In Path of Exile, when beginning fresh, starting from zero, perhaps in a brand new league, how do the smart players progress from beginning to late game efficiently?
In fact, you should pick a build that you like that doesn’t need multiple 5+ex gear pieces to be good. Because if you don’t like it you won’t have fun and you’ll spend most of your time afking and not playing. Enough poe exalted orb has always been important to you in game.
After that you find what’s the best way to level said build, check out some speed racing guides for that, for example anything duelist/marauder can easily level with sunder and use free respec points and maybe couple of regrets to transition into your real build.
Glacial Cascade, Flameblast and Freeze Pulse totems are generally good for leveling any kind of spellcaster and Molten Strike/Frost Blades combo is generally good to use for projectile based builds, Lightnign Trap is usually the go to for trappers although you might wanna hold on and see which new trap skills might be better next league, Essence Drain contagion for DOT based builds etc.
You go through zones skipping most enemies until you reach Blood Aqueducts, you should be at least around 5 levels lower than that zone when you reach it depending on how hard it is to level your build, you only pick up efficent and on the way life nodes while leveling and put rest into adjacent and easy to specc out damage nodes.
Once you farm to level 70-ish in Blood aqueducts and get like 10-15c you start respeccing into your real build, you aim not to spend more than 2-3c per gear piece, just enough to start progressing your atlas, 4l for your main skill and res capped with 4k life or close to it should be more than enough for t1-5 maps
At this point depending on your RNG or how good your build can transition, if your build is good to go from like lvl 80 you switch to strict filter and start picking up only currency, maps, 6 sockets and rare jewelry.
If your build needs like lvl 90 and a bit more currency to be really efficient you might opt out to do unid chaos recipe which is really good first few days of the league due to cheap exalts.
You shouldn’t be investing heavily into your build until you hit at least t10 maps because if your build is any decent it should clear anyhting lower perfectly fine on under 5 ex budget(estimating 2ex for 5l chest and 1-2 ex for decent weapon).
I believe that other experienced players will be better than my tips, but these are the reasons for my success, and I sincerely hope it will help you too.