Entrepreneurship is no easy feat. It takes a lot of courage, passion and skill to build a business from the ground up, and anyone who does this should be proud of their accomplishments.

Most importantly, entrepreneurs should keep their eye on the big picture during these moments of achievement: There are always key takeaways or lessons from these successes that can guide you along your journey.

We asked a group of business leaders to share their proudest moments as entrepreneurs and what they learned from the experience. Get inspired by these victories and remember to celebrate all your wins, big and small.

Quitting your day job

For entrepreneurs who start their business as a side hustle, the eventual goal is usually to make it their main focus. One of the proudest moments as an entrepreneur is finally walking away from your day job to focus full time on your entrepreneurial venture, says Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance.

"Usually, that means that your operation is generating enough revenue to where you can have it as your sole career -- certainly a moment that comes with a lot of pride," he adds.

Seeing your product in action

Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, says entrepreneurs often take tremendous pride in seeing their product in action.

"There's nothing quite like stumbling across a random website and seeing that they use our product," Wells says. "It really makes you realize how you're helping other people and businesses when you can see it with your own eyes in real life."

Turning a profit

Many entrepreneurs are warned that they won't start turning a profit for the first couple of years they're in business, so it's an incredible feeling when you start generating more money than you're spending. Bryce Welker, CEO of Beat The CPA, describes this moment as "euphoric."

"I couldn't believe that something I had built from the ground up could actually generate value," he says. "The rush of making something from nothing was so powerful that it's been my core motivator ever since."

Building a culture you can be proud of

For Kristin Kimberly Marquet, founder of Fem Founder, the family-like culture she's built in her primary business has been a great source of pride. 

"Four of the six team members have been with my company since its inception more than 10 years ago, and I’ve spent that time building a culture that is warm and welcoming," she explains.

Growing your team

Hiring new team members is an exciting moment for any company. Matthew Capala, CEO of Alphametic, says he still has moments of disbelief that he has maintained and grown a business that can create jobs and opportunities for others.

"It is larger than me, and that is the biggest reward of life -- changing others’ lives for the better," Capala says. "I consider hiring to be my ongoing proud moment."

Completing a successful first year

We've all heard the statistics about high startup failure rates, so hitting your first anniversary in business is a big milestone.

"When we hit our first year as a company it really made me feel like what we were doing had a great chance of success," says Anthony Saladino, co-founder and CEO of Kitchen Cabinet Kings. "It made me realize I wanted to feel this way every year going forward."

Overcoming failures

Mistakes are an inevitable part of launching any business. What's important is that you learn from these missteps and come back stronger than ever, says John Rampton, founder of Calendar.

"I doubled up on my success with multiple businesses that now have traction and are growing," he explains. "I'm glad I didn't give up and just go back to a traditional job. Instead, I started again and built it up, believing I could do it -- and I did!"

Creating something from nothing

Every entrepreneur experiences moments of doubt, both from themselves and others around them. But this doubt didn't stop Jaime Manteiga, founder of Venkon, from pushing forward.

"Trusting myself even when others wouldn’t share my vision was one of the toughest experiences," says Manteiga. "Now, I look back and feel proud of having a team that trusts and moves toward the same goal. Getting positive results out of an idea that once was nothing was one of the proudest moments of my life."

Published on: Jul 16, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.