I thought it was important to create a top-level page that highlights some of the people who have inspired me to get off my butt and start off down the road to financial independence. This won’t be a long list, but it is significant for me. I highly reccomend that you read up on some of these folks – I’ve learned a lot from them!

Ben Schlappig (aka “Lucky”) – Travel blogger at onemileatatime.net

One of my passions in life has always been traveling. More specifically, premium airline travel to far off international destinations. Ben is basically the guy who inspired me to decide to ditch the corporate life, and I owe him big time for that! He’s a kid in his early 20’s who makes a very good living flying around the world in first class and writing about it. Really, how much better can it get than that? I should note that he is the only blogger that I follow that makes me insanely jealous every time he posts – mostly because he is writing about his latest first-class airline travel adventure, while I’m stuck in my corporate cubicle slaving away for the man.

What makes Ben so inspiring to me is how mature he is for is age and success level. His twitter and Facebook followers are in the 5 digits each, so he’s basically an internet superstar – yet he’s calm and cool and as nice as could be – even when the inevitable hater leaves a nasty comment on his blog or Facebook page.

He earns a majority of his income through credit card affiliate links and sign up bonuses. He also has an award-booking business to assist others in obtaining frequent-flyer awards, which seems to be successful based on how much he tweets about the adventures he has booking these award reservations for other people.

It’s unknown how much longer he’ll be able to survive on credit card referrals alone (that niche is getting downright crowded), but he’s a bright kid and I very much look forward to seeing how he evolves his business to keep doing what he loves – as well as avoiding having to get a real job.

Stockguy22 (real name: Frank) – Full time swing trader and owner of Stockguy22.com

I credit Frank as the guy who cleansed me of my bad trading habits and set me straight. I discovered his Twitter feed back in early 2010 just as I was starting to get back into swing trading, and it was perfect timing because I’ve always been a bit of an impatient drama queen when it comes to trading stocks. Frank taught me to chill out, not to worry, and relax. Best of all, he proved to me that with the right mindset, trading really isn’t all that difficult.

Not only is he a great swing trader, he is probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met. One look at that Twitter feed that I mentioned above will show that he loves teaching and helping new traders, and he takes the time to answer questions as much as time allows during the trading session. Best of all, he often holds free “webinars” on the weekends where he’ll summarize the week and take questions from listeners.

Frank is just an all around nice guy with a calm and cool attitude. He doesn’t call tops and bottoms – he doesn’t seem to care actually – and he just trades what he sees. The combination of these attributes have made him very successful in life and business which is something I strive for every day.