Ever since I bought my first drone in 2014, I have been trying to make money flying my drone. To be honest, I did have a gap of about 2-3 years when my work life interrupted my drone life, but I have to say that I am still chasing the dream of making money out of my drone.
The short answer is YES you, can make money with a drone, but how much money depends on your photography/videography skill as well as the amount of time you have to devote to marketing and promoting yourself.
Obviously, if you are a top class experienced drone pilot with all the drone qualifications in the world, then there is always a possibility that you could be a drone pilot in Hollywood, filming some big budget films. I would presume that would be a full-time job and you could earn a living being the go-to drone pilot on the film industry.
But for mere mortal drone hobbiest, actually making a living with a drone is a tall order. There are various revenue streams that we can explore, but again I go back to what I said earlier, you need skill and time to make a proper living from it, in my honest opinion.
Drone Stock Footage
If (like me) you have a lot of drone footage on hard drives that you’ve never actually put to any use, then one way of making some drone money would be to submit it to the various stock video outlets on the internet. Such web sites such as Pond5, Adobe Stock or Shutterstock are easy to sign up to and upload your drone clips to. Personally I would recommend using BlackBox to upload your clips. Uploading to BlackBox enables your clips to be uploaded to all the popular stock video outlets at the same time. You will sacrifice 15% of the commission you earn, but the amount of time BlackBox saves, it is a price worth paying.
Selling Drone Photos
If you think your drone photography is at a standard that people would be happy to pay for, then you can easily set up a photography print shop on a platform such as Etsy. I have have successfully sold two photos via Etsy without any promotion or marketing. I’m hoping to devote a lot more time to selling photo prints in the very near future.
YouTube Drone Channel
If you believe that you have the skills needed to be a drone pilot and you are able to edit your videos for YouTube, then you can set up a drone YouTube channel and maybe make a little bit of money if you are able to grow a very large audience. I believe that this is getting very difficult these days. There are so many drone channels out there it is difficult to make a dent in it. However, if you have the right presenting skills and have the time to keep up with the latest drone news, I think that there could still be a chance of making a success of a new droning YouTube channel. I think just showing off your drone footage is not enough to grow a loyal YouTube audience.
So, yes, there is the chance that you can make a little bit of cash from your drone. But realistically it will be pocket money rather than money that will make you rich…I wish I could prove myself wrong!