Lessons Learned Through Independent Safety Pro Contracting

by Kevin Kirk, CSP, CSM

As an independent contractor in the EHS Industry, I have learned countless lessons about business, entrepreneurship, and personal growth. It has been a challenging yet rewarding experience that has allowed me to work with like-minded companies and individuals to help enhance their safety cultures. Alternatively, I’ve also worked with clients whose values toward safety did not align with mine. Here are my lessons learned through EHS contract or short-term gig work:  

First and foremost, independent contracting has taught me the utmost importance of time management and organization skills. I am responsible for my own schedule, tasks, and deadlines. There is no boss or supervisor breathing down my neck or holding me accountable, and I must rely on myself to stay on top of my responsibilities. This requires discipline, focus, and careful planning to ensure that I complete all my work efficiently and on time. While this may seem daunting, it also comes with the benefit of flexibility in scheduling (while still maintaining your client’s scheduling needs, of course). You are not locked into a typical work schedule. The scheduling flexibility of independent contracting allows you to help clients who might have an emergency and need your support without much notice.    

Second, I’ve learned that networking and building relationships are crucial elements of a successful contractor’s career. I am always seeking new clients and projects to work on. To achieve this, I must put myself out there and sometimes step outside my comfort zone in order to secure new opportunities. This can involve meeting new people, attending industry events, and constantly developing my skills and knowledge. Building these relationships has been an invaluable part of my career and have led to many new business opportunities. Connecting with organizations that offer similar services has also been a great benefit. It allows me to use my expertise to expand their business while sharing their resources to satisfy my clients’ needs. Partnering with organizations like YellowBird has helped boost business and fill gaps based on the services they provide.    

Furthermore, independent contracting has taught me the importance of financial management and budgeting. I am responsible for managing my own finances, including setting prices, budgeting expenses, and calculating taxes. This has required me to become more financially literate and to develop a keen understanding of the financial aspects of running a business. At times this part of the business can be a bit stressful. But budgeting is key. You need to make sure you have enough saved to cover costs when work slows down or you have gaps. Partnering with trustworthy financial advisors helps ease some of the stress as well as helping you develop your financial management skills. 

Overall, my experience with independent contracting has had a profound impact on my life, both personally and professionally. It has taught me a wealth of valuable lessons and has led to numerous personal growth opportunities. I have met many new friends along the way and developed bonds that are invaluable. Though it can be a challenging path, I have found that the benefits make the effort well worth it. I would highly recommend the experience of independent contracting to anyone seeking to develop their entrepreneurial skills and pursue a fulfilling career path. 

About Kevin Kirk, CSP

Kevin, a YellowBird Pro is a goal-driven and detail-oriented leader with over 20 years of consulting project management and risk management across multiple industries including Consumer Goods Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Food & Beverage Production, Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Copper Milling, Education, Alternative Energy, and Commercial Construction. Facilitative and consultative style, capable of engaging matrix teams to create positive, cooperative environments and deliver goals and objectives. Client-focused and dedicated to continuous improvement. Excellent written and verbal communicator, comfortable interacting at all enterprise levels.