Troubles in early game

Hello everyone!

I've been really enjoying Stellaris as a whole since I bought it back in June but ever since I'm having some minor troubles (which can become major ones) in the early state of the game (50 years or so)

One of them is energy & minerals production. I make sure to only build when the pop is fully growth, not building any research station, not doing many ships or army, but I'm still lacking a lot of resources. This brings the major issue where I just encounter an empire that declares war on me, and bring a massive 3k fleet power compared to my <1k. At this point I just don't know what to do since I never had any resources to either build more fleet or fortify my planets

So I've got some questions for you guys. Do you build your planets specifically for a resource type as soon as you colonize it? Do you put your first 2 & 3 planets in a sector so you can take resources from it sooner? How do you deal with aggressive empires that wants to vassalize/tributary you?

This is my game right now

I play Gestalt Hive Mind with One mind + Subsumed Will as ethics. I quickly got a science ship and started exploring around me to find my neighbors. I spotted 2 strategic spots where I built frontier outpost in the inner area of the galaxy and colonized a planet on the outside area to make sure no ones comes through even if I had my borders opened

This is how my planets look like at the moment

This game I wanted to develop the planets myself a bit before instantly setting up sectors. As you can see I never had the resources to properly set them up, army and fleet wise

I really can't compete with that and I'm wondering how an empire that has obviously less production than me, can come up this large with so few planets and be ahead of me

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