1. Attitude Mode Is Everything
“Ability is what you are capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it”
We are not just talking about flying in Atti Mode. A positive and entrepreneurial attitude is critical for those wanting to start any business, let alone one as dynamic as the drone business. So, believe in yourself and go for it. It is important to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. If you do not take risks, you will not succeed.
Hardware and software is continuously evolving and it is important for a drone pilot to stay on the top of things. For this, you need to cultivate an open mind that is capable of learning and adopting to new technologies. Create systems and processes that will help you create a more efficient workflow.
You also need to cultivate inter personal relationships. Folks who have been working as engineers or accountants might not be accustomed to talking to customers and being the rainmakers for their firm. For such people, networking and building sales might be a challenge. But certainly it is not an insurmountable one.
Resources that will help you manage your drone business –
Schedudrone — For simplifying your business processes
Streak — A great tool for tracking leads. It is a CRM that lives inside your GMAIL
Facebook Ads — For reaching out to the right clients
HighTail — For sharing large files with clients
Google Drive — Another file sharing tool
2. Use the Right Gear
Maintain your drone properly and ensure that it is top working condition. Certain simple common sense measures can help you do this. For instance, using take off pads will prevent accumulation of dirt on your camera lens. Using the correct ND filter while shooting will help enhance your drone footage. Make sure you use the right SD cards. We recommend Class 10 gold cards by San Disk.
Aim for maximum redundancy while you are out flying. For instance, carrying a backup drone is always a good idea. You should also carry back up remotes, back up batteries and props.
Another maintenance tip — Never overuse your drone props. Change your props after 10 hours of flight time. If you are flying a quad-copter, a set of 4 props will cost you around 30 dollars. And these 30 dollars can potentially save your drone worth thousands of dollars.
3. Do Not Believe Everything That People Say
Never succumb to hype. When a new drone or camera is launched, ignore the positive feelers and wait for things to play out. After all, you do not want to be the guy who has to figure out the problems. For instance, initially the Yuneec H520 was supposed to be ideal for UAV mapping. However, the rolling shutter on the Yunnec H520 means that rows of pixel in the sensor are triggered at different times. This means that you have to fly slower in order to get accurate mapping data.
Pro Tip — Do not opt for a firmware update just for the heck of it. First, understand what the firmware update does. Your drone is not going to drop off from the air if you choose not to install a firmware update.
4. Marketing Is Key
“It is important to work “on” your business — and not just “in” your business”
There are two marketing strategies that you can employ — Inter personal marketing and digital marketing. In this digital age, the importance of inter personal marketing cannot be undermined. Cultivating relationships is still the best way to get new clients and build a sustainable business. And having a solid online presence will act as a catalyst for your efforts.
Keeping your sales funnel full is critical for a drone business because of its cyclical nature. If you are just entering the drone business, you might have enough work for maybe, 6 months in a year. But as you build relationships, you can figure out ways to keep busy during lean periods too. For instance, you can shoot snowboarding events in winter. Or, maybe shoot abroad in Mexico when it is snowing back home.
Broadly, clients can be divided into four quadrants –
1. Low profit, low maintenance
2. Low profit, high maintenance
3. High profit, high maintenance
4. High profit, low maintenance
The low profit, high maintenance clients are definitely the ones you want to avoid. You will probably end up losing money here. These are the extremely demanding clients who will pay poorly and cause your stress levels to go through the roof. Providing your service to high profit, low maintenance clients is the best alternative for you.
5. Negotiate with Clients
“In business, as in life, you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate” ~Chester Karass
Whether it is your drone business or life in general, cultivating solid negotiation skills can help you immensely. For folks who are just entering the drone business, we recommend practicing your negotiation skills in a low stakes scenario first. For instance, you can try convincing your friends to go to a restaurant of your choice. Or maybe negotiate and convince your spouse to watch a movie of your liking (a high stakes scenario, some might say).
Another important factor that can swing a negotiation in your favor is having a strong BATNA. BATNA is a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. So, if, as a drone pilot, you have strong options to fall back on, this shall automatically make you more assertive during negotiations. However, do remember — empathy always precedes assertion. Even if you are an in-demand drone pilot, always be understanding towards your clients. Being disrespectful and arrogant means that you will burn your bridges with a potential client. You don’t want to do that. Do you?
In order to have a strong BATNA, your need to ensure that your sales funnel is always full. This is possible only if you work on your marketing.
When you deal with clients, always be clear with payments. We recommend asking for 50% up front before starting a job. If your client is genuine, there is no reason, he/she would not be okay with this
PRO Tip — A bad deal is worse than a no deal
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