Ignore the doubters.
Do the goddamn experiments and keep a METICULOUS log of your activity, practice, procedures etc. Videos, transcripts, audios, pictures, notes, EVERYTHING.
Most of the greatest minds in our history all came from little to no educational background, (or completely different fields)
People forget that science isn't about a degree, it's about curiosity.
Go do it my man.
It's true, it might be easier if you can have a patron or mentor but don't let that stop you from starting. You can do both at the same time. Send a respectful letter or phone the Professor and say something along the lines of:
"Hi, My names John, I'm doing some cool research about xyz, I thought you'd be intereted because
I'm running my xth wave of experiments (never say it's your first or second) at the moments and it's due to finish on the xth.
I'm telling you this because it would be great to have another perspective/opinion/insight about the results. Already there are some amazing trends beginning to show."
Be confident and display certainty in your communications.
Don't get too caught up in the pomposity of academia. Respect it, but don't aspire to it, keep things simple man.
FYI. I read and use various reports, and papers all the time in my occupation, and most of it could be said with about 60% less verbage. It's disgraceful that the most 'educated' minds require so many words, they are nearly as bad as lawyers, (which use these massive amounts of words to sneak their own interpretation into)
Toasting to your success my friend.