Are you starting on pre-warp, normal start, or what?
For a pre-warp start, I usually start out on my homeworld using one or two colonist (depends on how productive the race is, I just want 5 or 6 production) to build something big (to save up production points without pollution waste); a colony base fits the bill well. With the other colonists (usually 3, without racial bonuses) I put towards research.
I research research labs first, which once i get them can be built in one turn with saved up production. I keep producing the colony base, and I research freighters. Once freighters are done, I research to Automated Factories. I build 1 freighter and then return to the colony base or other big item. At this point I probably have enough colonists at the home system that I can move another colonist to production.
This should take some time, so if I was building a colony base, I should have a new colony built. Once I have the colony, I immediately move an extra colonist there and make sure both are workers (food can be shipped from the homeworld). I want two colonists there, because it increases population growlth immensely. I put the workers to building marine barracks or straight to research lab (if the race doesn't need the barracks for morale). I occasionally just buy the research lab straight away, if i have the money and I think I need the extra research.
Generally, I stop colonizing the home system with just the first colony, unless there are other really desirable planets in the system. I would rather get c0olony ships and scouts made at this point.
In my home system, whether or not i made a colony base, I continue to build the big item until automated factories. I instantly buy those, then go back to saving up production. Then I research extended fuel cells (and whatever the other techs in chemistry are). Once that is done, I make a scout ship instantly and send it off to explore, then go back to the big item. Now it is time to research the colony ship.
Once the colony ship is researched, it can probably be built on the homeworld almost immediately, due to saved up production. As soon as I can, I buy the colony ship. I then move research to go for Pollution Processors. Once the colony ship is produced, I should have a good idea where to go with it because of the scouting. I then move to produce another freighter fleet.
Once the new colony is made, I do exactly the same thing as I did with the colony in my home system. I ship an extra colonist from my homeworld, and set both workers to building. I build automated factories first (buying them after they get to a reasonable price).
After that, it is just pumping out colony ships, scouting(replace the scout as needed), and researching until I meet another race. Once I meet the aliens, who they are and their relative power determines how i play the rest of the game.
I hope this helps. It took me a bit longer than i thought it would to type this out, so I hope you can figure out for yourself how the strategy could be changed for a start other than a pre-warp start. This is possibly not the best way to start, but it works for me. I am sure other people might have their own ideas about how it could be accomplished better.
I think that next I'd like to figure out a Creative + Telepathic race...
I just played an Impossible, Huge, High Organic, Pre-Warp galaxy, and it was very easy with this type of race.
Race stats were:
-10 Ship Defense (-2)
-10 Ground Combat (-2)
Replace Subterranean with Aquatic (5) and Large Homeworld (1) for a much faster start.
The game I am playing now is very interesting. I decided to make a Space Slut race (hey, the Elerian race makes it too easy). It was made insanely easy because my home system had a large Tundra (abundant) to colonize. You'll see why with the stats of the race:
Large Homeworld (1)
Rich Homeworld (2)
+20 Spying (6)
-10 Ship Defense (-2)
-10 Ship Offense (-2)
-10 Ground Combat (-2)
Probably, I would have made a stronger race by replacing the homeworld bonuses with +1 productivity (3), but they are pretty strong regardless. Since I started with a size 28 and a size 30 planet in my home system (subterranean and aquatic FTW), my population was pretty insane early on. Come to think of it, this start would also solve a lot of the OP's problems, as long as he is okay with having to spy for required tech (uncreative is a bitch).