Before he turned 40, Steve Jobs revealed a numbers of tips, hacks, and sage advice for entrepreneurs--and everyone else, too. Sometimes your ticket to stardom is simply listening to those who have been there, done that, and achieved great success. There are very few new types of wheels to invent. If someone has already blazed the trail for you, enjoy it. Learn lessons the easy way when you can. Listen.
Here are six major revelations Steve Jobs had before the age of 40, and how you can use them in your venture or small business. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs tend to make things tougher than they need to be. There are mentors all around you, but it's up to you to actively listen and then apply the advice.
1. On settling
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." There's no difference between a great love and a great love of your work. Follow your intuition--it will never lead you astray.
2. On computers
"Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn." This might seem obvious now, but sometimes it's the simplest things that can be confusing. Jobs was right, and technology continues to revolutionize learning and how we live our daily lives. Every day can be a revolution, and entrepreneurs are a big part of it.
3. On people
"Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them." While revelation number 2 still holds true, technology (at least for now) is nothing without people. Believe in yourself, your partners, your investors, your employees, and your customers. They're the backbone of your venture.
4. On the little things
"Who wants a stylus? You have to get 'em and put 'em away, and you lose 'em. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus." This might not be as extraordinary as some of his other revelations, but look deeper. How many people do you know today who actually use a stylus? They're a special breed. Jobs was right then, and he's right now. Keep things simple because a tool existing for no real reason is pointless.
5. On discipline(s)
"To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, it requires a lot of disciplines." There are dreamers, there are doers, and then there are in-betweeners. The best entrepreneurs are in-betweeners. Ideas are great, but are nothing without action--and vice versa.
6. On patience and understanding
"It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we'd given customers what they said they wanted, we'd have built a computer they'd have been happy with a year after we spoke to them--not something they'd want now." The customer isn't always right (and the customer wants instant gratification). Sometimes you need to listen to your gut and your research in order to really give customers what they want--not what they think they want.
Jobs may be gone, but Apple is blazing forward and you should, too. He was one of the greats, so learn from his revelations and apply them to your own actions. Whether you've founded a tech startup or a creative-centric daycare, there are many elements of entrepreneurship that are the same across the board. Business lessons are business lessons, period.