Daymond John Of ‘Shark Tank’ On His Mother’s Influence: ‘I Couldn’t Let Her Down’

Daymond John is a self-made business mogul and entrepreneur, but the Shark Tank investor is quick to credit those who have influenced him in his rise to the top. In a new interview with People, John singles out his mother as a driving force of his own ambition.

John’s parents divorced when he was 12. By that time, his once-idyllic neighborhood in Hollis, Queens, had become more vulnerable to crime. As John tells it, his mother’s example kept him on the straight path.

“I had a great relationship with my mom. I couldn’t let her down.”

John’s mother worked several jobs, including selling handmade items at the local flea market. It taught the future co-founder of FUBU an important lesson about hard work and motivated him to succeed.

“She held down two and three jobs at a time. I always saw her working and I wanted to work. There was never a job I didn’t like.”

This is not the first time John has identified the influence his mother has had on his life and his business success. Writing on his blog last fall, John said his mother was an important mentor in his life, along with his stepfather, business associates, and his two daughters.

“Even though we were poor, my mother found a way, whether putting me up with family or close friends, to make sure I developed global view. The impact that had on me is quite profound. It taught me to appreciate a variety of cultures, and broadened my outlook on the world.”

She taught him to view money as a tool that should work for him and not the other way around, telling her son: “money is a great slave but a horrible master.”

John emphasized that mentors are everywhere in a person’s life and not restricted to those in business relationships.

Now as an investor on Shark Tank, John looks for the right entrepreneur to back in addition to a successful business. He told Inc. he likes to invest in problem-solvers, and often learns as much from those in whom he invests as they learn from him.

Shark Tank returns to ABC in the fall. Its spin-off, Beyond the Tank, which follows Shark Tank pitchers after their appearance airs, will also return for a limited run. John and the other five sharks will all make up the core cast in the new season.

[Photo by Michael Kovac / Getty Images Entertainment]