The skills you need to run a successful drone business (…that have NOTHING to do with drones)

DroneThe skills you need to run a successful drone business (…that have NOTHING to do with drones)our wonderful blue background that gives skywatch the brand it is


As a drone entrepreneur, it is easy to focus 110% of your time and effort into producing beautiful drone videos or conducting aerial inspections. And while this may seem like the most obvious way to create a successful drone business, even the best drone pilots could be missing out on potential clients if they don’t develop their professional skills.

What exactly do we mean by professional skills? Well, we’re talking about the skills that are necessary to help you grow and run your business.

Here are some ways that you can better yourself, which will help you better your business:

  • Become proficient at marketing your business
  • Develop your “people” skills
  • Learn how to do your own accounting
  • Think about your business strategy

Marketing your business

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out with a new business, or you’ve been a business owner for years… marketing is crucial.

You need to be able to tell others about your business and get them to understand how they will benefit from your drone services so that you can convert them into customers.

There are many different ways you can market your business. There are the more traditional forms of marketing, which include newspaper and magazine ads. However, given today’s day and age, platforms such as social media and email marketing prove to be much more efficient. Given the accessibility of online searches, marketing your business online is probably the way to go.

To create a successful marketing strategy, you have to understand who your customers are and how you can reach them.

When deciding who that target customer is (you can have more than one target customer, too), create a customer profile or persona. For example, at Drone Launch Academy, our typical customer is either a hobbyist drone pilot who wants to learn new skills (and maybe even study for the Part 107 exam so that they can earn their remote pilot license) or a small business owner who wants to use drones to help with everyday operations

Once you identify who your customers are, you can then decide the best way to reach that type of person. 

Organic vs. Paid Advertising

Organic advertising is free. An example of organic advertising would be a social media post, or an email. With organic ads, you are trying to get your name out there in an “organic” or natural way.

Paid advertising, as the name implies, will require you to pay in order to get your message across to your audience. On social media, you can create paid ads and specify the type(s) of people that the ad will be targeted towards. For example, you can program the ad to attract young people in the technology sector, living in Boston. Or, if your target customer is a successful realtor in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, you might consider running ads in a local real estate magazine.

Although these ads cost money, they allow you to really cater to a certain audience. That way, your budget is spent wisely, specifically on your target audience, who is most likely to buy your product.

Since our customers for Drone Launch tend to be small business owners across multiple industries, we’ve found the best way to market our courses is through social media and Google Advertising. When testing out online marketing, we recommend starting small until you understand what works for your business and then scaling up your spending once you feel more confident in the success of the strategy.

Overall, successful marketing is about thinking about your customer and experimenting with the best ways to reach them.

Develop your “people” skills

If you want to retain customers and get them excited about your business, you need to create happy customers. When a customer feels that your business is professional and that it provided them with a quality service, they may refer you to their friends and family, which could lead to future jobs for you.

That means that every aspect of your business needs to be customer-oriented.

Creating happy customers is about people skills. While it obviously helps to do good work, the customer needs to trust you and feel that they received quality service.

Sometimes the little things can go a long way. 

What you say and when you say it matters. Always be polite to your customers and answer their questions promptly. While those seem like business basics, you’d be surprised how many drone business owners we talk to that say their competition doesn’t always do the same. 

Your business’s appearance matters just as much as your personal interactions with customers. Look at your website. What would a potential customer think? Does your website look professional? If it doesn’t, what will they think about your business?

Your website should also be user-friendly. If your website is hard to navigate, customers will get frustrated. If your website loads slowly, you guessed it, your customer will likely not stick around to see when (or if) your site decides to cooperate. (You can check usability stats with Google Search Console.)

It should be easy for customers to get in contact with you. If a customer isn’t able to contact you easily, chances are, they’ll move on to another business. It’s these customer-oriented touches that can put your business ahead of your competition.

Learn how to do your own accounting

It’s not uncommon for a business owner to gain experience in new skills, such as accounting. When you’re first starting out, you may not have the resources to hire someone to help you with each specific area of business and therefore you may end up taking on that added responsibility.

While this may be stressful, you shouldn’t dread learning these skills. Having basic accounting knowledge is imperative for saving money and evaluating where your resources are allocated.

For example, it’s easy when running a business to lose sight of how much you are spending in certain categories, like advertising. It might feel like there’s some extra spending here or there, but only by examining your own books will you see how all that spending truly adds up over the year. Only by looking hard at the numbers can you determine if your current spending is justified compared to the revenue it is helping to generate.

While accounting is important to learn, it’s just one example of a business skill that is beneficial. You should also consider reading informational books or taking some quick online courses about other aspects of running a business, like management (for when you are able to hire employees), writing (so you can start writing some great content and ads), and even business law (so you can know the basics).

There’s a host of well-done and inexpensive courses online to teach you about any of these topics. Check out Udemy’s online courses, for example.

Consider your business strategy

If you’re wondering if you even truly have a business strategy, don’t panic. However, you should strongly consider your business strategy, because it may just be one of the most important aspects of your business.

Your business strategy is the foundation of your business. It’s the who, what, where, when, why, and how.

Once you have a developed business strategy, you can be certain of who your business is and where it is going.

What we mean by that is, what is the purpose of your business? What services does it provide? How does it help people? How is your business growing? What goals do you have for it?

Choosing your niche is a big part of deciding who your business is and what it’s all about. While there are plenty of businesses out there that have their toes dipped in many different markets, having a niche that you specialize in can help you differentiate your business from other drone businesses.

Because drone applications are so numerous, the drone industry has many different niches that you can explore. Some of the most popular areas are:

  • Real estate photography and videography
  • Event photography and videography
  • TV/Film photography and videography
  • Agriculture
  • Inspections

Deciding which niche is right for you doesn’t have to be complicated. What are you good at? Are you able to film a wedding and edit the photos and videos into beautiful keepsakes for the new couple and their loved ones? Why not try focusing on events?

Or maybe you have experience in the inspection industry and think that drones could help you conduct inspections easier and more efficiently. Maybe you would consider specializing in drone inspections.

Ready to run your successful drone business?

Once you hone skills like marketing, “people” skills, accounting, and other business basics, you’ll be running your business like a pro in no time.

And don’t forget to develop your business strategy. Determining that will be crucial to understanding why you’re running your business and who it will help.
If you haven’t started your business yet, or if you’re in the early stages, be sure to check out our Drone to $1K podcast, where we interview drone entrepreneurs who are making at least $1,000 a month. Our podcast guests talk about their business and how they got started. They also share helpful advice for aspiring drone business owners. You can listen here.

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