The Steem.Chat #help channel is a channel with volunteers providing daily responses to users. When you join the channel, take some time to read the pinned messages for important announcements and directives; they can be brought up by clicking on the pushpin symbol 📌. If you can't find an answer to your question in the resources that are pinned there, type your question in the chat channel. The users in the channel will do their best to try and help. There may not be someone around when you ask your question, but usually you'll get a response within 24 hours.
The sign-up is done in two steps:
When Steemit creates an account for you, they are paying your account creation fee. Each account they create costs them STEEM (money). The reason that the approval process takes so long is because they need to manually verify each account to ensure that users are not abusing the free sign-up. In the future, the process will be streamlined to accomodate the increasing number of sign-ups. Steemit will only create one free account per user, to prevent abuse. For additional accounts, read the sections below.
Unfortunately, there is no way whatsoever to recover a lost or forgotten password. When an account is created, the password is randomly generated on your device and is NOT stored on the blockchain nor on Steemit's servers. Since Steemit will only create one free account per user, you will have to create a new account yourself by paying the minimal fee. Refer to the Sign-up Alternatives listed below.
When you get your new account, backup the password properly and do not lose it again.
Users are not required to use Steemit.com sign-up process to create an account.
If you are willing to pay the minimal account creation fee (currently 3 STEEM), there are third-party services such as SteemConnect, AnonSteem, BlockTrades and QuickSteem that you can use to create your own account.
Those alternatives are independent of Steemit and do not require anyone to approve your account.
The account creation fee is added as Steem Power to the new account. Steem Power gives you bandwidth, which is needed to transact on the Steem blockchain: post, transfer funds, vote, etc.
SteemConnect allows you to create a new account instantly, simply by paying the account creation fee. However, using this service requires an existing Steem/Steemit account (your personal account, a friend, or family member). Therefore, it is quick and great for creating additional accounts for yourself, family or friends. A detailed SteemConnect Sign-up Guide can help you get started.
AnonSteem allows you to create an account by paying the account creation fee, plus an additional fee for using their service. AnonSteem does not require you to have an existing Steem/Steemit account. They accept STEEM, Bitcoin (BTC), and Litecoin (LTC).
BlockTrades is similar to AnonSteem, it allows the creation of an account anonymously. Their service fee is 1 STEEM. BlockTrades does not require you to have an existing Steem/Steemit account. They accept BitShares coins, STEEM, Steem Dollar, Bitcoin, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin.
QuickSteem allows the quick creation of an account anonymously for an ultra-low price. They accept BitShares coins, STEEM, Steem Dollar, Bitcoin, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin. Check this guide on how to use their service.
All those services are safe to use. They do not require any email or phone number verifications.
NOTE: When you do not signup via steemit.com, in the event of a stolen account, you must contact the service or person who created your account to assist you in the recovery.