8 Ways to Know if You Have a Job or Own a Business

01 Aug 2016

John Warrillow

John Warrillow is the founder of five companies, and the bestselling author of "Built To Sell: Creating A Business That Can Thrive Without You," which was recognized by both Fortune and Inc. magazines as one of the best books of 2011. His new book is titled "The Automatic Customer: Creating A Subscription Business In Any Industry." A regular contributor to Inc.com and The Globe and Mail, Warrillow was called one of the “Top Ten Business-To-Business Marketers” by B2B Marketing. Assessing businesses for over 15 years, he shares his expertise in areas ranging from entrepreneurship, sellability and the benefits of subscription-based marketing to build and sustain success.

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The ultimate test of your business can be found in a simple question: would someone want to buy your company? Whether you want to sell next year or a decade from now, you must be building an asset someone would buy – otherwise, you have a job, you do not own a business.

Here are eight ways to ensure you are building a company, not just doing a job:

  1. A job requires that you show up at work to make money, whereas a company generates revenue whether you are there or not.
  1. If your company is so reliant on a single customer that they can dictate how you deliver your product or service, your company is more like a job than a valuable business.
  1. A job is a place where your personal reputation impacts your results, whereas a company is a place where the brand is more important than the personality of the founder(s).
  1. A job requires you to use your personal experience and expertise to get a result, whereas a company is a place where a process – not a person – consistently produces a desirable result.

Also on StartupNation.com: The Hierarchy of Recurring Revenue


  1. In a job, you get fired for taking too much vacation, whereas if you own a company, the more vacation you can take without impacting your company’s performance, the more valuable your business will be.
  1. In a job, the harder you work, the more money you earn. In a company, the smarter you work, the more money you earn.
  1. In a job, you solve the problems. If you own a company, your employees solve the problems.
  1. If the majority of your customers know your mobile phone number, it’s likely you have a job, not a company.

If you’re not sure whether you have a job or own a business, it’s time to get your Value Builder Score. Whether you want to sell now or in a decade, the Value Builder Score assessment allows you to see your business as a buyer would see it, and to identify how you perform on each of the eight key drivers of company value. The questionnaire takes about 13 minutes to complete, and after you’re finished, you’ll get a customized 27-page report outlining how you performed and where you could improve the value and sellability of your company.

You can complete the questionnaire here, or by clicking on the button below.


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