In my Skills to Build On blog, I gave a list of skills that are essential to research and manufacturing. That is only one part of the total package. If you plan to sell your manufactured goods (which should be a resounding "Yes!") than you will need marketing and trade skills to eke out the most profit by reducing market fees and taxes.
Part 1 will focus on the types of market traders and some theory behind the profession.
The trade skill is often overlooked for the more glorious skills like ship command, offensive and defensive skills. While a PVP player generally has no use for trade skills (unless they sell loot or put up buy orders) they don't need them. They are able to survive and do what they need to do with the basic natural trade skills that are inherent in every new capsuleer. PVE players might train skills in order to list large amounts of mission swag. They may also consider training skills to reduce taxes or market fees but that is barely a secondary concern for most.
The people who need these skills are the ones that use the market as a primary source of income and not a secondary or tertiary source. I'm talking about the market traders, haulers and manufacturers. There are some classifications you may have heard about but the one that sticks out the most is the "station trader".
Station traders sit in one station, filter their market tab to that station only and put up buy and sell orders. Often they never EVER leave the station. You see this type of trader in large trade hubs (Jita, Dodixie, Rens, etc). They buy items via buy orders for much less than the sell orders. People often go for the quick sell even if it is substantially less than the station sell orders. Remember when I said PVE people sometimes do their own marketing? Well, more of them don't. If they even bother to scoop loot, the majority of them just dump them off to buy orders and be done with it. Station traders (who are very patient) can make a ton if ISK due to people dumping items.
There is a hybrid of this. Some market traders will set up buy orders in other "mission hubs" and haul or pay someone to haul the swag to the market hub. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but with some research, you can find systems with multiple level 3 and level 4 mission agents that are relatively close to trade hubs. PVE players are more likely to dump loot at the same station they draw missions from. It's convenient and quick for them and it is profitable to the marketeer. Keep an eye out for these opportunities.
A similar opportunity is to do the same thing at "mining hubs". You can find those yourself. Believe it or not, a lot of miners dump minerals (refined) or even Ore (unrefined) for a lot less than it's worth. A lot of miners are new players who don't fully grasp the economy, don't have good refining skills or don't want to haul ore to market hubs.
There are also the haulers (or the long-haul space truckers). They generally go from market hub to market hub buying low and selling high. It is more involved and comes with risks (looking at you Jita). You can make a tidy profit if you do it right. EVE Central is your friend here. . Use it to find trade opportunities, but MAKE SURE YOU CHECK before you buy and make the run. Have an alt in the station (even if it is a throw-away alt) just to make sure the trade hasn't already been fulfilled. Remember, there are like 40k other people on line at the same time you are. It is very conceivable that there are others doing the exact same as you at the same time as you.
I hope you enjoyed part one of the blog on trade skills.
Check back soon for the next installment and as always, fly safe-ish.