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In the first instalment of our brand-new Spotlight series, the Online Experts team at 123 Reg take a look at what drives entrepreneurs to start their own business, and asks them to share their story, sources of inspiration and tips for business success with you.

Turning a passion into a business is a dream shared by many a would-be entrepreneur, but often this kind of dream stays unfulfilled as you may feel uncertain, or even overwhelmed by the prospect of taking that big leap.

Not so for Andy Fotheringham – he took his passion for all things flying to new heights by launching Skyeye Visuals – a company which specialises in creating dramatic and inspiring aerial photography for a variety of uses.

“I have always been interested in aircraft from a very young age and joined many flying clubs including the British Model Flying Association. However, since the release of the quad copters with integrated cameras, my love for drones has taken flight,” Andy said.

“When airborne, my drones unveil the true face of the earth. The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the enjoyment too great, for it to be neglected as a simple sport. My company has therefore legitimised my passions, resulting in a venture that has evolved into a stratospheric business.”

A shot from one of Skyeye Visual’s drones

So what kind of work does Skyeye Visuals undertake?

“We offer a fully customisable service, from drone photography, cinematography and aerial surveys to industrial imaging, inspection and large format aerial video/ photographic panoramas,” Andy explained.

“From our Sunderland office in the north east of England we carry out projects across the entire United Kingdom and can accommodate international requirements.”

He added: “We’ve been part of a feature film production over the last few months filming in various locations around the United Kingdom with the production company’s film crew.

“Some of the locations have been magnificent and the footage we have acquired for this feature has been breath-taking. I wish I could tell you more about it but you will have wait and see for yourselves.

As you might imagine, getting the perfect shot from an aerial drone is a complex task: “It is essential that all risks are mitigated prior to a flight and all relevant hazards have been identified.

“Clear communication of the client’s desired outcomes are essential so that we are included in the creative process.

“The secret to achieving the ultimate aerial production comes from exercising knowledge of wind speed, light, camera equipment and creating a dramatic impact.”

Andy Fotheringham (left) of Skyeye Visuals

But the technical and creative challenge of shooting footage from a drone isn’t the hardest task the business has faced. If fact, this was arguably one of the easier aspects – the real obstacle was getting things off the ground.

“The most difficult part of starting your own business is becoming established. This doesn’t happen overnight and can take time to create relationships and trust with clients and customers,” Andy said.

“Marketing through social media sites and assistance from professional digital marketing and website companies have proven to be valuable tools in obtaining interest in our services and generating traffic to our website.”

The Skyeye Visuals team at work

So what advice does Andy have for anyone looking to start their own business?

“You may need to research and develop your basic business idea, work out what you are going to name your business and decide on what form it will take.

“It is important to think carefully about your product or service, audience and what makes you stand out from the crowd. It is worth thinking about how you are going to finance your start-up and what effect it will have on your personal finances while waiting for profits to show.”

He added: “The only regret I have is not setting up my own business sooner than I did. Everything I have done so far has gone as planned and I feel I have entered into this rapidly expanding market just at the right time.

“With the dedication and determination to fulfil your dreams, everything is possible.”

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