Perennial polyculture and forest gardening, have captured our imaginations and focused our efforts, but the maps are still being drawn. What kind of advice would you have liked to hear years ago when you first started? I'll start a list:
Develop water catchment early.
Introduce animals as soon as practical. Earthworms, rabbits, chickens, goats, pigs etc.
Be as conscious of animal fodder as human food.
When removing dead trees and brush, save the biomass for hugelkulture.
Enjoy the niche created by tall pine trees (and other existing species). Don't mindlessly clear land.
Involve the neighbors with your strategies. Support theirs.
Hire and trade within the neighborhood.
Create a nursery / propagation area.
Over plant. Some species have a short life expectancy anyway. Coppice.
Plant fast growing trees to goose your enthusiasm. Mulberry jumps out of the ground in Florida, as does Moringa, papaya, and many bamboos.
Keep a list of shade tolerant plants. Some day you will need more of them.
Avoid planting things that need well drained soil in areas that flood on occasion.
Observe and create micro climates.
On bike rides, stop and talk to caretakers of interesting gardens. Trade seeds, plants and stories. (Local sources vs. mail order)
Save room for the mysteries of seedling (un-grafted) fruit trees. Some produce fruit at a young age.
and so on...