Lessons Learned: Three Must-Dos for Entrepreneurial Success

This post is sponsored by Chase Ink®

I’m proud that Reddit is the seventh largest website in the U.S. with millions of users worldwide. But it wasn’t always that way.

When we started, my co-founder Steve Huffman and I faced some enormous hurdles on the meandering pathway from the initial idea to an up-and-running business. 

We made it, but it could have been easier if we knew then what we know now.

Whether you are just launching a new business or are a serial entrepreneur, there are best practices for making the journey a bit easier.

Here are three actions that I believe are must-dos to ensure your company survives and thrives.

1. Embrace your culture. There’s a reason why people want to work for your company, and the paycheck isn’t usually #1. Culture is the glue that holds your team together, that drives people to do their best work. 

But if you grow too fast, you can lose control of that culture. For instance, Reddit has strived to never double our headcount in a single year (I know, I know, a nice problem to have). The point is … stay true to what guides your company. Believe me, it’s what draws customers – and employees – to your brand. 

2. Spend smarter. In the early days of a startup, or when the company hits a growth spurt, it’s easy to lose control of expenses. For me, travel expenses have always been a struggle to control. Because our company is global, I’m always on the move. And that can quickly overwhelm the budget. 

Look for ways to save while spending. You may have seen one way I recommend doing it, in this video. I’ve been a Chase customer for a while, and the new Chase Ink Business Preferred Card helps business owners get something back for their spend on certain purchases important to entrepreneurs. Earn 3x points on travel, internet, cable and phone and in other select business categories.  Points you can redeem down the road, for things like … more travel. Ahh, the circle of life. 

3. Protect your biggest asset … you! At the ripe old age of 33, I’ve finally started to take better care of myself. Not so much in the early days at Reddit. I worked all the time, and I loved it. But there is a cost to bear, both physically and mentally. 

Now, I spend more time exercising and being careful about what I’m eating – and I feel more productive and effective when working. I wish I’d started taking care of myself a lot sooner. Don’t make that mistake. 

At the end of the day, we’re in business to make money. That’s a tough proposition even in good times, but it’s even more difficult if you’re not in control of your business culture, your expenses or your health. 


Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, and other small business owners are finding creative ways to use the rewards points earned on their business credit cards to invest in their business. Learn more about the new Chase Ink Business PreferredSM Card and its flexible and rich rewards.

108 responses
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