I purchased my machine and took lessons. Then I started embroidering. I thought my first attempts were wonderful but experience certainly helps and I'm still learning. As with so many things, the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Technique varies according to what is being embroidered but I've show the basic steps in this post.
In addition to purchasing the machine, I purchased threads. I now own almost 100 colors and always see more that I want. Then I needed several different types of stabilizer and many designs! I've lost count of the designs I own and am always buying more. I would estimate that I now have at least 500 designs and maybe more. And then there was another big purchase, software. I have a program that allows me to change the colors, size, shape, and eventually digitize some of my own designs. I can then put everything together as the customer has requested, make it into a jpeg image and e-mail it to the customer to see if they like the design before I stitch it.