So you've decided to try your hand at the smuggling trade; what next? Assuming that you would not be reading this without being a licensed smuggler, we'll cover some of the more general considerations of the profession here, and explore the nuances in other threads. Above all, remember that the smuggler is a target, but a soon-to-be-wealthy target, as long as he/she embraces the mind-set required to keep cool under pressure!
1. Yes, you are a target! This is true not only because of the server RP rules, but also because you will be flying something with a generous cargo hold full of valuables. This means that your ship will not be agile, it will accelerate slower, have weaker shields and modest firepower. Don't forget that if you have credits to buy cargo, those who would exploit your vulnerability also assume you have enough credits to share with THEM. Police will try to enforce black market embargos, pirates will try to extort you to finance their profligate lifestyles, and mercenaries will be collecting bounties from the pirates you escaped last time out.
2. Alliances are extremely handy! Whether a freelancer or clan member, it's always a good policy to make friends among all other classes of players. A timely bribe, a stealthy errand into competitors' systems or other trade in kind can make it possible to get your normal adversaries to look the other way from time to time while you are building your wealth & reputation.
3. Reputation management is key to profitability! the best smugglers maintain a balanced reputation board, so that trade is possible right across Sirius & Altair. At the moment, trading is not a profitable business in the Inner Core, but who knows when this might change? It's also vital when running high-value cargo that you not be disrupted by unfriendly NPC factions when evading other players. In some cases, the local NPC's might be hostile with your pursuers, and help provide cover.
4. Exploration is indispensible! Unless you have docked the majority of bases, you will not know where the best trades are. Besides, there are millions of credits worth of salvage spread throughout the Crossfire Universe, in addition to some very profitable mining zones. On days when your favorite trading routes have too much traffic or are being blockaded, you need options to keep business going. (Artifacts can even be mined in some systems!)
5. Piloting skills are essential! Evasion is not something you do when you've run into an adversary, and you try to dodge CD's & missiles. The most elusive pilots are constantly watching their HUD chatlog (radar) to see which systems the predators are in, and plot a course that will most likely avoid them. Unless a smuggler is keeping his/her eye on this key piece of info, they will never see a pincer movement forming to trap them. There are specific techniques which can be used to evade the enemy in your current system, but now we are entering the realm of The Chase, in which the smuggler is the hare running from the hounds!
These facts form the backdrop against which the smuggler plans his/her day. Upon request, IOC pilots can provide information that will be most helpful in navigating the Black Market landscape of Crossfire, as well as specific hints of how to survive when the going gets tough. Good Luck out there!