Passive income - 5 ways of making money with your drone (without having a PfCO)

In the last year I have changed jobs and given myself time to reflect on new ways of making money/earning a living, depending on where you live (such as London…) a salary may just not be enough. I’ve done this by dramatically reducing my outgoings for a start and on this freelancing journey have started housesitting. That’s a 100% reduction on rent costs (as long as the sits overlap!). I’ve briefly gone through 5 ways of making money with your drone (without having your PfCO) - just remember to follow the drone code.

1. GET YOUR CONTENT OUT THERE - Blogs on Medium, YouTube, Instagram, Steemit (blockchain based blogging website). Granted i’m only making small in-roads into this with the likes of Steemit and Instagram and for the absolute ease of it I use Instagram. It’s slick, pretty and easy to use. It’s all about the #hashtags and getting those followers up. When you do you can use it as leverage for free stuff or help for projects. If you can collaborate, particularly with people who have more followers/likes etc, find a way to do so as you will benefit from this extra exposure. I’ve done this a few times abroad, so as to get more influence away from home as well. For me, this is a long term endeavour, which may or may not pay off.

2. SHUTTERSTOCK - I’ve chosen this stock photography site, as I feel it is the best of a small bunch. Not because of how much you get paid but the frequency of the payments. I’ve had it about 6 months and on $130 so far. It doesn’t sound like much but I’ve only got 140 images and 20 videos. The way I see this is if I can get to around a 1000 images there could be a good $50+ a month in extra income. Not too shabby really for uploading photos as and when you grab  them. One of my images sold for $18 and a video sold for $70, which feels pretty good. The more quality you have on there, the more chance at getting a pay packet. Also, quite obviously video is key to getting bigger returns. 

I’ve tried other stock platforms, but just haven’t sold a thing. I have this down to the relatively low cost of a customer buying images via subscription on Shutterstock. They also have a website for more enhanced and larger images, the type you’d take with a DJI Matrice with a powerful DSLR on it - I’d like to get onto that asap.

One other notable sit is Alamy, however I have had very minimal interaction with my drone work on this site. Photographer friends (non-drone) though have great success here though.

3. FAT LAMA - You can lease out almost anything on this, for cash. There are plenty of drones up for hire already (I use this myself for both renting out and using). As there is a lot of drones to choose from, competition is high to get a good price on renting a drone. Drone pilots - you could hire yourself out too!…

4. UDEMY/SKILLSHARE - Do you have a drone, UAV or spatial data analysis skills that you could share? I.e. Photoshop, drone mapping or any other drone application with commercial possibilities? These websites are knowledge sharing platforms. You can charge high or low depending on the value of the knowledge you have to impart. I’ve used this only for learning purposes and find Udemy the most useful so far. You can sign up for Skillshare for a free trial, so give it a go. You aren’t going to get any form recognised accreditation, but you will pick up knowledge from other professionals.

5. THE  ‘BLOCKCHAIN - This is an interesting new way of earning and it isn’t all about ‘Bitcoin’. Blockchain is a developing area of ’decentralised’ technology and is very promising, but yet to be adopted seriously on a global scale (it will though, it needs time). When you earn ‘money’ on a blockchain (each organisation will have their own blockchain, a way of recording data/transaction in a safe and transparent way) you are rewarded with a ‘token’ which carries a value in USD/GBP etc. These tokes can be spent where they are accepted or exchanged.

Current drone/imagery related projects are:

SOAR - SOAR is a decentralised global super map. Expect this to be a system where you can upload images available for others to download, using their tokenised currency. With the rise of cheaper consumer drones anyone can upload and earn. There will also be the possibility of ‘bounties’ where a mission (i.e. map or image of a particular are) is requested and can be taken up by someone who owns a drone locally. This could be a great way for a avid drone photographer to make some money on the side.

IPStock - A way to upload your imagery to the cloud to be purchased by companies, marketing agencies etc that wish to buy them. The visibility of your work looks to be impressive at the moment. Expect more creative imagery on this kind of platform.

Photochain - Same as above, but be expected to be compensated in ‘photocoins’ (PHT). Earn and sell these on exchanges.

Steemit - This is a creative content website. That runs on ‘Steem’ - it’s token. Content creators and those that interact with it are paid on their popularity. This content is anything from writing to art and Vlogs. Its a great place to share and is gaining popularity. It does however feel like a real popularity contest and can get quite cringe worthy, but if you’re fine with that, then what’s stopping you. Or just do our own thing an earn some of the token and interact with other creatives that like the same stuff.

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