Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography and videography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Robert Roos, Owner of Studio 5 Productions, located in Pella, IA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My main service is commercial photography and video for real estate and property inspections. I also do personal photography of homesteads and areas of interest (lakes, buildings, tourist spots, etc.).

Tell us about yourself

I had never been into photography before a couple of years ago. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps and am a combat veteran that became a Colorado State Trooper after my military service. During my time as a State Trooper, I took photos of crash sites but still never had a fever for becoming a photographer. After retiring from the State Patrol, I opened a CrossFit box and took photos of my athletes, but they were never anything that I would call "Professional."

After moving from Colorado to Iowa and starting a new business of "Focused Training" for high school athletes to be able to perform at the level, I wanted to show the athletes doing yard drills but couldn't get the shots that I was looking for with a handheld camera. I did my research and purchased a DJI Mavic Mini, and I loved that I could show photos and videos of what my athletes were doing. I started posting the videos on my FB page, and the next thing I knew, I had real estate agent friends reach out to see if I could fly a property for them. I researched the requirements needed to be able to provide this service, and after flying a couple of properties at no charge to see if I could do it, they loved my work (even though extremely armature and terrible, in my opinion). I fell in love with flying and improving my skill!

I immediately started studying for my Part 107 and started my new business, Studio 5 Productions. Even though Covid was at a high and we were all basically restricted to home, I found an FAA test site in Ankeny, IA that was testing, and I took the Part 107 and earned my certification to be able to fly. I continued to train and do missions until I finally knew that it was time to start flying full-time and step away from training. And as they say in the movies...the rest is history!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being able to step away from my other business and fly full time and work from home when I want.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Staying confident in my abilities, always improving them through courses and flight time, and realizing that I am a "professional aerial photographer" and have earned the right to be compensated for my work.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Realize that your business is your life. Punching the clock is not a thing in our world.
  2. In order to be successful, you have to put in the work to find clients and show them what you can offer for their business that separates you from the others in your trade.
  3. You have no competition. You have to have the mindset that you are the best, and it is up to them to keep up with you. This mindset is what will keep you on top of your game and keep you striving to improve your craft.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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