Recently a friend of mine who understands my passion for Drone Photography asked what steps he could take for starting a drone business with no money?   Up until now, I hadn’t given that much thought.  Since my aspirations about starting a drone business are; to build a portfolio, and to write about my adventures, but, to do so while maintaining my day job.  So, since my desire is different than his, I hadn’t given the prospect of starting a drone business with no money much credibility.   Sometime maybe I’ll start a drone business, but right now, I have mouths to feed, college to save for, and a wife with upscale tastes.  Not to mention I kinda dig my day job, so now is not the time. I do however like helping people. I’m keen on helping people explore career paths and financial decisions related to the drone industry, so I was happy to offer my few cents.

Here is what I told him:

#1 work for free to get your portfolio in the limelight.

Don’t quit your day job, until you have enough orders to sustain your current lifestyle.  My suggestion is to have 6 month’s salary in the bank, which I’ll admit is a bit counter intuitive to starting a drone business with no money, but having a fall-back plan is, well, just sensible.. You don’t need to be reckless, there will be plenty of business out there in 6,12, or even 36 months.  So be patient.  Rash decisions, often result in disastrous outcomes.

Once you get to the point where you’ve met the above-mentioned prerequisites, and you’ve earned your Part 107 designation, it’s time to start prospecting.  Your livelihood depends on it now!

Hopefully you’ve been putting your images on Social Media and have amassed a small following.  Ask if anyone who follows you, is looking for drone work.

#2 Prospect for Drone Jobs:

It all about marketing and we want to do so in the most effective, yet low-budget manner.  For starters, analyze your competition by searching the Activeairmen registry on the FAA site- Here

If you look at Platt County, Missouri there are 79 Part 107 License holders.  Assuming those folks are all looking for Drone Jobs, your competition for jobs is at a premium.  However, if you’re ok with traveling an hour or two Southeast of Platt County to Osage or Ozark County, you have very little competition.  There are only 8 and 3 Part 107 holders in those counties, respectively. For someone interested in getting their name out there as a real estate Drone Pilot, Osage County would be perfect to market in.  Believe me, there are some really nice multi-million dollar homes for sale in Osage and Ozark Counties, and they would certainly welcome pictures taken from a drone, rather than the same old tired pictures taken from the ground.

So think outside the box, and the business requests will start piling up!

#3 Place an ad, (or answer one) on these sites who connect freelance drone pilots with those looking to hire one.

Indeed.com

Planomatic.com 

Then there’s the most intriguing; DroneBase.com.  The site was founded by Dan Burton, a Harvard MBA graduate and a Marine Infantry Officer.  It’s mission is to “provide fast affordable, reliable data”.  So, in order to accomplish this mission they need Pilots to gather this data.  If your interested in getting paid to fly your drone, Dronebase.com may be a perfect fit.   You simply create a profile, review the available missions; choose the one you want, Fly the mission, then upload the ‘goods’ the mission is calling for.  And whammo!  You get paid!  Choose as many jobs as you want or as few, you’re the boss!

So there ya have it; if you’re looking to start a drone business with no money, use this roadmap and I promise your business will soar as high as your Mavic 2 Pro can!