How can I be a successful trader?
I've only played for about 6 hours so far, and I've made minor profits (like, 100 credits per unit) trading, but I'm feel like there's got to be a better way of doing this that I just don't understand. Spending 10 minutes running between stations for a 400c profit just doesn't seem viable.
The answer to this question about how to use the Galaxy Map to view trade routes might be part of the answer, but I'm sure there is more to being a successful trader than that. Obviously, upgrading to a ship with more cargo capacity would help, but that costs a lot of money and 400-800c per trade seems like a slow way to get there.
Note that I am not opposed to using third party tools or websites that aggregate trade data.
From my limited playing of E:D so far there's a couple of ways of getting improved profits per tonne, although ultimately the best way to do it, is work towards larger cargo modules and also larger ships.
The first option is just to work on finding the most profitable commodity to trade from a specific station. For that, the best way I've seen is to use something like the Elite Trading Tool, which allows you to enter a starting station and other variables and gives you the best routes that it currently knows about. These aren't always perfect, but generally I've found they're better than just using the in-game tools.
Another option is to trade "rare" goods. These are specific items which are available at some stations and which get considerably more valuable the further away you take them. You need a decent amount of cash to start doing this (to pay for fuel to get far enough away to increase the value) but you can make considerable profits with the right route (e.g. with a 40 Ton Cobra, I made ~500,000 each way on a run).
The trick with rares seems to be finding good clusters of items at either end of a run. For example this one