Not getting a teacher sooner - My first ex and I bought a shotgun for home defense and I learned to shoot it on the trap range - trial and error. It wasn’t until much later that I got lessons and it changed my shooting MUCH faster than just struggling through it. Get A Coach. Coaching Matters. it’ll save you money, time, and the risk of doing unsafe things. Plus its way more fun to shoot when you’re better at it.
Don’t teach what you’re not qualified to teach. During the time I was learning to shoot the shotgun, I made the mistake of taking my never-shot-a-gun-either sister to the trap range. It was a BAD way to start her off for a lot of reasons. I didn’t know enough to teach her or set her up for success. It wasn’t safe, because I didn’t know how to teach her TO be safe, and I didn’t know how to coach a new shooter to keep them from doing unsafe things like finger-on-the-trigger when it shouldn’t be or keeping the muzzle down range. Plus I started her on the same gun I started on… a 12 gauge pump. It wasn’t a fun experience for her, and it was a scary experience for me because… NOT safe and I could see it wasn’t but I had no idea how to fix it.
Eventually she learned to shoot competently and well enough to have fun, but it was a really rough start, and at my hands.
It’s part of why I’m passionate about teaching well - because I started so badly.
Now I really push people to start with a qualified trainer, coach or teacher. Your spouse / sweetheart / sibling / parent / uncle / neighbor may be a great shot (or maybe not as great a shot as they think) but unless they’re a firearms teacher… get a firearms teacher.
and yes… I’m a fan of taking people in your sphere of influence to the range so they can try shooting, especially when they’re in a teachable moment and you can change their views… but I say that with trepidation as well, always remembering how that was the first time I took my sister shooting. If you’re going to take friends, and you’re not a teacher, think about inviting the most experienced (pro or amateur) teacher you know to go with you.