One of the reasons that I think that I am ok with being self-employed is the fact that I got to watch my father be self-employed. My father ended up being my role-model when I was forced into self-employment. That is not actually surprising considering that his road to self-employment was also forced upon him.
My father grew up in farmland USA (Nebraska), living in a small town. He ended up dropping out of junior high to work (I believe it was simple economics, but I am not sure). When he married my mom, they moved first to Omaha, then to Colorado (Commerce City--then Denver).
The first job that I remember him having were working for a newspaper and magazine distributor (Nelson News, I believe they were called)...this is remembered simply because I ended up with a copy of every children book that they stocked. The second job he had (that I remember) was him working for a snack distributor (one of the items stocked was Boston Potato Chips which had a cute bear on the bag)--to this day, I still think of beef jerky and potato chips as a proper meal (it isn't if my wife is to be believed).
After that, Dad worked as a delivery driver for a produce company. Later when he decided to move into sales, he taught himself the ins and outs of the stuff he was selling by reading lots and lots of catalogs and product brochures. This self-teaching style ended up being my style of learning also--I tend to immerse myself into research projects with tables buried under books.
Now, each one of these career moves were advances in the family fortunes. Alas, all good things come to an end. In this case, Dad decided to support the union that was trying to organize the employees of the produce market area...an act that got him fired and black-balled from doing any more produce work.
At least, working for someone else that is.
As a result of not being able to find any work, he started his own produce company (out of our garage, later we had a warehouse inside a out-of-commission grain elevator). A lot of my business tactics come from him...but probably only the good ones.
It was the result of this that when I became more-or-less permanently unemployed, I decided to try my hand (once again) at self-employment.
Was it a wise choice...well we will see. As for the outcome of my father's self-employment, that is a story for another day.