Originally by: Taedrin
A warning to new players:
Running level 4 missions in High Sec is considered "minimum wage" in EVE. As the OP mentioned: it is the easiest and simplest way to make a lot of money. Because of this, EVERYONE can grind away at level 4 missions. It forms the baseline to which all other ISK making activities are compared. An ISK making activity is only considered "worthwhile" if you can make more ISK than running level 4 missions.
If you are only concerned with making ISK, it is best to learn about other areas of EVE besides grinding missions.
In fact, learn some PI, which you can easily have running in the background while you run missions. Maybe run missions for an R&D corp so you can harvest datacores. Learn some spreadsheets and figure out what you can build from your own salvage to get a little extra ISK from your mission loot. Just remember that you want to make MORE money than what you would get by selling your loot!
But for the love of whatever you hold holy, don't just sit there and run missions! You will be the type of person everyone else in EVE takes advantage of!
Learn the game, bit by bit, and ease yourself into it slowly. But don't stay in the kiddie pool forever! The deep end of the pool is where the fun is at.
I second that.
Mission running is something you can activly do and it can be fun, but generally you should have more long term goals in mind and more diversity answering some key questions like "why do level 4 missions for this particular corp?".
Things I do to diversify.
1. Do missions for research agent based corps, get 4 or 5 level 4 research agents doing research for you (aka Data Core Farming). This type of op takes a bit of work at first but once setup its a cash cow.
2. Buy T1 BPO's and use some of those data cores to make T2 BPC's. There is lots of ways to profit from T2 BPC's, often its sufficent to sell them out right but you can get more complex and get into building them as well (see number 3).
3. Build T2 Ships and Equipment from your Data Core farming operation. The margin yields are very good and again this is a set it up and go operation so you don't have to baby sit it, just check in periodically.
4. Planetary interaction. Another good set up and go operation, again, takes a bit of know how so study up on it to get it right but once set up this is a great cash cow with very low maintenance.
5. Incursions: Personally I find it a lot more entertaining than missions and the rewards can be considerably better at times.
6. Wormholes: Riskier, but yields far better ISK and is hell of a lot more fun (no local, possible PvP). These are my favorite types of ops to do with my corp.
7. Low sec and null sec mining: Again, riskier and hence more fun. Can be extremely profitable.
8. Blockade running: Everything in 0.0 sells well, simply buying T1 BPO's or taking those T2 BPC's out into a 0.0 station can yield extrodinary margins, its really a billion ISK business.
9. Low Sec Mission Running: Again risky, might even say not as profitable as high sec missions but a hell of a lot more fun.
10. Jitta Trade: Boring as ****, but the +.01 ISK game can yield extreme profits if you have a bit of capital to invest. But as I said, its maintenance heavy and its even more boring than High Sec mining which doesn't even make my list. But profitable. With a couple of hundred million ISK you can make 30-40 million ISK in minutes on a good day if you know what you are doing. With a billion ISK to invest you can become a multi billionare in a matter of days.