I've noticed a trend of late, which happens to be a cyclical one for readers of this blog. You start off flipping. Usually from the Damn Gold Guide or 5 Part Flipping Guide. Some redditors come from the 50 Items to Flip guide as well. Last but not least, a good bit of sheep flow in from google searching for "Guild Wars 2 Trading Post." I try my best to funnel them to the flipping guides in order to get everyone on the same starting point. That's the job of a good blogger, but it doesn't end there.
Just because someone knows how to read a guide on flipping, calculate fees, and get a few sales, does not mean that they are ready for constant trading on the Trading Post.
Stage 2 Sheep
The second part of progressing as a reader is changing the way you perceive the auction house, but more importantly, the instructions I give to you. When I say that garlic is a good example of what to flip, like in the "damn gold guide" article, it does not mean that everyone who reads the post should go try to flip it that second. However, that's exactly what has happened, and now garlic is doomed to never be profitable again.
Instead of looking at the exact item I suggest, you're better off picking apart why it was profitable. Garlic is a white material used in cooking. Your head should immediately wonder... "Hey, are there other white materials used in cooking that are just as profitable, if not more?" Now you're taking my advice, picking out the analysis that went behind it, and moving forward in your own research.
Stage 3 Sheep
At this point, many of you start emailing me with questions like: "Why can't I make a profit immediately with my flips? How come I keep getting undercut?"
I don't want to repeat myself too much, so please read this article on why flipping can't be instant all the time. The idea is that markets do go up and down over time, some more than others. The same markets that you complain about for heavy undercutting also happen to be the most profitable. Problem is that you're buying at the high point (when it initially appears 1-5 copper profitable) and then attempting to sell as the market corrects itself to a non-profitable point. What you should be doing is buying when it appears to not be profitable, knowing that the sale orders will go up over the course of the next 24 hours or perhaps handful of days. The only way you're going to learn this kind of pattern is through studying gw2spidy charts and personal research.
Once you understand this concept, there is only one stage left for the sheep of this blog...
Stage 4 Wolves
It's easier to describe what a wolf does instead of how you become one. The progression from sheep to wolf is something I'm still perfecting to bring out of more people every day. But it's not a science, and there certainly is no way to inspire such methods onto those that want to get rich fast. Don't worry, the progression will be natural and eventually you will become a wolf.
Wolves understand everything there is to know about fees, when to cancel auctions, how long to leave auctions up, etc. (hey that's kind of like stage 1!)
Wolves do not take my advice as the gospel truth, and they especially don't look into the exact markets that I specify. Instead, they look for similar markets by searching on the trading post and making use of the various search options available. (look at stage 2 again!)
Wolves know that markets change over time, so they take advantage of buying low and selling high like a champion. (hey that's stage 3!)
Here's the fourth part that is VERY difficult to teach, and requires experience more than anything else:
Wolves improvise and take advantage of the mechanics in the game to improve profits. This includes the mystic forge, salvaging, combining crafting materials like scraps into cloths, crafting itself, and bag opening.
Where are you at as a reader?
PS: I'm going to be redoing my email list subscription series (the free emails that you get for signing up on the right side of the page) so that I can focus on making you all wolves. They were originally designed when everyone was at Stage 1, as the game first came out, and now I feel qualified to up the ante on the teaching scale.