When I got my license back in the days of the dinosaurs, I was lucky that my dad was a ham. Back then, though, it was common for hams to have a very low power 'exciter' unit and a very high gain, high power amplifier. When my Novice license arrived, I got on the air using my dad's 5 watt exciter. I managed to make quite a few contacts on mostly 80 meters with that arrangement. The next step was an upgrade to a WWII surplus 'spy' transmitter. This little gem put out 15 watts on 80 and 40. I used it for a couple months, and had a lot of fun. Next, Dad built a lower-voltage power supply for his linear, so that I could run it at 75 watts or less. This was woefully inefficient, but it gained me a few watts over the 15 watter. I used this until Christmas, when I got a Knight Kit T-60, which put out a magnificent 45 watts or so, on 80, 40, and 15 meters. So, even though I was dreadfully spoiled, I too started out on QRP and lived to tell the tale!