I've had this game for a while, I first started playing it believing that it was a mistake to have purchased it, but something kept bringing me back to it....
IN the end, hook yourself up with the cheat script.... Give yourself a 999 bilion dollars and learn how to play the game from that perspective.
Then go back and start playing as normal.
You'll find you'll learn a lot more by cheating at first and then coming back to play the game. It's really a GOOD game. It's a very difficult game because everything is reactive to everything else, including dumping cargo that you just bought from a station to help improve your reputation..... well, buying the cargo improved the rep, dumping it, damaged it. So you can see it's VERY balanced.