don’t have to setup TSM, but you absolutely should. I consider TSM to be a staple of any serious gold-making and anyone who tells you otherwise is wasting their time.
The first thing you need to do is to identify potential markets where low investments can yield profits. Goldmaking schemes that do not fit the bill include ones that involve some element of RNG and thus require you to churn a ton of material to ensure a profit (e.g. prospecting) crafting expensive mounts or reselling transmog is also stupid as they sell slowly and you want to generate as much turnover in your inventory as possible as fast as possible. The prime candidate for high turnover is current expansion crafting materials. These are in high demand and prices generally fluctuate quite a bit over the week and day.
To find the right price points just sit in tradechat for 15 minutes and see what the people who are bulk-buying are offering in prices. All servers have several goblins buying materials in bulk. Pick three or four goods you want to focus on. As a general rule trade goods will sell for quite a bit more than goblins are willing to pay for them. So if people are advertising buying felslate at 40g per in /2 you can assume that the price regularily dips below 40 on the AH, and that you can reliably sell felslate at above 40g per. Once you have the price floor for reselling just start buying up mats below the goblin threshold.
As you dont want to camp the AH just do this whenever you arent doing anything youd rather be doing in game. I always prioritise fun, which is why i have a second account so i can play my main and sell stuff on my other monitor at the same time.
Most Importantly check these mats during the normal working hours on the mobile AH. Mat prices tend to fall during the day, when people are at work and school. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS, Check the AH while taking a dump or a breather or whatever.
I tested this method on an off server where i recently transfered a character with 2,400 gold. I saw that there was someone in trade advertising buying shal’dorei silk at 6g per. The TSM tooltip showed me a current price of 5g per so i raced to the AH. Bought out 227 silk at 5,02g average. This was about 1140 gold, which was roughly half my capital. I sent them COD instantly and within a couple of hours i got 1380 gold back. 240g profit in about 3 minutes of scrolling with my TSM macro. This isnt how you make big bucks. But this is how you start out. And about 15% ROI is pretty decent.
The next day i found a stack of 136 leystone ore at 9,55g per. I knew from /2 that the going rate for goblins was 12g so this was a scoop. I bought it out and relisted it at 14,5g per. At the time there was a lot of cheaper auctions on the AH, but they were mostly in singles and people dont want to click to death, so i overcut. This also sold within hours giving me a profit of 573g.
I repeated this for Stonehide Leather and Yseralline seed and I’m now at 9000 gold.
This required very minimal effort and i more than tripled my money by checking the AH every couple of hours when playing and when at work in the Armory app. I did not use my second account at all here to prove that it is doable. Here’s my total resale list from TSM: