I've played on the Crossfire server for a number of hours now, and I'm already up to level 45ish.
I went the 'good guy' route and started doing missions for the Police / LSF.
Some quick tips to get others started;
Fly out to Planet Hamburg (in the Hamburg system, coincidentally) and get yourself a Banshee to start. You get $150,000 off the bat, so this is a good ship to start off with. Good cargo room, plenty of firepower capabilities to start doing missions/jobs. Load it out with the most powerful weapons you can afford/find.
If you go the 'good guy' route, take any and all jobs revolving around killing Rogues/Outcasts or any other Pirate faction. Tractor Beam in any and all loot they drop when you kill them. Then fly out to the Texas System and sell off all the escape pods at one of the two prisons (LPI Hunstville or LPI Sugarland). They can net you anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000, depending on the rank of the pod. I've easily made over a few million just doing jobs from these prisons and selling the pods to the prison over and above the mission bounty.
Custodian System is fine to patrol, the clan is inactive and I had no issue flying in that system to procure myself a Sabre, once I followed the two steps above to earn up enough cash. It's a great all-around ship with an insane amount of firepower.
That's how I've started up and I'm already pushing to level 50, so if you gents want to hop on this bandwagon and help me out, seems like a good way to start out and get into a good ship pretty quick.