Conceptualising self-employment income in the UK

This exploratory piece of research investigates the under-analysed issue of how the self-employed conceptualise their income, in terms of their own cognitive measurement of their earnings derived from self-employment.

ACCA research report no. 113

Gordon Allinson
St Chad’s College, Durham

Paul Braidford
St Chad’s College, Durham

Ian Stone
St Chad’s College and Durham Business School



Using questions based on these issues, the methodology involved 30 interviews, held in mid 2008, with self-employed workers who had been trading for at least three years, spread throughout the UK and broadly stratified by age of owner and type of business. Interviewees were asked about their working definitions and components of income (employment, pensions, etc), comparators used in setting income targets, and metrics profiling the owner and business. Interviewees were also asked about their experiences of and ambitions for business growth, and how personal income had changed with increases in sales.