This is an awesome guest write up about getting started in aerial photography for hire. If you like this one, be sure to visit dronemultimedia.org for more.
Backstory - Introduction
Hello readers from around the world, my name is Michael Diaz! I am the founder of Drone Multimedia. Check us out at http://dronemultimedia.org/ I am very excited to share with you my story of how I created a small business and a passive income stream using only a drone and a laptop. (and a few marketing tools ☺)
A little bio about myself - I am a recent graduate of the University of Florida. I studied Information Systems and Entrepreneurship in college which really set me off in the right direction. I am currently a full time employee at a top Fortune500 company as well as a real estate agent. As a hobby, I maintain an Instagram @DroneMultimedia where I share the best aerial photography and videography from across the globe, promote products, advertise, and much more. The community is 50,000+ strong and growing. On to my story…
It all began when I got my first drone at 21 years old. It was a DJI Phantom 1 (http://www.dji.com/phantom) with no camera attached to it. Luckily, I had a GoPro Hero 3 Black which I was able to mount to it. This was my very first time flying a drone so it definitely took a few weeks of test flights before I really got the hang of it. I initially did not have any intention of monetizing my drone, as I simply viewed it as a hobby. See some of my first ever photos below:
Because I got my drone right when they first became popular, I started to get a lot of attention when I would post aerial photos. Everyone that saw my photos marveled about how awesome they were and how much they enjoyed seeing a new perspective on things they may have seen 1000 times. (ex. Century Tower) This is the moment I knew I was on to something. The gears began to turn in my head and I started to think back to my entrepreneurship classes and also my real estate courses. I realized there was a need that currently wasn’t being met. Put simply, real estate agents need to sell buildings. In order to sell buildings, they need quality pictures of these buildings. And from that point on, I decided I was going to sell photo and video packages to people who were trying to sell real estate.
How I got started - the discovery phase
Once my mind was made up that real estate photography was going to be the avenue to make money, I started researching how other businesses were successfully doing it. I googled the most successful aerial photography businesses out there and tried to understand how they were formulating their deals, communicating to their customers, and how they were running their business. I then began to call local aerial photography businesses as a customer to see how they would quote me, what their procedure was, and how they planned to deliver the content. I consider this the discovery phase. This is where I read up on FAA regulations (https://www.faa.gov/uas/), where I created my very first website (gnmmultimedia.weebly.com) and I began reaching out to local real estate agents.
Takeaways from Discovery Phase
Once I had these essential facets of my business set up, it was time for me to find my very first client. This is where I entered what I call the “Bust your ass” phase of starting a business.
The "bust your ass" phase
I will now outline and summarize how I would acquire clients and fulfill orders.
This phase took a lot of patience and trial and error. I would modify my email campaigns, Facebook page, cold call script, website, and Instagram on a weekly basis until I figured out what worked. Once I found someone that was interested I would determine a few things.
The $$ Phase – My First Deal
If you have read this far, truly thank you for your time.
My first deal came about when I leveraged my personal network. I got help from a good friend who worked at an apartment complex to get my “foot in the door.” I was able to close a deal with them for 20 photos for roughly $200 dollars. Not a huge amount, but hey I knew I was on the right track. From that point forward, I would go to each apartment complex and show how the other had just bought my awesome aerial photos and they would get FOMO (Feeling of missing out) and buy my package. I repeated this process until I took pictures of every apartment complex on a particularly populated street. With each photo shoot, I would add the photos to my website and become more and more legitimate. At the same time, they may have seen my advertising, social media, and more that would further my image as a legitimate business.
The $$ Phase Pt. 2 – The Real Money
Once I had a functioning business model and some clients, I quickly began to learn how to sell my product effectively and how to make the most $$. Here I will summarize some of my takeaways:
I currently employ many of these tactics to actively close drone deals. I will continue to create blog posts if people want to learn more. I have a lot of insight that I can deliver in the world of drones, marketing, startups, branding, real estate, and more.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read about my story. To read more visit http://dronemultimedia.org/