What makes a 'good' gold maker?
Turning a profit and learning from your mistakes. As long as you're always selling for a profit you're good to go is what I always say, and almost always read elsewhere on the web. Well, I actually believe that it's kind of a gray area. You can sell for a profit, but the important question to ask is: are you selling your goods for the most profit you can get? If set your prices too high and you will likely sit there and watch your auctions expire, set them too low and you end up selling yourself short. Being able to find that golden medium where your set price range still generates plenty of sales but also doesn't cost you potential profit, that's an excellent quality of a good gold maker.
Your mistakes are important opportunities to learn more about your markets, more importantly it's better to learn from other's mistakes first. If you make mistakes, it doesn't make you a bad gold maker, unless you continue to make the same mistakes. If you can learn from your gold making mistakes, take something from them and use that knowledge to help you refine your processes, you're a good gold maker.
Time management is key. If you are as efficient as possible with your time in gold making, whether it's 20 minutes a day or 2 hours a day, you're a good gold maker. What defines that efficiency? First, you need to be able to enjoy your gameplay, otherwise you get burnt out and may take a break or not be as focused on what you're doing. Not being focused or not playing at all, forces you to miss opportunities to make gold or corner new markets. If the only way you enjoy making gold is farming herbs, ore, or skinning creatures, by all means do that as much as you wish but make yourself efficient at it. If we look at the farming example, you could farm all day long and flood the auction house. Flooding the auction house with a specific commodity will drop the prices, hurting your potential profit. If you search for a buyer to buy your bulk at a slight discount from AH prices, you're being more efficient. Selling this way doesn't cost you posting fees or an AH cut of your returns on your investment. It takes a little time up front to find someone, preferrably multiple people, to buy your farmed goods in bulk on a regular basis, but that little bit of work pays off. The point is, no matter what you do to make gold, as long as you're being as efficient as possible, you're a good gold maker.
Not all successful gold makers have reached gold cap, and not all will. The amount of gold that you have on your account doesn't prove a thing when it comes to being a successful gold maker. You'll find successful gold makers who spend all they can on battle pets, mounts, gifts for friends, transmog and other miscellaneous luxuries that they wish to indulge in.
Follow along with my example: Guy A and Girl A both avidly play the auction house and each have their own starting capital of 10k gold leftover from leveling together. Guy A spends 20 minutes a day making gold for 7 days and turns an 80k profit for that week. At the end of day 7, Guy A has 90k liquid gold and does the /flex emote, he's going for gold cap. Grats guy!! Girl A spends the same exact amount of time making gold and also turns an 80k profit! You go girl!! Girl A then proceeds to buy her best friend a Vial of the Sands for her birthday, setting her back 40k. At the end of day 7, Girl A now has 50k liquid gold.
Assuming that both people were equally efficient at managing their time and sales techniques, then according to this example, Guy A is just as good as Girl A! Just because Guy A has more gold at the end of the week, doesn't mean he's a better gold maker. His desire to reach gold cap is his reason for making gold, where Girl A's reason for making gold is to buy X thing for Y person because she likes to be generous. Even if Guy A were to reinvest 40k into new markets to increase his potential market share of the AH, he'd still be just as good as Girl A. Both people would be spending their gold in a way that enables them to achieve their goals. Sure, if Girl A invested that 40k in good deals on materials or items to flip, she'd stand a better chance to make more gold and eventually have more gold to spend on gifts.
A non-exclusive list of important qualities common to a successful gold maker -
- Innovation - Always looking for new and better ways to make your gold
- Efficient time management - self explanatory
- Learning from mistakes - use the knowledge to make improvements
- Creativity - Ability to find ways to beat your competition, or ways to work together to improve your sales
- Maximum return on investment - sell for as much as you can get
- Achieving your goals - make the amount of gold that you want, buying what you want
- Creating customer opportunity - covering more markets
I consider myself a 'decent' gold maker in the World of Warcraft. I can be a good one when I want to, but I don't manage my time efficiently. Even though I've hit gold cap and have had loads of fun making gold, I still have room for improvement. However, I don't think I'll ever improve to the point of turning my gold making hobby into a job. Fun and profit, the two things I'll always keep in balance when it comes to this game.