Today we’d like to introduce you to Dominique Papa.
Hi Dominique, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Hello, my name is Dominique, and I am the CEO and owner of Drone Over the Top LLC.
My story started 2 years ago during Covid in Hawaii as I decided to pursue my marine biology degree and photography minor. I worked as a scuba diver instructor and cage-free shark diving instructor in Haleiwa, Hawaii. It was adventurous and satisfying, but covid turned that all to an end when they shut down Eco tourism.
I left Hawaii for many reasons and then got the opportunity of a lifetime to travel with a friend to do van life throughout the USA. We took both of our puppies and traveled the central and Eastern United States before splitting ways into our own adventures. We were both freelance photographers, and he had a drone. We had the opportunity to use it and see the unique views of the world through an eagle eye. Even though it was not the first time I flew a drone, it was the first time I realized how beneficial this technology of photography could affect the world.
When Van’s life ended, I decided to buy a car and visit my twin brother in Orlando, Florida, and this is where my story starts. After a few months of living with my brother, I decided that I was going to stay and find a job. I looked for a lot of photography and marketing gigs because I wanted to get out of the biology world. After a few jobs, I kept pushing to hire me because I had my 107 drone’s pilot’s license and recently bought a drone. So that’s when I decided to start an LLC and see where it took me. In April, it will be a year that I, a newly 27-year-old, would have the amazing opportunity to start her dream job.
Many years ago, this wasn’t even an option to go to school for, and it is crazy how the world has also seen the benefits of drones. During this year, I have used drones for architecture and landscaping, commercial inspections, weddings and events, solar inspections, real estate, insurance quotes, and many more. Every week is different and every company I work with is different I very much enjoy that I can help commercial companies out as well as a single homeowner to make sure there are no broken shingles on their roof.
Just this week we have decided to partner up with Apotheosis Media LLC and add matter port 3-D virtual tours to our list of services. Since we do outside and aerial views now we can take it inside and add another unique view to our company and show off what it would be like to walk through a new home or new building for new investors or new homeowners that might not be in the state due to covid or other reasons.
A lot of people see the bad and Covid, but it has not only helped me become more independent, and having more remote jobs has allowed many more people to become more independent as well. I now reside in Orlando, Florida, and I hope to continue my services by helping as many people and companies as possible with aerial and matter port 3-D virtual tours.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
If someone who just starts a business says it’s an easy road, they are lying. So, of course, it’s not been an easy road. When you start a business, you believe in your product or service to ‘make the world or your area a better place’ but the reason you start thinking that way in the first place is that it doesn’t exist yet or it’s not done as efficiently as your business does.
So, the whole marketing process of your business is to explain to people or companies why they need not only your product or service but why they specifically need YOU and your business. Drones are new and upcoming, and still, many people don’t know they exist or that you need a 107 uSAS pilot license to fly them and an insurance policy for the unknown. Drones can be used for:
- Aerial photography for journalism, film, and real estate.
- Express shipping and delivery.
- Gathering information or supplying essentials for disaster management.
- Thermal sensor drones for search and rescue operations.
- Geographic mapping of inaccessible terrain and locations.
- Building safety inspections.
- Agriculture for precision crop monitoring.
- Unmanned cargo transport.
- Law enforcement and public safety.
- Storm tracking and forecasting hurricanes and tornadoes.
- And for fun.
They’re very useful for this ‘instrgramable’ world. It’s just about convincing people why and how.
One of the biggest struggles my first month was that no one is holding me accountable for my actions, so I spent way too much time by the pool instead of saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Nothing motivated me more than wanting to pay my rent so I can live an independent life as a single 27-year-old in this new part of the world.
So I said let’s make a goal of $2000 to cover rent and human/dog food; then next month, $2350 to cover rent, food, and car payments; then the month after that $2775 to cover rent, food, and car payments, and extracurricular activities and so on and so forth. Setting small goals is what helped me. Thankfully, every month, I reached my goal, but I for sure still had my ‘ugh, I quit. Pool days’.
Lucky I learned this very early on but the biggest lesson I learned was ‘just because I fly a drone and drone is in my business name, doesn’t mean I can only get paid through flying drones’. I reached out to other photographers, real estate agents, roofers, and other independent contractors to see how I can help them or they can help me. I did a lot of networking, and it was fun for me, but if you know me, I am a talker!
I partnered with another drone company that flew me all over the USA to work for the government to inspect drones. Then, when that door closed, another door opened. I found a job working with Apotheosis Media LLC, which is local, to start working with Matterport cameras. Do you know the ones that do the 3D virtual tours? Well, I decided that this would be an awesome service to add to my company if we partnered up because it adds to my unique services; sincerely ‘everyone’ is a photographer now.
There were definitely times that I questioned what I believed in, but having the good support of friends and family to tell you to keep going was definitely something that pushed me in my darkest hours.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I was born and raised in Connecticut and went to school in New Hampshire. It was a liberal arts school where I majored in biology and minored in studio art. I really loved nature and still would love to get paid to take pictures of animals in remote but only if you get that job and I am not there, yet! I have always been interested in art and photography but owning a camera was really expensive.
I also knew I wasn’t the best artist either, so capturing the realism in life through a lens was the best focus for me. I took many photography classes and learned the ways of a camera. But like I said before, with our new phones, everyone calls themselves a photographer, and I didn’t feel like I stuck out. Throughout my travels, as I said before I learned that I learned that drones were very unique, and not many things could take pictures in the air unless it cost thousands of dollars to be in a helicopter.
I realize that if I studied hard, I could get my Unmanned pilot’s license and stand out. Using my perspective and the perspective of an eagle’s eyes, I believe that I stand out. And now, with my matterport 3-D tours, I believe that I can change the commercial and residential real-estate game by creating interior virtual tours and beautiful videos and pictures with my drone and DSLR camera.
How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
Since not every photographer has an uSAS 107 pilot’s license, I can say that if you need aerial photography or matterport 3-D tour, I’m your gal!
We work with many different companies and stretch to single individuals who just need a few pictures of their homes. We work largely in the real estate community but can also work with roofers, independent contractors, real estate agents, brokerages, construction agencies, interior designers, insurance companies, weddings and events, architectural and landscaping companies, and more.
So, if you know of any in need, then send them my way. We are a women-owned company that believes that anyone can do any job with no discrimination. We would love to partner with any company, just give me a good reason and how we can help each other.
- $100-$200 an hour depending on how many photos and videos
- $150-$200 for an extra video made of the content I created.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: Www.droneoverthetop.com.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/droneoverthetop/
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/DroneovertheTop
- Youtube: https://m.youtube.com/DroneovertheTop
Source: Orlando Voyager