In my experience, patience, caution and a helping hand gets you a long way when you take down trees. And humility. Don’t take on trees that are very large unless you really know what you do. It’s not the occasion to be cocky.
If you want extra safety, tie a rope around the top or branch that you are cutting and either let someone hold it tight at a safe distance, or tie the other end to the stem of another big enough tree. Then you know it won't fall in a completely different direction.
My friends let me use an electric pole saw that was like a mini chain saw on a pole. I had never used one before. In my first couple of cuts I managed to pinch the chain when the limb fell into another tree as I was cutting it. It cause the chain to fall off of the saw. I didn't know how to fix it so I had to start hand cutting everything.
My hands were swollen and I couldn't cut anymore on my own. Thankfully my brother in law and my sister showed up. My brother in law knew how to put the chain back on the saw! He started cutting up what I had cut down. Then he cut all of the stumps down as low as possible. I could not have done this alone. I was so grateful for the help.
This is the triplex that I own and was living in. Now I have moved back to the Sacramento area and I am cleaning up the triplex to make it more maintenance free. Then I am going to rent out the unit that I was living in. The other two units are already rented out. And, yes, it was a hug amount of work.