There's my real dad, whose love and support have helped me get where I am today. Not many parents would trust their high school kid to take control of thousands of dollars of Bar Mitzvah money, but he and my mom took a chance on me that's helped me get to where I am today.
Then there's Gregg, one of my subscribers who's gone on to become a $10 million dollar trader. I love following his successes and look to his example for ways to improve my own trading strategies.
And finally, there's Tim Grittani - my best student - who's turned a few thousand dollars into more than $2.7 million in just four years. I guess, at first, you could say that I was his dad, but now, it's his success that inspires me. I'm honored to have played a role in everything he's achieved, and I'm happy for the chance to learn from the trader he's become.
I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have so many "fathers," but the thing is, even if your family isn't supportive of your goals - whether they're related to penny stock trading or not - you can find people to look up to. These mentors - wherever you find them - can be powerful role models that'll give you the inspiration to succeed and the motivation to keep going when things get tough.
I'm not alone in my feelings on the importance of mentorship. Plenty of successful traders and business people rely on their networks to help them learn new things, make tough decisions and overcome challenges. Here are just five examples:
5 Great Entrepreneurs on Mentorship
Rod Ebrahimi, CEO and co-founder, ReadyforZero
"As an aspiring company-builder, you always find yourself in situations where you "don't know what you don't know" but you have to stay in motion and make decisions regardless. Without a savvy guide, in the form of a mentor, you may wind up making crucial early mistakes that would have otherwise been avoidable. The smaller your company, the faster you need to move, often without enough information to make perfect choices."
Here, Rod's talking mostly about business entrepreneurs, but his lessons are just as relevant to many of the new traders I work with.
When you're first starting out trading penny stocks, there's so much you don't know. But you can't wait for a time when you know everything. That's just not going to happen. You're never going to be 100% sure of a trade - but you have to dive in anyways.
No trading teacher can completely eliminate this kind of risk for you, but they can help you avoid making the same mistakes they did. Finding and working with the right teacher can cut your training time down significantly - not to mention save you serious money by helping you avoid unnecessary losses.
Mhairi Petrovic, founder, Out-Smarts Marketing
"As an entrepreneur it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. My mentors have always been able to see things from a different perspective and help me stay on track."
Again, Mhairi's statement applies just as well to traders as it does to entrepreneurs.
Having a trading teacher gives you access to a perspective that'll take you years to develop on your own. Teachers have "been there, done that," so they can help you look at situations from a more experienced viewpoint that you'll have when you're first getting started.
That said, all of that means that you have to be extra careful when it comes to choosing a teacher. If you're going to be following a mentor's guidance, you have to be sure that the mentor does the kind of trading you want to do.
If you want to learn penny stock trading, don't follow a teacher who trades blue chips. They might be experts in the field, but their perspective will still be wrong for you.
Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Atlantic
"If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always have had a great mentor at some point along the road. If you want success then it takes hard work, hard work and more hard work. But it also takes a little help along the way. If you are determined and enthusiastic then people will support you.
If you are looking to make your way in business, try to find a mentor. If you are in a position to share the skills you have learned, give something back by becoming a mentor yourself."
Some people seem to have a stigma against working with a teacher or mentor, but if it's good enough for Richard Branson? It's probably good enough for you!
I love his statement that "If you want success, then it takes hard work, hard work and more hard work." That's true for both entrepreneurs and stock traders. Too many teachers will try to tell you that trading stocks is a quick way to riches, but it's not. Learning the strategies is an uphill battle, and it's something you have to fight for every day if you want the perks that come along with it.
But you don't have to go up that hill alone. A mentor or teacher can't do your learning for you, but they can help make the journey easier.
Vik Khanna, chairman and co-founder, National Education Technologies
"Mentors become part of our DNA; we incorporate their lessons and gain from their experience. (Mentors) have helped my pursuit of knowledge and molded my core values and character."
Vik's thoughts on mentorship make me think of something I mentioned earlier: the importance of finding the right teacher. As he says, "mentors become part of our DNA."
How crazy is that??
When you bring on a mentor or teacher, they're going to shape the way you work and the decisions you make. For that reason more than any other, you've got to be sure you're working with a person whose skills and experiences you want for yourself.
Too many beginners jump on the first teaching opportunity that they come across. They have so much to learn - surely working with any mentor that's willing to give them a shot will help them get ahead, right?
I'd urge you to be more cautious.
Your time is too valuable to waste on the wrong teachers. Instead of taking the first opportunity you see, take some time to really think about what you want to get out of a mentorship arrangement. What do you want to learn? How will a mentor's teachings advance your career, and what would the outcomes of a successful mentorship look like for you?
If you want to get rich - whether through business, stock trading or anything else - don't follow a teacher who isn't rich (or who can't prove that they're as rich as they say). What can they teach you about living the life you want if they aren't actually living it themselves?
Choosing a mentor this way takes a lot more work, but trust me - it's worth it. An average teacher will get you average results. A truly great mentor - one who's done the things you want to do and is willing to show you the way - will help you get the results you deserve.
Do you have a mentor? If so, share you how you found your teacher and what you've gained from the arrangement by leaving a comment below: