Hi, I am completely new at this game.
Hi and welcome!
I am struggling through this world on my own. The game did not come with any instructions on basic information.
Visit Lodestone, read the in-game manual at the Aetheryte, or ask your main quest giver in the adventurer's guild for basic information. Also, always follow the main story quest until you need to gain levels to see the rest, it'll take you through all the important bits.
I am unsure of things as how to set my action bars
It's in the menu, Action & Skills option?
You need to learn skills, which you get automatically every even level for each class. Each skill cost points, and your current rank determines your maximum Action Point capacity, so even if you learned 80 skills, you can only set 64 points worth of them at rank50, and in a maximum of 3 bars (so 30 slots).
Some skills require specific classes to use, and some skills do not require any action points to set.
when I can do quests, ( sometimes it makes me exchange I think)
Those are Levequests, the equivalent of dailies that you do to grind. You get a new allocation of leves every 36 hours, and you can see how long until the next one by using the /clock command, by checking on Zam (LEVE REST IN: ##:##:## at the top of the screen) or in the TIMERS section of your character profile.
Exchanging leves will be gone in a week or two, but essentially, it serves to boost the gil/marks you earn from quest by 10% per "exchange" point. Exchange points work this way:
+1 point if the card has a different image from the leve you're picking
+1 point if the leve came from a different city.
You can only exchange 4 leves when you pick a new one, and you can only have +2 per card, so +80% rewards at best, if you really go all the way. It's mostly pointless to do, though, and as I said before, will be gone in next patch.
How to sell items..I purchased a 'retainer' but no money is coming in...
To players or NPC? Just find a stall and sell your junk to NPC at first, unless you know someone who wants to buy it. Or you can go to the market wards and try to learn the value of things, then have your retainer open up a shop -- but if you just give him stuff, all he'll do is hold on to it, not sell it.
Is there some new beginners guide I can purchase to help me through this world? Graphics are great and I am enjoying that. I have seen this Chrono guide but I am not sure if that is actually for the total beginner or just some grinding guide.
I find that there's nothing quite like figuring it out by yourself. Guides are great once you understand the game and want to check if you are missing on something, but you should really just play the game at first, imho. Anyway, State Alchemist linked one above.
Thanks for any advice.