We started with a package of bees installed into a top bar hive in Spring 2014. We did a walk-away split into a langstroth in early summer. Both hives survived the first winter. Spring of 2015 we created 2 nucs, and in the summer we moved into full boxes.
Keeping bees is a ton of fun. Its so neat to watch them make more bees, comb, and honey.
For a backyard beekeeper, it only requires an hour a week. Online communities/forums can answer any questions you have, as can your local beekeeper association. The bees do all the hard work, you just need to not get in their way.