Mike Swanson, an exercise science alum from the class of ’16, was 11 years into a construction career that was taking a toll on his mind and body. He decided that he hated his job and did what many of us do to feel better — he made an impulse buy.

Mike’s interest in technology and hopes of finding a new hobby were the reasons he originally purchased a DJI Mavic Air Drone. He flew his new toy around a few times, never touching it again, as most impulse buys go. However, a few months later, Mike stumbled across a Mr. Steele YouTube channel and watched the freestyle air drone flight clips. Mike quickly realized that Mr. Steele is one of the best freestyle drone pilots in the business, and Mike wanted to do similar work. He purchased more equipment and started flying with a computer simulation.

Mike admits he was not good at first. The computer simulations were difficult and he crashed many times, but he was hooked. It was then that he decided to build his own drone using a kit. Mike’s love of drones continued to grow, and he has since made many friends via Facebook that share his love of flying. He has built more than two dozen drones, and each one is built for a specific purpose. Mike has racing drones, long range cinematic filming drones, freestyle drones, micro drones for flying in a house, smaller drones that carry a GoPro, and more.

Mike’s passion for drones finally gave him a reason to leave behind the construction industry (not something we can all say about our impulse buys, but — hey — good for Mike). He continues to research drones and discover ways he can monetize his passion (another thing we all wish we could do). Mike started his own business, realizing drones can be used to do things that people might not have time to do on their own. For instance, safety checks at construction sites can take up to two hours, but with the assistance of a drone, an inspection can take as little as 15 minutes.

Mike also offers real estate advertising. He gives virtual tours using his drones and catches beautiful shots of homes. As Mike continues to increase his clientele, he says the most popular services he offers are construction site videos and real estate photos. Mike proves that we can live doing what we love. Never deny yourself impulse buys, because you never know where they’ll lead you.