The first step in making your soap is to decide on what ingredients you are going to use and to make sure you have all of the required ingredients. You also have to consider the soap making tools that are required, before you go out and purchase spatulas.....check around your kitchen and see what you have that would be good for making soap. I have my own set of soap making essentials. I do not use my kitchen items for making soap.
You need a soap calculator to create your soap recipe. I found this great Soap Calculator on the internet and have been pleased with the results, there are several out there, you just have to do a google search to find the one that works for you.
I know a very common question about soap, is how is made and what is saponification? These are good questions to ask when you are starting to make home made soap. All part of the proces of being a newbie!
Where to start...at the beginning of course. You have decided on your recipe, purchased your ingredients and the required tools. If you don't have a recipe to use there are lots on the internet, just google cold process soap making recipes and pick one of your choice. You might decide on a small recipe to get started with....your choice.
There are so many oils to choose from. Olive oil and canola oils can be found in most grocery stores, but to find more specific oils like shea butter, you might have to find a Health food store or a soap/candle making outlet that sells supplies for making soap.