I think a was a bit harsh in my first reply. Lets try and make it up.
Mining isn't flawed, it just happens to be that competition is quite fierce in that field right now and it certainly didn't help the solo miner with the addition of the Orca.
To be able to stay competitive with mining you have to come to terms with a few things:
- Mining with a hulk is not a SOLO endeavor. Hulks need haulers to be effective!
- Make the most profit out of what you mine by producing items from the minerals!
- If you can't build stuff then make sure you sell your minerals for the best price! DO NOT SELL TO BUY ORDERS!
- If you can't find anyone to mine with, join an industrial corp (or switch if you already am part of one, they are not active enough)
Solo mining hulks are at a huge disadvantage to an organized gang, you loose roughly 50% of your potential yield by going solo. An average mining gang consist of:
3 x Hulks
1 x Hauler
A competitive gang consist of:
4 x Hulks
1 x Hauler (27,500 m³ minimum)
1 x Mining booster (A proper mining booster can turn what 4 hulks yeild into what 6 hulks would yield without boosts)
An average industrial corp fleets:
8 x Hulk or more
1 x Orca (With a maxed mining boosting pilot)
1 x Hauler (Or 1 x Orca, doing hauling from the booster orca)
So as you can tell, you are doing it wrong. And that is what is flawed with mining as far as you are concerned.
Turning it into something useful for you should you stay open minded...
Training a battleship capable LVL 4 mission pilot (All needed skills included) should take about 80 days. That is a very long period to train. But in your case, if you want to be truly independent (funding your ETC's) that is the only viable option i can see.
A LVL 4 mission can net you anything between 3 and 30 million isk in bounties. If you salvage the mission afterwards (You don't really have a choice to keep up with expenses) you can make another 2 and 30 million isk depending on what loot is dropped.
Doing a LVL 4 mission that netted you 50 - 60 million isk combined would take you about 3 hours from start to salvaging the last wreck. It is easy to see how that makes you 20 mil an hour. But running missions is about luck as well, you don't always get the good missions. But i can predict a minimum income of 8 million per hour.
Personally i am running 3 accounts. Paying real life money for them though, but i could play for free if i wanted to.
When mining, i mine with hulks on all three when my brother is around. (Overall income is 12 million an hour per hulk)
When running missions i run with 2 of my chars and salvage with the third. Constantly taking new missions until i get bored. (Overall income including loot and salvage is about 15 million per account)
When i run missions for an entire day (8 - 10 hours) i usually net 150 million isk in bounties ALONE. Unfortunately i find running missions or mining for entire days to be quite a sleeping pill. Otherwise i would net myself roughly 2 billion a month doing that on weekends and if i kept it up every day i would make 10 - 11 billion in that month.
Since i don't do production, i can't give you accurate numbers. I give all my ore, loot and salvage to my brother. He basically turns what is worth 100 mil into 130 mil without a problem. We then share the profits. Actually, we share all isk between us equally. No matter what either of us do. That is safety in numbers my friend!
Now go out there and make good use of this intel!