1. Start with a kit already put together - you'll save time and money by buying a kit rather than trying to find all the right thread colors and materials and putting your first project together on your own. Our hobby store sold very small kits for less than $5.00 ... that's what I'd go with if you've never tried this before.
2. It's not a hard skill to master, but DEFINITELY read the instructions all the way through before starting out. There are a lot of tips on that tiny piece of paper. Also, keep the instructions for reference; I had to read through a few steps several times before I mastered the technique.
3. Don't feel limited to hanging the item on a wall! Take your finished project and frame it on your desk at work or give it to someone who will appreciate it. I like to display my projects around the places I work. It always gives me a mini confidence boost to inwardly say "I made that!" when I walk by.
After completing the kit, I dove headfirst into creating a masterpiece of my own for my sister who was moving into her first house with her husband. I made several mistakes (including buying the wrong kind of thread for the project), and there were things that I would have done differently (make a border or something to fill in the white space), but all in all I was pretty proud of my creation!
It's not just for grannies! Think outside the cross stitch box! Have fun!