Given that this is the first time I'm going to attempt this challenge, it's hard to estimate exactly how long it will take to reach the 10,000 gold plateau. The real trouble with playing the Auction House game right now is that we are about three weeks away from the launch of Cataclysm, which means the market for many items is very quiet. When a market is sputtering, it can allow more room for profit margin at the cost of having to hold inventory longer to find a willing buyer. It's not the ideal situation, but, I expect a lot of the reselling profit will come from semi-unique items (rares and epics) instead of widespread commodity (herbs, ores, etc) trading and manipulation.
My goal for this first attempt at 10,000 gold is to reach it at 30 hours of /played time and no more than 30 days of real life time. I think it can be done a lot faster under the right conditions, but, seeing as this is a trial run, I'm not going to get too greedy with my goal. As for my trading knowledge, it is fair, not great. I've dabbled some in the reselling market over the years, but never pushed hard in it. Part of speeding up the 10k arrival time will be knowing exactly what to look for, knowing exactly where the liquidity in the market seeps, and keeping up to date with weekly trends. Refined usage of the Auctioneer add-on will also be enormously helpful in picking out profit from markets I'm not accustomed to dealing in.
I think the biggest challenge in this game will be staying closer to liquidity than I normally would with a high level character. This means that a rare pet that could be bought and resold for 500 gold profit might not be appropriate in this challenge given the slow-moving nature of vanity items. If the price is right, the risk may still be worth taking, but there always needs to be a balance between profit margin and profit margin that can be realized in a short period of time. In other words, it would have been great if the captain of the Titanic could have stunned the eastern seaboard by putting her into New York City port a day ahead of schedule, but, in doing so, you've probably increased the risk of catastrophe. That isn't to say that I don't want to take risks -- they just need to be taken in the context of the challenge.
Go To Hour 1 of the Alpha Competition