I have been playing for 5 months. I do not play a lot. Here is a brief summary of my experiences. I just thought this might be of general interest to brand new solo players like myself.
After finishing the tutorial I thought I would try exploring. So, I hopped onto one of the ships I had been given, maybe a Venture, and started flying into null sec spaces. On perhaps my second journey I got blown up by two player with 10+ years experience. At that point I decided maybe I would try a different approach.
Mining was easy and allowed me to make some money. Everywhere I read on the internet said to avoid mining. But I went ahead with it anyway. Eventually I got to where I could mine ice in high sec space. This was an easy way to make quite a bit of money. But it was very boring.
I read that exploration was a good way to make money. So, I created an alt to devote to exploration. I kept taking my ship into wormhole space and kept getting blown up. Tracking down data or relic sites in high sec space took quite a bit of time. There seems to be a lot of competition for them. All in all, I was losing money from the ships I was losing to NPC drones in the wormholes.
I read on the internet that I could make a lot of money if I ran level 4 missions. So, I trained my main toon to do that. After reaching level 4 mining missions I read that I would need a second account if I hoped to make much money that way. So, I set that aside.
I read that doing level 4 security missions was a really good way to make money. So, I got a battleship, a Dominix, and started doing those with sentry drones. I had almost no experience with fighting. I almost lost my ship on my first level 3 security mission. Then I discovered I was supposed to jump my ship when warping into a crown of hostiles. The next thing I learned was I was not supposed to jump my ship without first retrieving my drones because sentry drones do not move.
Once I had those two key tips figured out I was able to complete level 3 and 4 security missions easily. Although, I still was not making a lot of money. Then I got a level 4 ‘burner’ security mission that requires a frigate. So, I have gone back and started training all the frigate skills I skipped over on the way to the Dominix. In a day or two I will be able to get an assault frigate and maybe can try the burner mission.
Then I saw a video that I could make money by just ratting in level 1 or 2 low sec space. I have just returned from my first trip to level 2 space since getting shot down five months ago. For this I am using a Navy issue drone frigate. Surprisingly I did not make much money, but I did not get blown up either.
So far, the best way I have found to make money is still to mine ice, but it is really boring. I have been told that assault frigates are the most fun ships to fly. Once I get one I will try the level 4 burner security mission, but I might still need to train level 5 skills if I do not want to lose the ship. I have approximately 44 million skill points so far, but a very large proportion of those have been devoted to training to get an Orca and a Rorqual. I have not flown or even fitted the Rorqual yet.
In the next day or two I will try taking my Navy issue drone frigate into level 1 low sec space to see whether I can make some more money that way. I saw a video that indicated you can get pirate insignias that way that are worth close to 20 million ISK each.
I have also tried playing the market, buying low and selling high. So far I have identified one or two items that provide me with a small but steady stream of passive cash. Although, I am not getting rich that way.
This pretty much covers the various experiences I have had in my first 5 months. So far I have been playing solo, but do join fleets when mining ice. The chats I have with other players while mining ice are fun and I learn quite a bit that way.