In the first couple of game years, priority should be given to exports over everything else - including food and defence.
First assess what you can produce, and then check the empire map what you can sell. Start your trade route then. First money you spend in a game should be that needed to open a trade route.
The first tents you build in a game should be next to that mine, quarry, or whatever, that is going to produce your exports.
It is common practice to lay out a housing block and then scatter some tents throughout the industrial area. It is better to do it the other way around - put in the tents next to industry first, then your housing block. The tents will be settled in the order in which they were laid out, and if you do the housing block first, it might take a couple of months or more before your mine or farm will get any workers.
Build your industry one structure at a time as you get workers. First a mine, then a workshop, then another workshop, then a warehouse, etc. Don't try to put in several mines, workshops and warehouses all at the same time. You'll end up with a few workers at a lot of places instead of a lot of workers at a few places.
Whenever possible, I try to put all my industrial buildings around a loop or block. This makes transportation , fire, and engineer coverage easier. Dead ends are firetraps!
Having a high unemployment rate is far superior to having worker shortages. I always figure out how many tents I am going to need, and then add a lot more. You can tear down tents in a flash, but you sure as hell can't fill them up that fast.