I'm sorry, but I keep seeing threads that start with:
"How can I make money crafting?"
"What makes good money in CraftX?"
"What can I farm for really good money?"
Let's assume, for a moment, that I've found a nice little niche market...say, some mob in some out of the way spot, who's unstackable drop can be synthed in the field to be some other item, which stacked 12 deep sells for 20-40 grand.
Costs you a bit of time and a small amount of money (-1/-2 k per stack generaly) to make, and sells 2-4 per day (unless someone's on a skillup kick, in which case you can go through a dozen stacks in a day), and nets anywhere from 40k to 160k (avg being about 60k) a day.
One day's farming/synthing gives you enough (skillup binges not withstanding) to sell for 3-4 days maintaining a steady income.
Given the kinds of foods certain high-level jobs use, 60k/day is enough to keep yourself fed for a few hours, and put a little in the "bank" for that "really neat epeen upgrade" you've been looking at.
Then, someone asks how they can make money, and you post that mob/synth/gil-per-day total on a crafting forum, and all of a sudden, a few hundred stacks of whatever it is show up on the AH.
Prices plumet, your steady income is gone, and eventually the stuff climbs back up from 500/stack (slightly below cost to make not counting time) to around 10k/stack.
Shortly there-after, those people are back on the trade forums, asking for another handout, and wondering why all these rude and meanie-weanie people won't help them.
People constantly ask on these forums "How do you make your money?" when really, what they are asking you to do is to destroy that market...even if they don't realize it.
Most markets, especially unregulated ones, are based on supply and demand...if there is more supply than demand, and quality is identical, then prices go down...if there is more demand than supply, and quality is identical, then prices will go up until prices reach a point where competician is attracted, where upon supply increases bringing prices down.
External control mechanisms include a government that "forces" certain prices, and monopolies that will prevent others from selling "thier" products.
Since in FFXI we can't go shoot someone on the streets of Jeuno, or toss a bomb into their Rent-a-Room to stop them from crafting in an area, to maintain a monopoly you have to either absolutely control a key component, or to put the finished goods up for a price -no- honest dealer can match, driving them out of business.
This is how RMT normally does it, but they aren't the only ones to "kill" a money-maker...in this game, far more important than a SH+1, is the gil to buy it.
For those who don't buy their gil, they -must- have some other way to get it...for many, that's BCNMs, but if you don't have "the right job/gear" don't bother, your seals are "worthless" because no one will go with you.
For those people, its farming and crafting...since that doesn't need 2-5 other people of the exactly correct setup and piles of seals normally only found on career soloists.
When you post on the trade forums, about how this "sells 2-3 per day" item (be it a single item dropped or something crafted) can bring in 50k/sale, you've just destroyed that market.
It only sells for 50k/each because only a few go up each day...if it's something anyone with a L30 job could concieveably get with an under60 craft, then the day after you post it, a hundred will be up on the AH.
What's more, the AH isn't "first listed, first sold" it's "cheapest list goes first"...so if you want -your- 2-3 to sell, you need to put them up for less than everyone else.
So, the more are up at any one time, the lower you ask to insure yours goes out first.
Since everyone knows this, people don't bid "history+1" blindly (unless there is a desperate need for "the last one on the shelf"), instead, they bid lower, and work their way up to the sale, lowering the history, and showing people what asking price -they- have to undercut the next time.
Now, if the item sells 10 every 2 hours (since the history only shows 10 items, that's all you can tell), having 100+ items up isn't a big deal, you know yours will go out soon enough, so you don't massively undercut.
But when there are only 2-3 sales/day, and 100+ items, knowing that its "cheapest in, first out", and further knowing that everyone -else- knows that, most people will start -massively- underbidding, causing prices to crash with a horrible shattering sound.
The only way to keep your money-makers intact, is to treat them like the old guilds used to treat thier secrets...as exactly that.
"Three people can keep a secret only when two of them are dead."
Trade secrets were passed down from Master to Apprentice, and no one "outside" was let in on those secrets...blabber-mouths wound up in a lot of trouble, or dead.
If you -really- want to make money, and not just "be given a handout" then go to the Auction House, and look for what sells quickly...then look to see which of those you can find/make reasonably.
Put small quantities of a -couple- of those items up (so as to not make the established crafters/farmers worried enough about you to force prices down to drive you out) and see how it goes.
When you have a few decent money makers, look into occasional "bonus" items for "extra" gil...or get in the habit of saving your money to build up to whatever item you are looking for.
A lot of people still see high levels of crafting as a way to make millions of gil per synth, and expect to make a dozen such synths each day...it doesn't work like that anymore.
The reason people paid millions of gil per synth was, plain and simply put, there were so few people synthing that item that they could charge whatever they wanted.
Some cases, the items -in- those synths were really hard to get (Venomous Claw, Damascus Ingot, etc) and while the synth itself wasn't that hard, the ingredients went for millions.
In this "Barely acceptable means 99.999% of the Best Possible" world, HQ items (requiring massive luck, super high skill, or both) still cost millions...but the NQ items are tossed on the trash pile, price wise, because so many people are making them trying for that mega-cash result, that the "failures" are glutting the market.
Thus, power-crafting (often with bought gil, but in many cases a lucky BCNM or NM drop also supplies the money) to get CraftX up to where you can start (hopefully) HQ'ing "Money-Making Synth Y" achieves nothing but throwing the market on skillup goods into a tizzy.
If you -really- want to make steady income, check the AH's (even the smaller ones are good, if you stick to what the guilds in those areas require) and find markets of things the higher level crafters don't want to waste time making for themselves.
(or in some cases, -can't- make for themselves, because they can't us an "Iron Ingot +1" which they get half the time because the synth -they- want to do only accepts a normal ingot...and yes, I know there's no such synth as a +1 ingot, I'm making an example)
Take -that- synth, and find a way to make it cost-effectively, and put a -few- up at a time.
The key to making money in FFXI is (buying gil or getting stupidly lucky aside) =PATIENCE=.
This isn't WoW, the game isn't structured for and has in fact evolved for much of it's life away from "casual gaming"...if you play FFXI, you play for a "long haul" or you play one of the solo jobs (the later of which is becoming something of a trend, actually).
Find a few sources of money, spread your investements (of time, gil, etc) out, and pull in steady, reliable income...if you need 100k/half-hour for food, and also want gear costing 10M gil/piece, then you need to get into one of the big, money making linkshells that only does billion-gil items and serve your "slave labor" time until you can start getting a slice of the pie.
Otherwise, either buy gil, or do your <expletive removed> homework and find your own money makers...if you must have a billion gil by noon tomorrow or you will never see your moogle again...well, report the moogle-nappers to the STFU and hope they can help.
But please stop coming here and saying "Please, they said they would kill my moogle if I couldn't come up with a billion gil...please, please, tell me your crafting secrets so I too can make the obscene fortunes needed to look like all the other epeens on the /seacom list."
Honestly, it's not -that- hard to look for what is selling, heck, there's even a really cool site that shows the main auction house for each server, that you can use to do your research.
Final Fantasy XI Auction House Online
Combine that with some reading of various crafting guides, monster databases, and a bit of brain-sweat, and you can find all the money sources you need...hopefully w/o killing everyone elses money sources.
Sensubean on Midgardsormr