Read the owner's manual completely if one is available.
Wear closed-toed shoes and protective eye wear while mowing.
Check that the mower's fuel reservoir is sufficiently filled and that the oil levels are appropriate.
Mount the mower. Engage the parking brake. The mower won't start unless the brake is engaged.
Push the left and right steering levers outward, if your mower has them. The mower won't start unless the levers are in the outer position.
Make sure the blade button is in the off position. The mower won't start if the blades are engaged.
Pull the choke button up, and slide the throttle to its highest (fastest) position.
Turn the ignition key to "start," and when the engine starts, push down on the choke button, turning off the choke.
Release the parking brake. Ease the mower forward by pushing the steering lever, or levers, forward slowly. If your mower is equipped with a gas pedal, gently put pressure on it until the mower moves forward. Guide the mower to the part of the yard where you'll begin mowing.
Stop the mower when you've reached your starting point, and pull up on the blade button. This engages the blades, so be certain there are no people or animals in your path. Once again, gently accelerate until you've reached a comfortable operating speed.
Make long, sweeping passes over the lawn. Avoid sharp turns. Rather than mowing up and down a hill, traverse it, moving from one side to the other.