For me the prerequisite for working in gold was to have the means to
melt my own alloys, a rolling mill, and a draw plate. I had learned
how to use them from my mentor using his gold, along with recipes for
the various alloys and colours of gold and their properties.
I was then able to buy a quarter ounce of pure gold and alloy and
form it into anything I needed. Scraps can be recycled along with
mistakes - melt and cast them into a bar and start again!
The rolling mill was the last item I purchased and in the interim I
could produce fairly accurate sheets and bars using a sledge hammer,
various hammers, and anvil.
It takes a long time for the allure of working with gold to wear off
to a state that gold is just another metal to be bought, formed, and
sold at a profit; and to have built up a reserve of various alloys
and colors so that getting more is not stressful. The sooner you do
it, the sooner you will get to that state. To a person starting off
it may be best to keep to one alloy and color and gradually expand
from there. Gold is an expensive metal, but a) the customer pays for
it in the end, and b) it is never lost; it can be recycled many times
and by refining as a last resort.
My method for not getting complacent in recovering lemel and sweeps
is to believe that losing gold is bad luck.
That is my story, thanks for asking!