Building an Epic Drone Business

There’s something new on the horizon at Epic14Days – something big.

Over the next five months we are going to use the Epic14Days structure and progress towards launching a Drone Photography business.

Why five months? Why Drones? Where did this come from all of a sudden?

As you may already know if you’ve been following, one of my aims is to inspire my kids along the entrepreneurial path to follow their passions and start a successful business. Izak has a big interest in creating videos and experimenting with technology. My youngest son Luke is very visually stimulated and is keen on flight sims and flying little RC helicopters. Combine that with the Australian Government’s recent decision to relax legislation for the commercial operation of small drones that comes into effect on September 29th, 2016 and we get a nice meld of interest, opportunity and time-frame to make a serious assessment of what looks like an ideal business direction.

There is obviously a lot of research and assessment that needs to take place – so the next five months are going to be rather busy… just off the top of my head, here are some of the questions I need answered:

  • The types and capabilities of drones available
  • Safety, risk assessment and legalities of flying drones
  • Business models / ideas / opportunities
  • Learning to fly different types of drones (effectively and safely)
  • Learning drone photography and videography techniques
  • Drone maintenance and reliability
  • Insurance
  • Small business ideas vs innovation and disruptive ideas
  • Availability of Government assistance if we decide to do something really cool

It’s early days, there is a lot to learn and a lot of work to be done.

I’m going to approach this with the aim of creating an online training course. Whether I do actually create one or not is yet to be seen, but in my opinion, one of the best ways to learn is to write everything down – It’s a great way to help you consolidate your thoughts and really think about what you’re seeing… and with a little luck, I might end up with a product that I can sell at the end of this too.

Everything is planned out at a high level – I have a total of eleven, 14-day sprints before the new legislation takes effect… plenty of time to take action and get some serious plans into action.

Here’s what my first sprint planning looks like… nothing too crazy, I need to figure out what it is that I need to figure out before I go too far!

Drone Business - Sprint 1

Here are some brief notes I’ve made this week that will need to be refined and expanded on over the coming months…

  • Even though the legislation is changing to allow some commercial use to take place with significantly reduced red-tape, the applications for that is still fairly limited if you want to build a serious business around drones… but importantly, there is enough scope to get started and earn some profit before expanding into the real deal.
  • Real Estate photography sounds like the easiest (at least the most logical) place to start, but I don’t think you can build a successful long-term business around that… it can definitely play a part, especially early on, but the barriers to entry are reasonably low and I expect there will be significant competition in that space.
  • Regardless of whether you get licensed or not – insurance is going to be extremely important for any commercial drone use, particularly liability insurance. Even if you did nothing more than real estate photography, the risk of your drone crashing and causing damage to people and/or property is something that you really need to consider. One mistake could have significant consequences.
  • …which means that safety, consistent operating procedures and experience knowing the limitations and capabilities of your drones is essential – probably the most important part of any drone business actually.
  • …and apparently it takes a while to learn how to fly a drone properly, consistently and safely. Plenty of practice will be required to be able to get those nice smooth, properly composed shots – which means I need to start practicing now. Ignore the camera, find a cheap, good flyer that won’t matter if it crashes and burns.

It will be interesting to see where this goes… hope you stick around and join us for the ride.

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