Starter Cash: Go make some Squirrels!
The previous starter cash posts have required that you have a high-level toon, at least high enough to solo Stratholme or Scarlet Monastery. This strategy does not. This is something you can do from level 10. It is a short and sweet approach that will give you solid returns that will finance your first mount, skills, and all that sort of thing.
The schematic is a world drop that drops off of almost anything at an extremely low drop rate. This means that it is a pretty common schematic to find on the AH. If you make it a priority, I’m sure you’ll see it in short order.
Here’s the plan: let’s pretend that you’re a true nub. You’re new to the game, or you’re re-rolling on a new server, or whatever. The first thing you have to do is make it out of the starting zone, meaning, you have to reach level 10. This is, even for a true nub, is not a tall order.
The next step is to go to a trainer to train mining. After that, keep questing and running around, but do so in order to farm Copper. Copper is going to be how you get your starting nut. Gather a stack or so of copper; smelt some into bars, keep some as ore. Then, sell the ore and bars. Sell them in stacks of 5, or 20, or whatever. Copper Ore can sell for as little as 5g/stack or as much as 20g/stack (on those rare, super-demand days). Nobody wants to farm copper, so there’s constant demand for it.
So, get a little gold, keep farming copper, and keep questing until it’s time for the next step of the plan. What is the next step, you ask? Assuming that you’ve already got the schematic for the squirrel, either via the AH or a drop, the next step is leveling Engineering on this toon! (If you don’t have the schematic, then get it, then level Engineering.)
You don’t need to level Engineering very far at all. In fact, you only need to get to level 75, which is doable at level 10. If you’re a gnome, this is even easier, as gnomes get the ridiculously overpowered racial buff that gives +15 to Engineering.*
(*In fact, if you’re thinking of creating a toon solely for this strategy, make that toon a gnome. Seriously. A gnome rogue engineer/miner will make this very, very easy.)
Training engineering to level 75 is pretty easy. Leveling to 75 requires about 90 copper ore/bars, 25 weak flux, and 40 rough stone. This is peanuts. You can do that in an hour or less, even on a level-appropriate toon (ie: this new toon we’re talking about). Again, if you’re a gnome, it will be even faster and cheaper.
After that, you’re basically set. Malachite can be a little pricey on the AH, but you can also get it cheaply; I’ve noticed wild fluctuations in price. Learn the spec for the squirrel, do a circuit to mine copper, make a few squirrels, put them on the AH, and watch the money roll in. It is as simple as that. Demand stays constant because it is a cheap, accessible pet for new pet collectors… and there are always new pet collectors.
Potential drawbacks? Very few, but one is that engineering is tough to level after Journeyman status. It’s very ore-intensive, and so if you want to go any further than the squirrel it can be a hassle. (It’s not as bad as Blacksmithing, but still…) Another drawback is that, at least in theory, you might be able to make more money with two gathering professions, especially if you’re going all the way to 80. Finally, the last drawback that I can think of is that, while demand is constant, supply can fluctuate. What does that mean? Well, it means that because this is such an easy pet to make, AH undercut battles around this item are common. So if you post too many, or if someone on your server is trying to corner this market, it could be a hassle.
With all that said, this is an easy, reliable way to make money. You probably won’t get gold capped this way, but you will at least make a reliable income. So if you want to make some money, go make some squirrels!