Go along to an Autotest, have a look at how things work and decide on which area of the sport to get involved in, marshaling or driving. Marshaling at events really helps you to get to know your future competitors and get your head around learning the tests before you part with any cash!
If you decide to become a competitor, the car class to enter will be dictated by your budget, but keep in mind that some affordable modifications to the suspension setup, having an effective handbrake and reducing weight will help make the car faster and more competitive.
Typical first cars are Toyota Starlets as they are quite reliable and robust, they even have a class where they are the vehicle of choice if you want to win! Starlets dominate both the Up to 1350cc Class D and the Large Specials Class B1.
There is a Novice class in the Hewison Championship known as the Europa Cup. It is perfect for beginners and awards are given to every class, after moving on from being a novice there is a semi-expert section of the series too.
Most find remembering the tests the biggest challenge but competitors will help direct you through the tests if you get lost, it wont take long to get used to reading and remembering tests, after your first few events failed tests will become very rare.