I am going to start tracking how I spend my time and what the return on it it. I have used this before to my advantage but didn't think to apply it to my gold making.
I never do anything small. When Blizzard released Recruit A Friend program, I jumed on it big. I picked up a 2nd account and talked 2 friends into joining me. I Grabed another lvl 70 mage (it was BC at the time) and powered up 4 chars at a time to 61. I did the multiboxing thing and at tripple XP, it was so fast that I had to do more.
I did it again and again. It became a game about XP per hour. Before I was done, I had 11 characters on my 2 accounts and my friends had a few on theirs. I learned a few things along the way.
I found it faster to lvl to 10 with quests and head to sfk then it was to level to 8 and head to rfc. The mobs where just so spread out in rfc and at tripple xp you could just do the easy quests.
I found that 12 min is the magic number for instance power leveling (due to the instance lockout of 5 per hour). In the lower level instances it was a race to finish in 12 min. When doing SM armory and cath that would usualy be by skipping the bosses. The extra 1-2 min it took to gain that little xp wasnt worth it, even with skipping the loot. I would pull the boss in cath to kill stuff but ran out before getting sleept.
Other instances it was kill as much as you could in 12 min and reset. If there were good groups of high xp mobs keep going, if slowed down you were better of to reset. One the last set of alts we leveled from 1 to 46 in one long Saturday session.
I am thinking back to that now as I head into the gold business. There are lots of things I can do to make gold. Each has a optimal time that can be spent. Like that 12 min window for leveling. If I can cut my time spent and produce the same thing or produce more in the same time I will make more with less effot or make it faster.
This weekend I spent a lot of time making bags (New market I was checking out). I would check the AH every few hours to see how many of my bags had sold, I would then search for mats and buy them, then craft them, and post. All those steps are needed, I can't cut them out. But I can find faster ways to do it or do more less often.
For searching I could add those to my snatch list of my normal banker. So each time he snatches stuff, all the cloth I need also gets snatched.
I can craft in bulk. I can build a good supply of mats and craft it all at once. Something like that you can be afk and just return to your computer every so often to click the next batch. This weekend I was making snowfall ink in batches of 400. I could watch tv and every 2nd or 3rd set of comercials I would start it on the next batch.
I can post in bulk. I already have one alt that manages most of my listings. Now that I plan on batching the crafting, I can forward it to my banker. If I set it up in my mod correctly, it will just post like any other item.
So when it is all said and done I have cut my time back to just the craft time. The other steps were things I was already doing. Now if I can find more things to craft I will be making more gold and diversifying where my gold is.