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7 Things I’ve Learned From 8 Years In The Drone Industry

business proposal business strategy drone business drone entrepreneurship drone industry Jun 01, 2023

When we decided to start our drone business, the FAA had the ‘Section 333 exemption’ instead of the Part 107, DJI’s flagship drone was the Phantom 3, and Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar was dominating the charts with his third album.

I've learned a lot from our experiences over the years, but in the beginning it was hard to find the most credible and accurate information all in one place. Because of this, my partner Austin and I find tremendous value in being able to share lessons from our drone business journey, with the hopes that you can learn from our experiences along the way. As some of you are looking to start your own drone business soon, I felt it was important to mention some of the important lessons I’ve learned since we started:


1. It’s bigger than drones

As an entrepreneur, it’s important for you to find your ‘why’. What makes you love to go to work everyday? When adversity comes, what keeps you going? Where does your inspiration come from? It’s important to identify and answer these questions because the journey can certainly be tough. But, if you’re passionate about what you do, and know WHY you do it, you can persevere through any challenges that come your way.


2. The Drone Industry is still in its infancy

Even though widespread commercial use of drones started around 2016, regulations are still maturing, and there are a TON of applications that are yet to be explored. Remember when Amazon first started talking about drone delivery in 2013? Well, it’s almost 9 years later and Amazon as well as other major companies have yet to implement full scale delivery operations. This is similar to coming advancements in hardware (particularly battery life), software, and certification requirements. We are likely to see significant advacement in these areas in the coming years.   


3. The riches are in the niches

The most successful companies in the industry are focused on ONE product or service. It’s rare to find a drone company that does crop spraying and also wedding videography. It’s important to be really good in one area, as opposed to being subpar in 3 or 4 areas. Find your niche, and make sure it is in an area that you are either familiar with, or be willing to learn as much as you can in order to provide a quality service. 


4. Your network determines your net worth

As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”. It’s important to take every opportunity to network with like minded professionals, reach out to mentors and those more experienced, and prepare yourself for when opportunity comes knocking. That random email that came mentioning a happy hour for professionals in your area? Go! You never know who you’ll meet at these types of events that can connect you with potential partners and clients. 


5. The FAA is the global gold standard for drone safety and regulations

This likely doesn’t come as a surprise, but even though regulations in the US are still maturing, the FAA has really led the way when it comes to the registration/testing process, interacting with private sector to craft sensible rules, simplifying the process to request permission to fly in restricted areas and promoting safe drone practices from targeted campaigns.  


6. Innovation is Key

As we tell our young students, “we are preparing you for jobs that haven’t even been created yet”. Think about how advanced drone technology will be in 5, 10, 20 years from now. Are you thinking about how drones will be used in blockchain, the metaverse and Web 3? The key to staying ahead is thinking 5-10+ years in advance.


7. There’s never been a better time to start a drone business

With the maturity of regulations, growing acceptance of drone technology by the public, and record number of investment dollars going to drone startups, NOW is the time to get your foot in the door. Whether you choose agriculture, aerial photography, or FPV drone racing, there are countless ways for you to get into the industry and start your drone career today.

Any comments or questions about my list? Feel free to reach out! We’d love to hear your feedback. We’d also like to feature some of your questions on our future blogs.


Cheers, and safe flying!



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