The world is full of unusual and unexpected ways to make money. These can sometimes be a great idea if you’re wanting to get away from a traditional job or if you’re just trying to make some money on the side.
One such option is the chance to make money with your drone. Needless to say, this is a fairly unusual way to earn some cash and it’s only relevant if you do actually have a drone or plan to get one. But, it is still a viable way to make some cash. This can also be a fun idea if you enjoy using your drone so much that you'd like to learn more about it and spend your spare time becoming a better drone operator.
For that matter, drones are still fairly new technology and there aren’t that many people who have them. As a result, there is more potential in this field than you might initially expect. You're getting in on the ground floor baby!
Drone-Based Video And Photography
The biggest advantage of drones is the ability to take video and photography from the air. This gives you the opportunity to get angles and shots that you simply couldn’t get any other way.
At the same time, cameras on drones have become progressively more powerful, with better lenses and higher resolution. The end result is that you can take pretty amazing images with drones and this opens up an entirely new industry.
The process of taking photographs or video with drones also ends up being fun and you don’t need to be a technical genius to be good at it. Instead, you can simply improve your skills with practice.
Because drones are relatively new, there is also a lot of demand out there. Likewise, there are multiple ways that you can use your drone to make money by just relying on the potential to take videos or photographs. Plus, if you get good at it, you can actually win jobs that “better” photographers could not get because they do not have a drone or do not know how to operate one well enough to get good shots.
Selling Your Services
One of the most common ways to make money in this field is to freelance, where you’re selling the service of being able to take videos and photographs. To do so, you could just target the field in general, or you could focus on a specific area and work on becoming an expert. There are some courses online (another one here, and more out there if you search), although from what I could see, there are not many!
For example, drone video and photography is becoming increasingly popular for weddings. With a drone, you can capture an entirely different perspective of the event and there are many cool examples of this online.
The idea might not appeal to every couple out there but it’s easy to see how there would still be a lot of interest in this type of video.
This approach is typically used as a supplementary form of photography or videography, rather than the main option at a wedding. For this reason, you could potentially work with a wedding photographer as a subcontractor. That way you don't have to worry about the rest of the stuff involved in wedding photos!
There are many other events where photos or videos with a drone make sense. This is particularly true for anything that’s outside. A good place to start is simply to consider events that would normally hire a photographer.
Of course, there are other situations where video or photography services are useful. For example, some companies look for videos that they can use in their marketing.
Likewise, real estate agents are starting to use drone videos and photography as a way of advertising houses and highlighting the most desirable features. So, you could potentially specialize in this area and market yourself in the field.
The potential for success in any of these directions is likely to depend on many factors, including your skill level, the demand and the competition. Nevertheless, these are all ways that you could potentially earn money with your drone and there are many similar examples out there.
Work For Companies As A Drone Contractor
Another option is to work for companies as an employee or a contractor. This is an interesting field because there is demand for people who are skilled at using drones. Likewise, there are many different companies that need drones for a range of reasons.
For example, drones are becoming more common in conservation and environmental regulation work. The drones can make it easier to track illegal activity, such as poaching, and can also help in counting wildlife. In many cases, drones end up being more practical and effective than sending a person into the area.
Drones are also used in disaster relief efforts to provide images and information that couldn’t be obtained in any other way. Another example is businesses that use drone footage as a way of scoping out their competition. It's pretty interesting that drones can be used for both moral and (maybe?) immoral things!
There are plenty of other examples too and over time the uses of drones are likely to increase. As a result, you may be able to get work in this area by directly applying to a company or by looking for opportunities online.
This type of role may not offer the flexibility of running your own business but there may be more job security involved, which can make the trade-off worth it.
Making Money Via YouTube
An entirely different way to take advantage of your drone is through YouTube. This idea plays on how popular drone videos are right now, especially if you can make something truly unique.
The main way that you’d make money here is through YouTube itself, where you can earn a percentage of what advertisers pay. However, ads are only run on some videos and you need a ton of traffic to make the process worthwhile.
If you manage to create something that goes viral or you become a celebrity on YouTube, then the income potential could be high. However, most people who make videos on YouTube don’t earn that much unless they have a large amount of videos. That takes time to build – we're talking years!
After all, there is an excessive number of videos on YouTube as-is, including many that are based on drones already. So, if you wanted to be successful in this area, you would probably need to create something pretty unusual or find a niche audience. Maybe drone shots of wild animals if you live near an area that offers that, or drone shots of beach sunsets if you live near the water. Put some chill vaporwave music in the background and I'd watch it!
Nevertheless, ads aren’t the only way to earn money with YouTube. Some people get involved in affiliate marketing as well or they may use the video to drive traffic to their site.
These ideas can sometimes be more effective and you can typically make more money with less traffic. Still, you do need to get your video noticed in the first place and getting to that point can be relatively tricky.
Actually Making Money With A Drone
Without a doubt, there is money making potential with drones. Indeed, entirely new areas may open up in the future as the technology improves and people figure out different ways to use drones. Just be sure of local laws before you take action!
There are various regulations involved in legally flying drones. In August 2016, changes to regulations did make it significantly easier to use drones commercially. As a result, the change means that individuals can legally use drones to make money with relative ease.
Those same regulations did also place restrictions on what you can use drones for. Specifically, the situations need to be low risk. This includes the craft being flown below 400 feet and within the operator’s line of sight. Likewise, you can’t fly the drone directly over crowds or at night.
For the most part, those restrictions are fine for commercial uses, as long as you don’t want to fly at night. Additionally, you may need to get people to sign a liability waiver if you plan to fly the drone overhead.
There are also some wider liability issues and you need to make sure that you learn these before you get involved in the field. Likewise, it’s important to be aware of and understand the current regulations and how they affect you, especially if something goes wrong. You could just wing it and see what happens, but “I didn't know” won't get you out of a fine!
Investment Requirements For Making Money With Drones!
In addition to the challenges of regulation, you also have to consider the investment involved in earning money in this way. On their own, drones are fairly expensive, especially if you are looking at a high-quality drone.
For that matter, if you do want to make money from a drone, then getting a cheap one may simply not be an option. Mini ones sell for $50, but large ones that can hold high quality cameras cost $500-$2000. In some cases, you might even need to spend upwards of $10,000 to get a drone that does what you want.
At the same time, making money from a drone does involve a significant amount of skill. Getting that skill would involve spending a lot of time practicing and getting better with your piloting skills. Crash a drone? Gotta get a new one.
This means that you have a huge investment of both time and money. Making a few bucks on the side may be fun, but if you want to earn income, you need to keep these realistic expectations in mind.
Leveraging Your Drone For Other Jobs
Someone in the comments brought up a very good idea – that you can leverage your drone for your current job in some cases. Because drones can fly to remote places and take pictures, you could actually do things like job assessments much more efficiently. Imagine being able to fly your drone to the top of a mountain or building to see potential places to place a radio antenna, or repair a window, or plot a path for your vehicle to take.
Leveraging your drone to save yourself time, means you're saving money. It also means you're doing your job better and more efficiently, meaning more opportunities for more, and higher paying clients, or even just moving through the ranks of your company.
It won't work for all jobs though. You can't fly a drone to patients room as a doctor to make sure they're still alive! LOL.
Making Money Online With Your Passion For Drones
If you are a drone enthusiast, then you can actually make money without ever taking flight. Yup, you can make money with drones right on the internet. People are hungry for information about drones, and by providing that information, you can get paid for your efforts. Staring a website about drones is what I'm talking about!
You can do this with Google Adsense (the ads you see everyone on people's websites) or with affiliate marketing (or both). These are just two of many ways to make money online but they are the most powerful, particularly for beginners.
More importantly, affiliate marketing and online advertising in general requires minimal investment and you don’t need any specific skills. This means that it is a business type that anybody can get involved with. All you need is passion for a topic, and the willingness to write articles for your website. With research you can find out what people are looking for, and you can expand your knowledge to become a true expert in your field.
Google ads are easy to explain; Copy/paste some code on your site and you get paid per click. More traffic = more clicks = more money.
The idea of affiliate marketing may be a bit less familiar. What you do is promote products through the articles on your site. You could write an article about the Top 5 Drones For Photography, or The Easiest Drone To Learn For Newbies. Even articles like How To Troubleshoot Your Drone Propellers can drive traffic to product reviews.
For example, there are even some affiliate programs for drones such as Amazon, DJI, and Drones ETC.
With an affiliate marketing site, you’re providing valuable information to readers, while also earning a commission off any purchases that they make. Over time, you can increase your traffic and grow both your site and your income as you go along.