Throughout the game, you will find that money, or Cats, the currency in game, will be very useful and most likely needed to advance higher in the dangerous world of Kenshi. Here are just a few helpful tips and methods of getting rich in this apocalyptic desert.
The "Merchant" MethodEdit
This is probably one of the hardest and most complicated methods. Find the trader in your starting location and buy up whatever is cheap and you can afford, then head to the nearest location and sell whatever you can make a profit on, then buy up the cheapest again and proceed to either the previous location or a different one, repeat until you can purchase some better equipment or some followers to act as guards or distractions (Your choice). Repeat until you are rich enough.
The "Hoarder" MethodEdit
What you want to do is lure the bandits to the town guards until you can afford a backpack, and then go on until you have good equipment and decent skills, probably around 20 for attack and defense. Once you have good enough equipment, try taking on some wandering loners. At about 30-40 in those skills, you should be able to take on small groups of enemies.
The "Miner" Method Edit
Find a town that has a price markup on copper higher than 100%. Iron is too cheap. Then, find the nearest copper natural sources that do not have "Underground" negative efficiency modifier. Mine all the copper you can and sell it to the general goods trader. This will increase your Labouring skill and Strength due to the copper's heavy weight. Having 2 workers assigned to the same resource will increase efficiency, allowing them to get more than an entire inventory full of copper per day, what should get you arround 2000-3000 cats. Use the money to gather recruits that will be your new miners. If you started alone, this strategy works the same way, it just takes more time to gather money for a new follower.
Keep in mind that enemies such as bandits or wild animals may attack, so do not leave your workers unchecked, also because you have to pick up the cooper as it is extracted due to the fact each cooper source will stack only 5 raw coppers. Your workers will simply stop working if you do not transfer the extracted copper to their inventories.
It also seems that working too hard (eg. mining) too much time hurts your workers. Do not keep them working an entire day. Make pauses and avoid doing this at night since it's harder to see approaching enemies.