I have shared my story on how I quit my day job on this blog before. It's a topic I'm pretty passionate about, and there has never been a better or easier time to strike out on your own than now. Yes, now, recession and all. The idea that there is any kind of job security is a myth anyway.
For me, the path from corporate cog to captain of my own destiny was supported by a couple of key resources along the way. The first one was reading Pam Slim's Escape From Cubicle Nation. In this book Pam addresses a lot of the psychological blocks that prevent us from leaving a well-paid corporate gig that we feel we have no right to be unhappy in. Getting past that was probably the hardest part for me and this book helped me break through it.
Chris Guillebeau has a new book out called the $100 Startup. As e.m.papers made the cut to be interviewed for the book and is listed as an - ahem - 'rock star business' in it, I got to read an advance copy (you can see it sneaking out from under the hard copy.) This book is a fantastic guide that picks up where Escape leaves off. It provides real-world, concrete strategic and tactical steps for starting a small business. I had the benefit of using Chris's Empire Building Kit, which is also really helpful, but I sure wish this book was published when I was getting started! He's also got some great free resources on the site here.
Finally, for the day-to-day inspiration required to persevere with your dream of meaningful, self-determined work, I like to look to the work of Cathi Burns at workisnotajob. She produces posters (like the one shown above), t-shirts and clothing with short, to the point words of wisdom about why the transition from a 'job' to real work is so important.