Gold making advice on the internet is usually extremely generic. It does not take into account the context of where someone is on their gold making journey. Today I will present a hierarchy of gold makers based on the liquid gold you have, as well as some specific advice on what markets you should be in and what tactics you should employ.
I classify this based on how much liquid gold you have. Liquid gold is usually not a static amount. If you are aggressive it will be heavily fluctuating. In general I would compare the brackets to how low your gold amount goes after re-stocking your core markets.
If you want to figure out how to enter a specific market, head over to my total legion gold guide to get the high level overview and links to specific guides.
0-100k liquid: Newbie
This is where your gold making journey starts. We have all been here. With limited capital the focus should be on fast moving markets. You do not want all your gold tied up in some transmog item that can take weeks to sell. Stick to markets like Legion Material flipping, cooking and enchanting, or whichever profession you have on your main if you have rank 3s (check the total legion gold guide for pointers). Jewelcrafting and Alchemy could be considered, but generally require more capital to get going. Don’t craft too much at the time, keep your inventory low. Focus on reinvesting your gold as quickly as possible. You should aim to have less than 10k gold on you, as long as you can find good deals.
100k-250k liquid: Momentum
At this point you will likely feel comfortable in your main markets. You have learned the joys of watching your TSM sales and you want to get after it. At this point you should start adding new crafting professions on your alts. At this point I would start dabbling in flipping legion BoEs. Make sure you limit your initial investments to gold you feel comfortable making back in a week. You should start adding some slower moving old world crafts, but your main focus should be on Legion materials and crafts.
The main focus here should be to increase your auction house value.
Add new markets continuously, both in terms of professions and what you are crafting.
I would not stock too much in terms of finished items, but you can comfortably start buying larger batches of materials, especially if prices are far below market value.
For a practical overview you can also read up on my zero to one million challenge series, as I focused on the tactics in this bracket (and the next one, as I was very risk seeking).
250k-1 million: Close to making it
This is where things really start getting interesting. At this point you should have several good self-sustaining markets. You should go more aggressively in your main markets and start looking for material suppliers in trade chat. You want to increase your inventory so you can do large scale crafting sessions, this is way more time-efficient than crafting 5 items at the time.
You will likely feel comfortable buying larger amounts in your main markets. Pull the trigger if you see good deals. You might make mistakes, but you will learn from them.
You should also start to focus on building stock in high volume flipping markets. In Legion 101 BoEs has been king. In Warlords of Draenor it was Medallion of the Legion. Spirits of Harmony are also a great potential flipping market, especially if you have a miner.
1 million-5 million: Normal Goblin
At this point you will likely feel that you have made it as a gold maker. 1 million is a huge milestone. You will have a lock on most of your crafting markets and they should be on auto-pilot. You want to go aggressive in flipping markets, slow moving items start become a great value proposition here as your capital is less limited. You should be looking for BoE deals consistently.
If you know some of your crafting markets incredibly well and like risk you can try your hand at some resets, but I would generally wait with them until you hit the next level. You should also be advertising for suppliers for all your main crafting markets to ensure that you can undercut profitably. When capital is not much of a limit it can be a great strategy to focus on volume at lower prices than your competition can afford.
At this point I would also look into other expensive items that can be flipped, high end transmog and battle pets are two interesting opportunities.
5 million – Gold Cap: Established Goblin
At this point you will be rolling in it. On a medium to low pop realm you should be in the top 10 sellers on The Undermine Journal consistently (if you’re not then its time to diversify even more). At this point you should go into higher end item flipping. TCG mounts, extremely rare transmog and unobtainables are all good opportunities.
You can also try out market resets and other forms of “Auction House PVP”, such as sniper baiting. Sniper baiting is the idea of posting some rare item for a very high price for a while until the market value is inflated, then you post it at like 10-15k and hope someone buys it from a sniper search.
At this point you will also likely find that some markets are just no longer worth your time. Some examples of time intensive markets that might not be worth it any more include prospecting with gem weaving, the enchanting shuffles and glyphs. I generally want to outsource as many of the time intensive parts of the crafting chain as I can and rely on my capital to provide my competitive advantage. I’d rather let some guy get a 50% profit from shuffling materials from me if it means I can spend one third of the time restocking (or even less when it comes to stocking arkhana and Leylight for enchants).
Beyond gold cap: Market makers and cross realm kings
At this point you are a true goblin.
You should now start taking aim at creating an empire. Add new realms to your portfolio or try to get a stranglehold on some of the markets on your main realm. Both approaches can be really fun. If you are competitive you should go all in on your main realm. Try to control markets and play with your competition. If on the other hand you are all about getting as rich as possible I suggest building a cross realm empire.
There are several fun gold making tactics you can use across realms. This includes cross realm pet arbitraging (arbitrage means to take advantage of price differences to make a risk free return. Simply put I buy some pet for 500 gold on realm X and the market value on realm Y is 200 gold, netting me easy profits), cross realm arbitrage of extremely rare items (TCG mounts, unobtainables etc. The goal is to move items from a server where it is cheap to one where you can find a collector willing to pay a premium). You can also use server transfers to move materials and obliterum, I would not do a lot of this however as Blizzard has reportedly banned people for this.
You can also work on large scale multi-realm flipping operations. This is what I am working on and I recently reached 1 million gold on my fifth realm. For a look into some of the best in the game I suggest checking out the twitter accounts of Grahran and Aada. They are among the top goblins I know about in EU, and they pull in a lot of gold, mostly from multi-realm BoE flipping.
Multiboxers will likely be in this category as well as it is ludicrously profitable. Just take a look at some of Skittlezz mailboxes.