One of the things I've seen consistently from first and second timers is that they're uncertain as to the mark to be hit (ala. not understanding what the desire result is).
That, and party too hard Friday night... If at all possible, see if you can judge a
contest. See first-hand what's presented and why some are scored high and others low. That will go a long way in your journey. Oh, BTW, WELCOME.
Finding a team can be tough. Honestly, I've just now added my 3rd person, and the 2nd was my wife. My friend has been a friend for 30 years and we both enjoy cooking. That, for me, made a great team member. Plus, he has the desire, and he'll show up. The worst thing would be having to depend on someone and them not deliver for you. I dont know any magic here...