Editor’s Note: This is a contribution to our “Thank You Notes: Mentor Matters” series that we’re very excited about. How great is it to have a man that works as a mentor … thank his mentor?! Very great. That’s how great.

In my business dealings with young, and not so young, entrepreneurs starting out I have been reminded of my own roots.

In my mind, I started my photography business when I got my first camera at 12 years old. Fast forward to some incredible jobs over the next 18 years including a rock promoter, record producer, international booking agent, federal parole officer and an international arms dealer. All these took me to my decision to go full time as a photographer. I never stopped enjoying photography as it was my passion but didn’t want to make my passion my work. Ah, how times changed.

I struggled part-time for a few years until I rented a big downtown studio with tons of overhead. I was in over my head and needed help. My buddy and I were commiserating about our business inadequacies over a beer when we noticed an advertisement for business mentoring through the Federal Business Development Bank (now BDC). We both signed up.

Carl deJong was my mentor for an extensive series of workshops designed to give us the ‘tools’ to operate our business the right way. Carl was the inspiration behind my book, “How to Start a Successful Business – the 1st Time” on Amazon. Every entrepreneur needs both a toolkit and a tune-up at times. Mine was due.

Carl ran the business program and knew from experience all the obstacles we encounter during our entrepreneurial journey. There were no recriminations, just support and guidance. He knew what I was going through and showed me that the obstacles could be overcome. Working together with a mentor and not doing it alone was what I needed and embraced. Thanks BDC for hooking me up with a strong mentor.

Carl has been a good friend over the past 25 years. He has been a mentor to me, an advisor to dozens of my clients, a colleague on projects and my financial advisor. Carl selfishly gives his time as an Ambassador at the Vancouver Board of Trade because he sees the value of paying it forward to other entrepreneurs. He is ever-ready to provide guidance to those under him in his Primerica business and is always there night and day for a call from someone asking for business help.

Funny enough Carl, with his vast network, also introduced me to the other amazing mentor in my life, Michael Gerber, the author of the EMyth. Mainly Gerber mentored me from afar but in my meetings with him as a student and later as a partner, his EMyth model of the technician, manager and the entrepreneur abiding in each business owner had a long lasting impact on me.

In this complex world of expanding opportunities, a global market and social media joining us instantly, mentors are more needed now than ever. Thanks to all of you who took the time to offer guidance and advice to someone else because you had it to give. Mentors of the world unite and pay it forward!

Gary C. Bizzo is an international Certified Business Counselor through Acadia University. He has been a Mentor and/or Business Coach to over 1000 business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs.