You’ve been reading blogs and making bits of gold here and there, but why aren’t you bringing it in consistently? This is the question I’ve been asking myself lately! The following post will serve as an introduction to the gold making strategy I will be laying out in my posts over the next week. I am hopeful that it will help me begin to realize my gold-making dreams, but I’m more hopeful that it will also work for others who may be having the same issues that I’m having.

Last night I was Twittering back and forth with XanderEragon of Xander’s Gold Mine. The brief conversation revolved around my lack of a solid strategy for my gold making. I’ve been blogging about gold making for only a short while, and while I see everyone else pulling in large sums of gold, I still haven’t broken 30k!

A little background info first:

I have two characters at level 85. One of them has both Jewel-crafting and Enchanting maxed to 525. The other character had Herbalism and Alchemy maxed, but I dropped those right after 4.1 hit to pick up Leather-working and Skinning. (Leather-working will max out today).  It was a difficult decision to drop alchemy, but there simply was no money to be made with it on my server. Sure, I could have continued to sell my daily transmutes, but 500g a day from it made it seem like I was really wasting the tradeskill. Potions, elixers, and flasks were all selling below mat cost, so there was no profit coming in from the profession.

My server is really strange! It’s not a heavy raiding server, and there is balance between PvP and PvE. The server is simply slow to adopt changes. For instance, when the 4.1 patch hit, many within the gold blog community were posting about how their sales were hugely profitable. Gems were flying off of the shelves so to speak. On my server… nothing… My cut inferno rubies were expiring, even though they were the lowest priced in the AH. I was about to just give up, and suddenly, just this past week, they started selling. In fact, everything started to sell, and prices were climbing. Now, my problem isn’t getting them to sell. My problem is that I have to watch the AH like a hawk in order to keep ahead of the undercutters. I simply don’t have the time for that, and can’t keep up with any sort of regular posting.

I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends… or not…

I don’t know how many gold bloggers out there actually work solo, but my impression is that most of them are in guilds who do a good deal of raiding, or at least have several active members who can lend a hand with either supplying various mats, or as another outlet for sales. My guild consist of my wife and myself, and that’s it. The friends who originally brought us to this server have long since been lost to the real-world, and our other friends are already well-situated on other servers. We have tried not to let this get in our way of enjoying both the game, and our fun playing with the AH market economy. Still, it’s kind of lonely, and makes it a b!tch to grab PUGs that are of any quality.

She and I both started really looking at the AH market at the same time, but she went the route of Blacksmith and Mining, which has proved to be a much more profitable route than mine. She’s pushing 150k just from constant sales of Bloodied gear, and has a pretty solid grip on her market. There are fewer blacksmiths then there are Jewelcrafters on the server, so while there is competition, it’s a bit less it seems than with the gem market. This is also primarily the reason I switched to leather-working. There is demand there, and not a lot of crafters within the profession.

WTF is wrong with me?!

With the increase to demand in the gem market, I should be rolling in gold, but I’m not. I’ve plopped a ton of gems into the market, but there really are only so many hours of the day that I can focus on the game. I work 9-5, I’m in school full time, and I also do side-work managing conferences and events. I could just give up and deal with the fact that I don’t have enough time to make money in game, but something about that just doesn’t seem right to me. I should be able to bring in a large sum of gold, even with my limited playtime. What’s wrong with me?

No strategy. No method. No well thought out plan of action.

Look at it like this… if you’re out of shape and want to get your body looking hot and sexy, you can start running around the block everyday, or head to the local gym. If you keep up with it, you’ll start to look a bit better, and feel better about yourself. You’re most likely not going to find that sexy body you want though. Why? Because 90% of us don’t understand what our bodies really need in order to reach their peak performance levels.

Enter the Personal Trainer. Contrary to popular stereotype, these aren’t just block-head beach-body types. Personal Trainers have been trained in anatomy and physiology. They understand how different body types react to different forms of exercise. They are experts when it comes to exercise and the human body. A good trainer initially sits down and talks with you to learn about your habits, your schedule, and your goals. Then they will help you create a strategy that will allow you to really achieve the goal you are after. It will take time, but the end result will be what you are looking for. On your own, you can do well, but these trainers offer you their expertise in order to help build a solid plan to help achieve your ultimate goal.

This is the idea behind the Gold Coaching programs that have been offered by some of the more elite in the Gold Making blog community. Don’t knock it, and please don’t think that it’s just a way for these people to scam some real-life money from you. Just like a fitness trainer, they have knowledge that can be put to very good use in developing a plan. It does cost money, but they can really help you if you are willing to listen AND follow their advice.

So then, why haven’t I turned to a gold coach? That’s simple… I have two major faults:  I’m a very intelligent person and I’m stubborn as hell. I feel that I should be able to do this on my own!

Honestly, this is also a big personal challenge for me. I have pretty serious ADHD, which is something that I’ve only come to realize in the past couple of years. I can organize every detail of a massive event for thousands of people, but I can’t organize a damn thing in my own life. So, I’ve decided to challenge myself by sitting my a$$ down and creating a plan to achieve my gold making goals.

The Master Plan

The following is a general outline of my strategy. Over the next week, I will post about each of these steps in detail, and explain how the process works for me. Hopefully this will also help some of you who may be running into similar issues of not having a good strategy in place.

Developing a plan: Steps to getting my gold-making body into shape!

Step 1: Know your markets and figure out what you can make

I have a general idea of my markets, but I need to sharpen that knowledge. The Undermine Journal is one of the best tools we have right now to see who our main competitors are, and to figure out what items are really selling consistently at what prices. I know what I can craft, so I need to look at which of those items are really worth investing the time and materials into. This focus needs to apply not only to Cata items. We need to look back at what Wrath items can also be made, along with any earlier items that would be good for “twinks.” I’m not going to worry about figuring out how many to make and how much to keep in stock until later. Right now, I need to decide on a basic list of what I intend to craft and sell.

Step 2: What else could I make if I just purchased the recipes?

Again, TUJ is a good resource to see what else may be selling within my profession that I haven’t tried to sell yet. Am I missing a recipe that could be bringing me in some serious gold? This is a missed opportunity for me to make money, and I need to see how difficult it could be for me to add this missing item to my list of sales.

Step 3: Can I gather anything that will sell AND be worth the time invested?

Can I bring in herbs, ore, or leather that will sell for high enough to be worth the time spent gathering it? Sometimes I just want to go out and farm a bit, if only to get myself away from the AH. I think that this is where a lot of people tend to loose gold. Gathering will often lead to being distracted by some rare mob that pops, or a quest that you didn’t realize you had missed. An hour of gathering can lead to three hours of time wasted by running off on tangents for very little profit. This will come down to setting myself a limit.

Flux over at Power Word: Gold made this post the other day about using the one-hour timer for the Potion of Treasure Finding as his timer for farming. I think that this is a great strategy, and the extra gold/mats that the Tiny Treasure Chests can bring in makes it a bit more worth the effort. The idea is that farming can be good for bringing in gold, but only if it is worth the time invested, AND if the time is invested as originally intended. If I feel that there is a good profit to be made, I’ll add farmed items to my list of things to sell.

Step 4: Shuffling, DEing and flipping mats

How are enchanting mats selling? Have prices gone up on any of them? If I can note several mats that are selling well, I can identify what I would need to craft and DE to get those mats. I’ll have to figure out the profit margin for crafting these items to DE in order to make sure that it’s worth the time and cost of materials. The obsidian shuffle is still a very viable source of high-level enchanting mats, and prices (on my server at least) have really gone up for Greater Celestial Essence. Ore prices have gone up too, so that will need to be taken into account. If it looks like I can make a profit, I’ll add them to the list.

Essences and shards can be converted between Lesser and Greater in order to make profit. This often fluctuates on a daily basis, but is worth checking each day to see if it’s profitable to buy lesser essences, convert them to greater essences, and post them for profit. (or vice versa by converting greater to lesser)

Step 5: Pets, vendor items, farming drops

This is one place where we have to really insure that the items will be profitable to sell, as time will be invested in farming them. Once I have a solid plan in place for what I am crafting and posting, then I will have a better idea of how much time I can spend on these more specialized items. I expect them to come into play with my list eventually, but they are of lower focus in the immediate time frame.

Step 6: Bringing it all together

With a list of what I want to be making and selling, and with how much I expect to be profiting per sale, I can decide on what is possible for me to make initially with my current resources. I may not have enough gold or mats to craft everything on my list, so I need to identify those items that will sell with a consistency and profit margin that will allow me to build my resources. I can choose the initial items to start posting, figure out how much stock I should keep on-hand and how often I should need to log in to keep below my competition and keep the AH stocked.

Of importance to note here is the use of addons. Trade Skill Master is still a bit baffling to me. Setting up auction groups has been quite a pain, as I really have to adjust for what scrolls sell for what amount of gold, and setting up groups and thresholds has felt overwhelming. This is mainly because I haven’t been focused on specifically what i will craft and sell. With a set list of items, it will be much easier to establish groups, and in turn, will be much easier to post and manage my auctions.

Additionally, I will have to look at how I will utilize my alts for posting and stockpiling my materials. Who will sell what, and how will I plan to move inventory between characters for sales. Will i need to create an additional guild so that I have bank space for everything as well? One alt guild may be dedicated to crafted items like armor, weapons, and jewelry, while another alt-guild may be used only for raw mats like herbs, ore, or enchanting mats.

Step 7: Set real expectations

I’m not going to bring in 100k gold in the first week, and it would be silly to expect to do so. I need to make my expectations realistic. If I set a goal of 5000g in the first week, I may surprise myself and pull in 10000g. Great, but that could be a fluke. If the next week of doing the exact same process produces the same result, then I can start to feel like my plan is working as intended. I know that in jewelcrafting alone, I’ve been able to bring in at least 3000g a day, and this is without a solid plan in place. 5000g a week is realistic to begin with. Once everything is running smoothly, I can re-evaluate my expectations and will have a better idea of what changes can be made to increase profits and goals moving forward.


Okay… so I’m bringing in gold!  Now I can buy that chopper or Vial of the Sands!  NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Honestly, it’s not even the big expenses that I will need to worry about. Smaller expenses like higher level materials and epics for my characters will really bite into my profits. Unless it’s an imperative purchase, I need to hold off on it. It’s like buying a 52″ flat-panel HD TV. I may have just pulled in enough money to where I can afford it, but if I don’t but it now and just wait, I’ll have the cash there to pay for that unexpected car repair. I can get by for now with my old 32″ 2001 TV that still works great. Buying things has been my worst issue up to this point. I’ve pulled in over 200k in gold, but have never broken 30k on-hand because I buy things that I really don’t need. If I’m going to be serious about this project, then I need to curb that spending.

Step 9: Deal, cope, adjust.

I can’t expect that everything will suddenly fall into place and just work well. Items will not sell as expected, competition will get heated, and I’ll find myself not being able to log in at the times I had planned. Murphy’s Law dictates that this will happen. I’ll need to just deal with it, cope with the ramifications in the short-term, and adjust my strategy to make the most of and improve the situation.

Step 10: Tweak the plan

Some items won’t sell as expected. Other items will sell better than expected. I’ll need to adjust my plan to accommodate these factors and maximize my gold intake. With my posting process solidified, I should see more time available to spend on investigating the addition of pets and rare drops to my list of inventory.

Step 11: Reap the rewards

At this point, it should all be working, and gold should be coming in. It will be easy to adjust sales to meet changes in demand with new patches, and I can add or remove items from my sales list without a great deal of grief. Now I just need to stick with it and watch my bank fill up with gold!

There you have it… Zath’s 11-Step program for creating a gold-making strategy. I’ll go into each of these steps as I put them into play over the next week. I am confident that I can do this and make it work for me. Hopefully, it will help some of you to do the same. Please let me know what you think of this outline of steps, and if you put it to use for yourself, I really want to hear about your results!

4 Comments to “Why aren’t you bringing in piles of gold? You don’t have a plan, do you?”

  • Your post makes me want to tell you what I would do. I am closing in on 2million gold and have helped many people. i dont blog but just help those i know in rl and on my server. Your welcome to more input from me. I will give you a few points from my perspective.

    Play the game. As you play you will see what sells and what costs you gold. Making AH your priority just leads to being in a hurry to make gold.

    Sadly, I really would of kept alchemy. For someone with 30k gold a steady easy stream of gold is the best thing to have. Additionally it works very well with Jewelcrafting as you can transmute gems especially shadowspirits. Now, I am not saying to go get it. Stick with what you have now and see how it goes.

    I play on low pop server so I find the key to making gold is knowing when to post and when to buy. Easy gold is made just by understanding the markets and buying your items at the lowest cost they will sell for during the week. On my server elementium ore sells for 25-50gold. I buy what I can when it is under 30gold. This tends to be on the weekend when lots are farming. Learning when to buy and how much is a fundamental concept that is not explained by many on the blogs even though it is the easiest source for people to make easy gold. Learn your market. Watch the ebs and flows. Watch what happens on raid night. Watch the weekends. Learn the supply of mats for the markets you are in. Best thing you can do.

    Use undermine journal to understand what sells. Focus on higher margin items that sell many times during the week. Ie i only have the jc cuts that will sell 10 or more in a week. If they sell less than that I dont bother. You dont have an alchemist so I wouldnt bother with the meta market. If you notice cuts dont sell then it may be the raw gems that are selling. Items like the obsidium shuffle was a low profit experience on my server. I switched it to the elemenium shuffle just so I could get lots of the rare gems to sell. I still got lots of the common gems to use but my jc cuts were about selling the cut gems of orange/red/purple. Others were dumped cheaply ie 10-15gold each.
    Leatherworking for gold will really depend on your server. Leather itself is an expensive item that often is low on supply. On my server hard to rely on the AH for a source of supply. PVP items sell slowly on my low pop server. I have traditionally relied on leg enchants for easy gold in this market but so far it is not fast gold. You can make gold with it but it depends on your competition and the demand. Just watch when you post.

    Good Luck

  • First off thanks for the mention. Second this post hit really close to home for me. We’re kindred spirits as far as gold-making goes.

    My few bits of advice would be to get at least 2 mote characters up to 75 to use as crafting alts. Having all (or the majority) of professions yourself makes a big difference.

    My second piece of advice is make one of them on the opposite faction. Being able to pull mats/items from which ever side us cheaper has been a revelation to me. You mentioned you wife plays as well and should Jake getting items back and forth relatively painless.

    Most of all: Chase the fun! Remember this is a fame and it should be played for enjoyment. If your jot enjoying yourself or find yourself frustrated go off and try something different for a spell ( like leveling an alt).

    Cheers and I look forward to reading more.

  • Please excuse the iPhone auto-correction fails. 😉

  • what an exhaustiv post !
    I’m sure that your readers have find some reasons to not constituate piles of gold…
    Strategy is the point to work

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