Most permaculture principles do indeed seem like a, 'no-brainer'. Unfortunately, the way the current economic system works, permaculture, in and of itself doesn't usually allow one to make a living. Most people who are making a living at it, depend mostly on designing for wealthy people, teaching courses, lecturing, etc. That's why, as cyclenaut pointed out, Mark Shepard is worth looking into. Though he definitely supplements his farm, he is actually showing that one can make a living primarily off the farm itself...dude has a seriously ambitious operation. Perennial agriculture definitely makes more sense than annual.
It's also a little ironic that a lot of the most productive techniques are financially out of reach for most people.
I've been fortunate enough to be involved with several design courses but have never really been interested in designing for others. My biggest issue with courses was the high propensity of 'woo-woo' types, who were more interested in crystals and patchouli than understanding how to swing a hammer or wield a shovel (yes, that's a gross generalization). I don't know your location Bev but the Bullock brothers, who are some of the movement's (kind of a creepy word there but it gets the point across) OGs are a wealth of knowledge. They actually get interns to pay them in order to come live on their property. They also do multiple design courses per year.
Sepp Holzer is another 'permie' who has a large web presence,