20 Ways to Kick Start Your Motivation Beginning Today

kick start your motivation

Raise your hand if you are motivated all the time? Wish it was so. But not realistic, right? The biggest challenge we face as small business owner’s is staying motivated, interested, on track and engaged, especially when we go through dry patches, interruptions and change.

These cycles are a normal part of the human experience. We simply are not motivated all the time and will go through cycles of ups, downs and stalls. We all need a little push now and then to get back to our routine and tackling things we don’t always want to do. It’s quite amazing, when you think about how much we all deal with on a daily basis, and how well we actually stay on track.

So, what can we do when our motivation gets off for too long?

Whether it’s a secret passion you’ve always wanted to pursue or you just need a nudge to help you tackle work or boring chores, these motivational tips can help you kick start and get back on track and get moving.

Remove Yourself From Situations that Cause Conflict/Confusion

Identify the situations in your life that cause conflict, confusion and angst and step away from them so that you can refocus. These can be friends, family, co-workers and clients. But a brief vacation from them can give you a much needed attitude adjustment that can positively impact your motivation.

Change Up or Simplify Your Routine

Routine can be a very good thing, but it can also get boring and redundant.  Make a few small changes to when you exercise, your driving routes, taking quiet time, family time and having fun.

Stay Focused on Your Daily and Weekly Priorities

Have a weekly calendar of your top priorities. But break it down into the most important daily goals and tasks and push anything else into the another week or day. Don’t get distracted by shiny stuff that isn’t essential for that day.

Remove Disruptive, Difficult, Negative People From Your Life

We choose many of the people we engage with daily. Prune those that are more difficult, disruptive, negative and who create more drama out of the mix.

Change Your Hairstyle and Color, Update Your Sense of Style

Do you basically look and act the same as you did 15-20 years ago? Come on, update your hair style, color and fashion sense. Bring yourself into current times with a simple makeover that will make you feel good about yourself.

Take Short Trips, Discover New Places

Go and explore areas near where you live that are interesting and fun. Plan a lunch or dinner with friends to a town or area you haven’t been to before. Be adventuresome.

Join a Class, Workshop or Seminar on Something that Fascinates You

There are amazing continuing education opportunities in just about every community to take a class on something that fascinates you, be it art, crafts, writing, chess, travel or just about anything you can think of.  Check your local community colleges, county schools, parks and recreation for ideas.

Start a Free Style Diary of Ideas, Quotes, Thoughts, Poems

It’s amazing what comes out when you just let your creative juices flow and just write. Get a special notebook and make it your “creative, free style writing place”.

Write a Book on Something You Know Really Well

If you’ve always dreamed of being an author, then write an outline on something you know how to do well and can explain. It can be on business practices or personal hobbies. This can easily translate into a book/ebook.

Read Books and Publications on Stimulating Subjects

Do you have interests in things that you want to know more about?  I do, and I try to read up and learn more about them regularly. This always translates into writing or travel ideas.

Visualize Your Success, Act it Out Daily

Sometimes we need to take actions and do things we do not completely yet believe in, but we know have worked for others. Start writing, speaking, painting, piano lessons, volunteering, join and organize around causes, cycling, running. Do something daily that leads you closer to your definition of success in both business and personal areas.

Time Block Your Priorities Weekly, be Accountable for What You do

When you plan out your weekly and daily schedule, block out time for work, family, friends, fun and you. In this day and age of so many responsibilities, activities and choices, we need to plan and prioritize the what, when, how and why of just about everything.

Create, Imagine, Muse and Play

Can’t say enough about developing and allowing time for your creative, imaginative self to engage in play time.  When’s the last time you had a proper vacation and really unplugged to enjoy pure fun?

Pick People that You Want to Get to Know Better, Initiate Activities

Think of a few people you already know or have just met that you would like to get to know better and plan and initiate some activities with them. Plan things that you have in common first and then get more adventuresome.

Develop and Express Your Sense of Humor, Laugh Daily

What’s funny to you? What ignites your sense of humor? Is it comedy clubs, movies, books, art, writing, meet ups, hobbies, athletics that are fun, where you can exercise your humor? Find reasons to laugh daily, which is awesome for your health, too.

Listen to Music, Take up an Instrument or Sing, Fill Yourself with Vibrations that Move You

The power of music in our lives is well documented with children, the elderly, war veterans and the power of a crowd at a concert or festival. In The Power of Music, Elena Mannes explores how music affects different groups of people and how it could play a role in health care.

Adopt and/or Create Your Own Mantras

Inspirational slogans, mantras, sayings and words can help us in challenging moments and give us just the push we need to get through. Pick your favorites, post them so you can see them, say them out loud to yourself so you can hear them.

Do Nothing, be Still and Breathe

Although it sometimes seems a guilty pleasure or waste of time to be quiet, still, breathe and do nothing, it actually can be beneficial and help us relax and get focused. Here are 18 benefits of deep breathing.

Reframe Negativity, Look From Another Perspective

There is an iconic song and lyric by Jonny Mercer written and recorded in 1944 for a movie that says “you have to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”.  We can’t always change the negative, but we can reframe it in a more positive way so that we find the lessons and the silver lining from it, which is always there if we look for it.

Seek out Circles of Motivational Allies and Positive People

Build coalitions, circles and groups of like minded, thinking and acting people who share your commitment to being motivated, supportive and encouraging.

Groom and Condition Your Body, Mind and Spirit Daily

Finally, by taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we set ourselves up to have a sense of well being that is essential for finding and sustaining motivation. We should do the very best we can each day to stay on track and seek out help to get back on track when we need it.

Motivation definitely comes and goes based on circumstance, passion, interest and commitment.

Be willing to change things up to kick start your perspective, attitude and habits and you will have the best chance of keeping your mojo flowing and never get too far off track.

What’s first on your motivation list today?

Motivated Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Motivational

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Tickle Your Funny Bone: 20 Desk Toys for the Office

033015 drinking bird toy

Personalizing your work-space can boost your moral. Fun gadgets and toys can keep you company during those long work hours and provide some amusement to break the stress. A hilarious or unexpected knick-knack can spark conversations with co-workers or maybe even customers and clients.

Check out this list of 20 desk toys for the office that can bring a smile to your face.

Pick Up the Cent Bank

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Loose change can be a bother, but here’s our two cents. Turn those spare coins into a source of amusement with this Pick Up the Cent Bank available at ModCloth. Just place a coin on the button and wait for the kitty to pop out and swipe it away.

5 Years of Dino Land Planters

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Get a blast from the past with one of these assorted 5 Years of Dino Land Planters from Etsy member crazycouture. The humble plastic dino gets a new life as a place for your favorite office plant. There are also a selection of animals planters if you prefer. Besides bringing a smile, there are also the added health benefits to having a little green in your work space.

Cell Phone Fiddle Plaque

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Place this Cell Phone Fiddle Plaque from Perpetual Kid in your office for a two-fold effect. Get a laugh from co-workers but also give them a friendly reminder to be considerate.

Blox Ice-Bat

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It’s so ugly, it’s … or, who are we kidding, it’s just plain cute. This blox ice-bat from Uglydoll is one of a menagerie of cool little creatures. Anyone of them could be a welcome addition to your office space. You can’t really help but stop and laugh when catching site of this little guy’s face. Who knew a vinyl figurine could lift your spirits?

Snowtime Anytime Snowballs

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Keep this pile of plush Snowtime Anytime Snowballs from Think Geek around and you can start your own office snowball fight. You never have to worry about them melting and creating a mess. They are fun year-round. Bonus points for being machine washable!

Genius Paperclip Holder

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No digging for paperclips in the bottom of a drawer for you. This Genius Paperclip Holder keeps your supplies at hand and a smile on your face. Who knows? It may even help you come up with that next brilliant business idea.

USB Pet Rock

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The ordinary pet rock is getting a high tech upgrade, though it’s kind of hard to see how it could improve its usefulness. This USB Pet Rock from Firebox.com may just sit on a desk all day. But it can also provide a sense of amusement for you, co-workers or visitors to your office. Best pet ever.

Maki Tacks Sushi Pushpins

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Is that sushi sitting on their desk? Nope, but it is a fun and useful office accessory fit for raw fish lovers. These Maki Tacks Sushi Pushpins from Perpetual Kid are a charming point of interest and can be used to pin important memos to the corkboard. Just don’t be tempted to eat this sushi for lunch.

Captain Jules’s Useless Box

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As the name suggests, Captain Jules Useless Box from Think Geek is …. well, useless. That is unless you think getting a laugh from your co-workers is a valuable commodity. Press the button and watch the gears turn as the box opens. Then watch it promptly shut again. Yep, that’s all it does. But it may also put a smile on your face after a long day.

Gnome-Be-Gone Decision Maker

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This one is for the indecisive individual with a taste for humor — and the need for a place to put your pens. Spin the base of the Gnome-Be-Gone Decision Maker from Uncommon Goods and get an answer to your pressing questions. Plus it’s an amusing piece of reclaimed steel design that’s sure to be a conversation starter.

Shot From a Cannon Bookends

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So this one isn’t necessarily an office toy, but it is a whole lot of fun. These Shot From a Cannon Bookendsadd a touch of amusement and whimsy to any work place. They can be displayed on your bookshelf or even desk.

Pop! Animation

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This line of vinyl figures features characters from countless movies, TV shows, games, and more. The signature big eyes and head sit atop little detailed bodies for an undeniably fun toy. With so many to choose from the problem becomes where to stop.

Tengu USB-Powered Character

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It will keep you company during those long hours at the office. Tengu lights up to brighten your day and lip syncs to music, your voice, or other noises.

10-Doh! Figure

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Its name is a pun. This figurine is crafted to look like an old Nintendo game cartridge and can grace the desk of anyone with a gamer heart. You can even personalize it with an option to design your own game label.

Tabletop Air Hockey

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Here’s one for the arcade lovers. This tabletop version is a functioning mini replica of the ever popular game. Keep this on your desk and you’ve got a boredom buster that you can share.

Stuffed Blobfish

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He’s hilarious because he’s so ugly. Ugly and yet lovable. This pink plush is in the shape of the endangered blob fish, considered by some to be the ugliest creature in the world. But hey, blob fish need love too!

Desktop Dumpster

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Do you find yourself in the middle of the day and itching to express your graffiti art? With this desktop dumpster you can have a convenient and legal place to tag right at the office.

Mini Wind-Up Robot

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Wind-up robots are a classic and showcase your fun side. Sit this guy on your desk and you’ve got a space-age buddy that offers laughs and entertainment.

Panda Pile-Up

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No one will be expecting this one. A pile of pandas is fun enough but this desk toy is also a game. See how many you can manage to stack on the tire using a pair of chopsticks.

Toymail

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These odd creatures sit on your desk and can receive messages. Messages are sent through an app and your desktop pet will snort, wheeze, howl or growl to let you know. To add to the humor messages can be read back to you in a funny voice.

So there it is, a list of fun and hilarious desk toys for the office you might not have seen before. Hopefully it’s given you some inspiration and laughs. Don’t be afraid to add a little humor to your day at work.

Drinking Bird Toy Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Weird Coffee Mugs to Inspire You and Brighten Your Day

weird coffee mugs

You use your coffee mug every day, so why not go for one that is personal and inspiring? Take a look at this list of weird coffee mugs the likes of which your co-workers probably haven’t seen before. They will definitely be a conversation starter at home or at the office when you pour a cup of joe.

Ink Black Coffee Mug

weird coffee mugs

It’s an adorable pink sea creature and it’s serving up a delicious beverage. This Ink Black Coffee Mugavailable from ModCloth is a little over the top but does offer a certain charm. Quirky elements like it’s tentacle handle and suction cups add fun to the morning brew.

I Believe in Bigfoot Funny Sasquatch Mug

weird coffee mugs

Stainless steel and a spill-proof lid are not all this I Believe in Big Foot Funny Sasquatch Mug by designer NetSpeak at Zazzle has to offer. Sporting this fun container while you sip your favorite hot beverage lets people know you believe in the mythical forest dweller.

Laboratory Beaker Mug

weird coffee mugs

Here’s one for the science lovers. The Laboratory Beaker Mug from Think Geek highlights the chemistry behind your favorite drink. The glass body with graduated markings turn your everyday mug into a beaker worthy of a laboratory.

With Great Beard Comes Great Responsibility Mug

weird coffee mugs

With great beard comes great responsibility, or so this mug from TikiTee on Etsy proclaims. If you take great pride in your beard and all that it entails, then this mug with a touch of humor might be the one for you.

Recycling Bin Mug

weird coffee mugs

The Recycling Bin Mug from Big Mouth Toys satisfies the need to raise environmental awareness and satiate a caffeine addiction all at the same time. It would be hard to miss this blue novelty in the break room or on a desk. It looks just like a mini recycling bin.

Executive Decision Maker Mug

weird coffee mugs

Sometimes it’s hard to make a decision. With the Executive Decision Maker Mug from Perpetual Kid, your decision making process could become a whole lot simpler. Or maybe you can just use it to figure out what to have for lunch.

Saw Through Wood Mug

weird coffee mugs

There’s nothing subtle about the Saw Through Wood Mug from Retro Planet. You’re a DIYer who’s not afraid to get your hands dirty, and this mug says so! Any handyman (or woman) can be quickly identified walking the halls with this stoneware beauty. So stand aside.

Marshmallow Smiling Faces Mug Set

weird coffee mugs

Share the fun with the Marshmallow Smiling Faces mug set from Retro Planet. It offers not one but four ridiculously cute marshmallow mugs. You can’t help but to be happy sipping a hot drink from these little darlings.

First Aid Mug

weird coffee mugs

Coffee is your life line and you make no attempt to hide that fact. This First Aid Coffee Mug from Perpetual Kid proudly proclaims your treatment of choice in case of an emergency. Don’t be surprised if you get a few chuckles from colleagues when you guzzle your coffee from this mug.

Camera Lens Mug

weird coffee mugs

It looks like a camera lens but it’s really a mug in disguise. The Camera Lens Mug from Gadgets and Gear is also a thermos so you can keep your coffee hot in style while getting the job done on the go.

Panda Mug

weird coffee mugs

Have a love for pandas? It’s hard not to smile while looking at the cute face on this Panda Mug from Perpetual Kid. Add in the matching spoon and you run the risk of getting a case of the warm fuzzies.

Sriracha Mug

weird coffee mugs

It’s a bold chili pepper red and proudly proclaims your love of the famous hot sauce. This Sriracha Mugfrom Think Geek will satisfy both your craving for caffeine and novelty dishware.

Burgers, Fries and Dogs Mug

weird coffee mugs

The Burgers, Fries and Dogs Mug from Retro Planet takes you back to a time that seems long past. But you can experience it again when you gaze upon your favorite comfort foods depicted against white ceramic each time you have your morning coffee.

Lobster Creature Mug

weird coffee mugs

The fun element in Lobster Creature Mug from Gadgets and Gear is revealed after you’ve taken a few sips. As you reach the bottom of the mug, this friendly lobster is revealed. You could also be a little mischievous and serve a drink to colleagues to wait and see if they notice.

Ceramic Greek Coffee Cup

weird coffee mugs

We are happy to serve you! Do you recognize the design on this Ceramic Greek Coffee Cup from Uncommon Goods? For fans of the iconic New York City coffee cup, this ceramic version will last you for years to come.

Pawsitively Bemused Mug

weird coffee mugs

Here’s one for cat lovers. The Pawsitively Bemused Mug from ModCloth is a fun take on the classic cat mug motif. Only now, instead of a cat face, you can sip your coffee from a black paw complete with adorable pink pads.

Bicycle Mug Set

weird coffee mugs

Do you love your two wheeled vehicle? Why not celebrate that passion with this Bicycle Mug Set from World Market. While they may not be the wildest on our list, they could add a fun pop of color as you share a morning cup with colleagues.

Nut Handle Tea Cups

weird coffee mugs

Here’s a choice for the mechanically minded. These Nut Handle Tea Cups from Uncommon Goods definitely have a rugged industrial edge. The stoneware body features handles with copper fittings for a look that comes straight from the garage. And Oil Can Teapot is also part of the set.

Toy Robot Mug

weird coffee mugs

For a touch of whimsy in the office, the Toy Robot Mug from Retro Planet is filled with nostalgia. An array of vintage toy robots cover this mug and beam with personality. It’s just plain fun!

Hot Rod Heated Mug

weird coffee mugs

The Hot Rod Heated Mug from Think Geek has it all for hot rod enthusiasts or those seeking a bit of extra attention. Sleek red finish, analog temperature gauge, and chrome touches are all part of the design. But the best feature of all may be the ability to plug into your car’s 12v outlet and keep your favorite beverage piping hot.

Just because you’re good at getting the job done doesn’t mean you have to be completely serious while doing it. Adding a little fun to your day can be as easy as sporting a quirky coffee mug. It’s a little thing, that can make a big difference at the office.


Coffee Mug Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration

Halloween offers many potential advertising opportunities for businesses. You can use the holiday to promote a sale or event. You can show off your festive spirit. Or you can even show off how some of your products might be useful for various Halloween activities.

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to Halloween advertising, there are many great examples out there that you can learn from. Below are 20 great ads you can use for inspiration for Halloween advertising ideas.

Halloween Advertising Ideas

M&M’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - M&M's

These minimalist M&M’s ads show off the product in a really festive way, with Halloween imagery and colors. They don’t include a whole lot of actual information, but consumers pretty much already know what they’re getting with M&M’s. So the ads serve as a simple but festive reminder.

Disneyland

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Disneyland

In a series of ads released by Disneyland Paris, the company used some of its recognizable characters to get a Halloween message across. The holiday is the perfect time to highlight villains of any kind, so the ads featured a number of Disney’s famous bad guys.

McDonald’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - McDonald's

This ad repositions a classic McDonald’s menu item as another classic treat. Since you normally think of candy when you think of Halloween, showing off the burger in that setting adds a festive twist to the ad.

Heineken

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Heineken

In this ad, Heineken uses humor and a selection of recognizable Halloween characters to get a message across about celebrating with Heineken.

Snickers

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Snickers

This is another ad that uses humor to get a point across. Snickers sends a clear message about its candy by using a familiar Halloween scene with just one strange twist.

Cheetos

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Cheetos

Cheetos included some Halloween imagery in this campaign. But it sticks with its recognizable branding by including mascot Chester Cheetah in that Halloween setting.

Mini Cooper

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper normally sticks with a pretty minimalist style in its ads. So when it released the Halloween themed ad above, it added a little bit of a spooky twist.

Burger King

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Burger King

Burger King used Halloween as an excuse to release a whole new product. The ads touted both the look and the flavor of the Halloween Whopper, which was a special product just released for the season.

Martha Stewart Pets

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Martha Stewart Pets

Sometimes you don’t even need a groundbreaking idea to sell a product. For example, if you sell Halloween costumes for pets like Martha Stewart Pets and Petsmart, you can just use some pictures of cute dogs dressed up in funny outfits.

Chobani

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Chobini

Even if you’re not a business that sells products for animals, you can still use the cute factor in your advertising like this one from Chobani.

Papa John’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Papa John's

Pumpkin carving is a popular Halloween activity. So you can use that method to show off your logo or branding in advertisements. This Papa John’s ad also details some deals customers can get around Halloween.

Guinness

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Guinness

Guinness released an actual promotional item to celebrate Halloween – some simple coasters with a Halloween theme. So the company created an add to promote those items along with its beer.

Woolite

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Woolite

In this ad, Woolite wanted to show off how dark it can keep clothing even through many washes. So the depiction of witches (or lack thereof) is a unique way to integrate the holiday.

Oreo

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Oreo

Oreo constantly comes up with new and different ways to show off its products in ways that celebrate different seasons or events. This one has a Halloween theme, but still features branding elements that are consistent with Oreo’s other campaigns.

Chipotle

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Chipotle

For its Boorito campaign, Chipotle wanted to highlight its own natural ingredients by positioning the ingredients used by other companies as “spooky.”

Goodwill

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Goodwill

Goodwill can be a great place for people to get Halloween costumes or other supplies. So it created a minimalistic ad campaign to support the idea of celebrating Halloween without creating a lot of additional waste.

Pepsi/Coca-Cola

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Pepsi/Coca-Cola

Halloween also presents a unique opportunity for brands to position themselves against the competition. Pepsi tried that here by positioning Coca-Cola as scary. But Coke fired back with a different interpretation of the same image.

Steak-n-Shake

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Steak-n-Shake

Steak-n-Shake opted for a retro vibe for this advertisement for its fall and Halloween themed flavors. It works with the restaurant’s vibe but also presents a festive twist for the restaurant.

Absolut

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Absolut

Absolut sticks with a very consistent design throughout its ads. So for its Halloween and fall themed ads, it simply included some festive and seasonal elements in that same recognizable format.

Reese’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Reese's

Reese’s also has a very recognizable advertising style. So the brand kept it simple with its signature orange packaging, which also happens to work for Halloween, and a zippy tagline.

Halloween Cake Photo via Shutterstock

Check out our Business Gift Giving Guide for more tips about holiday trends.

More in: Holidays

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Cheap Drones You Can Afford Today

The Best Cheap Drones - 20 Cheap Drones You Can Afford Today

The growth of the drone market is lowering the price point, and making these aircrafts more accessible to the average person. Whether you are buying one as a toy, a hobby or for a business application, you have many options. And of course these options greatly depend on how much you are willing to pay.

As for the future of drone flight, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FAA just finalized the rules for small unmanned aircraft systems in June of this year, which will create new opportunities for businesses and governments. Industry estimates cited by the FAA believe this new ruling has the potential to generate more than $82 billion in the US, while creating more than 100,000 new jobs over the next decade.

So, here are 20 best cheap drones — all under $150 — any one of which could be a great way for you or your business to learn as much as possible before you upgrade to the more expensive choices. From the whimsical to the utilitarian, you can buy one just for the fun of it, or to help you get ready to get your share of that $82 billion market.

List of the Best Cheap Drones

Syma X5C

The Best Cheap Drones - Syma X5C

For a drone that costs $40.94 the X5C has all the tools you need to fly, capture video and photos so you can become more proficient. The X5C has a 4CH HD video camera and micro SD card with a flight time of about seven minutes.

Hubsan X4 H107C With HD Camera

The Best Cheap Drones - Hubsan X4 H107C With HD Camera

This small drone comes with a 2MP HD camera $42.49 with a hovering time of nine minutes. The X4 H107C is made by one of the biggest brands in the industry so it has quality even though it is less than $50.

Aerix AERIUS

The Best Cheap Drones - Aerix AERIUS

This is the world’s smallest quadcopter coming in at 3cm x 3cm x 2cm or about 1″ all around with an ultra-Compact 2.4 gHz controller and up to seven minutes of flight time. The company has a US Patent pending on this drone, and it has managed to put many of the specs in big drones, including 6-axis gyro-stabilization, 360 degree rotational yaw and more for $45.

Black Talon – Micro FPV Beginner Racing Drone

The Best Cheap Drones - Black Talon - Micro FPV Beginner Racing Drone

There are some expensive and fast racing drones out there, but if you are just starting the Black Talon has a top speed of 15 MPH with up to seven minutes of flight time for $139. You also have the option of getting the extended flight package so you can fly for up to 25 minutes.

UDI U818A HD

The Best Cheap Drones - UDI U818A HD

If you want a drone with no frills that will give you the necessary skills to learn control, this is it. The U818A is a great pick for aspiring pilots who want to control the flight themselves and take video on a limited budget. The frame protects the rotors and the 4GB micro SD card lets you capture a good amount of video or pictures. The flight time for this $71.98 drone is around nine minutes.

Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam

The Best Cheap Drones - Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam

The 1SQ is yet another drone with decent camera and controls for capturing images. It takes 1MP still pictures and records video at 1280×720 30fps on the 2GB micro SD it comes with. Some of the functions include, Auto-FLIP for front-to-back, back-to-front or side-to-side somersaults. The $129.99 gets you up to 10 minutes of flight time.

UDI RC U27 FREE LOOP

The Best Cheap Drones - UDI RC U27 FREE LOOP

At only $26 this drone has a 3.7V 450 mAh battery that gives you hovering time of a little more than five and a half minutes. There other micro (50MM) and small (100MM) drones in this price range and cheaper, so if you are a beginner, the FREE LOOP and others in its class are the ideal way to get your feet wet.

SeresRoad JJRC H8C

The Best Cheap Drones - SeresRoad JJRC H8C

The H8C gives you four speed settings that increase in 25 percent increments. The transmitter also offers an LCD monitor with outputs for signal conditions and battery power, which gives you up to 8 minutes of flight time. The $49.75 price tag includes a 2MB HD camera and a 2GB memory card. This drone is large compared to the other ones, coming at 7.87 x 7.87 x 1.97 inch.

WLtoys V686G

The Best Cheap Drones - WLtoys V686G

At $87.90, the V686G gives you a 5.8G real time image transmission first-person view (FPV) 2MP camera with vibration absorber and eight minutes of flight time. The one key return feature ensures your drone gets back to you, and the missile launcher, water cannon, hook & basket and bubble blower adds more fun to your flying experience.

Holy Stone F181

The Best Cheap Drones - Holy Stone F181

The F181 captures 1280 X 720 images and video at 30 fps with the HD camera. The flight time is around eight minutes, and a key 360 degree 4-way flip lets you do so to the left, right, forward and backward with continuous roll for $99.98.

JXD 510G

The Best Cheap Drones - JXD 510G

The 510G has 5.8GHz FPV with high altitude hold mode, Wi-Fi camera, 2MP camera with 720p and optional phone control. The 3.7V 800mAh delivers eight minutes of flight time. The $89.99 price tag varies greatly, so shop around until you get the best price.

JJRC H26D

The Best Cheap Drones - JJRC H26D

The $109 price tag for this drones delivers some great features, including a 3.0MP Wide angle camera, 2-Axis adjustable gimbal and one button return. The flight time is only seven minutes, but the solid construction makes it a great value.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon

The Best Cheap Drones - Star Wars Millennium Falcon

If you are a Star Wars fan, this is definitely a great way to have some fun with a drone. The flight time for the Falcon is five minutes, but it does have some special sound effects to add to the realism. The price varies greatly depending where you get it, the $80.36 is one of the lowest prices.

Longtian Syma X8G

The Best Cheap Drones - Longtian Syma X8G

The camera on this phone is listed at 8MP, which presents great opportunities for capturing high quality images. The 7.4V 2000MAH also delivers one the longest flight times for this price range, with up to 12 minutes. At $147.50 it definitely packs some great features.

Cheerson CX-35

The Best Cheap Drones - Cheerson CX-35

The CX-35 is made by a popular brand, and at $145.99 the quality build and the 2MP wide angle HD camera with independent video transmission system will ensure you get your pictures and video as promised. The 1300mah battery provides up to seven minutes of flight time, and the one-key return along with a low-voltage warning will bring your drone safely back to you.

Potensic F183W

The Best Cheap Drones - Potensic F183W

You can fly the F183 with your smart mobile device when you don’t have the remote using Wi-Fi.  A flight time of seven minutes, 2MP HD FPV camera, two control modes and a 3D flipping button are some of the features of this $107.99 drone. 

DBPOWER U818A

The Best Cheap Drones - DBPOWER U818A

If you want a live video feed in HD from your smart mobile device, the U818A has an FPV Wi-Fi feature to make it possible. The Gravity Induction mode lets you control the drone based on the angle of your phone. And for $139.99, it also has anti-crash safeguards while you are flying for up to 9 minutes with the 3.7V 700mAh battery.

Fayee FY560

The Best Cheap Drones - Fayee FY560

The 5.8G FPV monitor will let you view your images and video over long distances from the HD 2.0MP camera. The 360 degree accurate localization feature will let you see where your drone is at all times. The flight time for this $140.31 air craft is around eight minutes.

MJX X101

The Best Cheap Drones - MJX X101

The X101 lets you choose three different type of cameras depending on your needs. It has 3D flips tumbling skills, 6-axis gyro stabilization system and a search light are some of the features. With a flight time of 10 minutes, the $149.99 price tag may well be worth it.

Helizone

The Best Cheap Drones - Helizone

The Anti-Shock System of the Helizone captures high quality shots by stabilizing the camera with the shock absorbers. The Transmitter Control Mode and Throttle Limit Mode give you different flight modes and limits the throttle if you are a beginner. The drone is priced at $139.99

ELENKER 509G

The Best Cheap Drones - ELENKER 509G

The 509G is a 5.8G FPV with an X design that includes a 2.0MP camera, 6-axis gyro and a flight time of six minutes. For $135.99 you get a one-button return and fixed altitude function for better control.

* * *The features on drones in this price range are pretty much the same. And since the industry is growing, there are many manufacturers, so you have numerous options.While these prices may change, they were accurate at the time of  reporting and should give you  a good idea of where to get started.
San Francisco Drone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Top Podcast Microphones for Under $200

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - 20 Top Podcast Microphones for Under $200

If you are a small business looking to increase your presence, a podcast is one of the best and cheapest ways to share your expertise with your customers. And with on demand podcast platforms readily available, such as iTunes and SoundCloud, it has become that much easier to build audience.

One of the most important tools of the trade is a great microphone, and depending on how much you want to invest, the price runs the gamut. But for this roundup, the microphones will be under $200.

The Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting

Pyle PDMICR42R

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Pyle PDMICR42R

The Pyle PDMICR42R has a retro design that is great to look at. But it also provides the basics so you can comfortably deliver your podcast with professional-sounding results.  The microphone retails for $31.39 and has a dynamic moving coil element with a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response rate of 30Hz-15kHz.

ECOOPRO Studio Condenser Recording Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - ECOOPRO Studio Condenser Recording Microphone

The ECOOPRO is a side-address condenser microphone that uses a cardioid polar pattern with HD broadcasting capability. The plug-and-play function and 3.5mm audio lets you plug it into any standard laptop or PC and use the sound card to make any adjustment to improve sound quality. At $39.99, it is a  bargain to be sure.

Stony-Edge

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Stony-Edge

The Stony-Edge has simple designed for portability and can plug into smartphones, tablets and PCs. For just $49.95, it features noise blocking technology, built-in windscreen and a goose neck frame so it can easily be adjusted.

Blue Microphones

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Blue Microphones

Blue Microphones Snowball iCE is a cardiod condenser microphone that plugs in directly with a USB cable. It doesn’t require any drivers, and it is Skype certified. It has a frequency response rate of 40 –18 kHz and sample/word Rate of 44.1 kHz/16 bit. For $49.00 it delivers considerable features.

CAD U37 USB

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - CAD U37 USB

The CAD U37 is a USB studio condenser recording microphone with cardioid pick-up pattern and 10dB overload-protection switch to minimize distortion. Retailing for just $42.00, it has a bass-reduction switch diminishing room noise and frequency response rate of 20Hz – 20kHz.

Samson Go

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Samson Go

The Samson Go, which retails at just $39.99, has switchable cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns with a frequency response of 20Hz–18kHz and a resolution of 16-bit, 44.1kHz. The compact design and USB plug makes it easy to clip on your laptop or carry anywhere. The company offers the Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software as a paid download, which is a great feature if you are in a noisy environment.

Behringer Podcastudio USB

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - BEHRINGER PODCASTUDIO USB

If you want a full recording studio for just $99.99, the Behringer PodcastStudio includes a USB audio interface, mixer, microphone, headphones, and downloadable professional audio software. This bundle offers all the tools you need to get hands on experience at an affordable price. It includes the UCA200 audio interface, XENYX 502 mixer, HPM1000 headphones, the Ultravoice XM8500 dynamic microphone, XLR mic cable and two stereo RCA cables.

MXL 990 Condenser Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - MXL 990 Condenser Microphone

At just $84.46, the MXL 990 condenser microphone with shock mount has solid construction with a vintage look. It comes with a large 3/4″ gold-sputtered diaphragm, 30Hz-20kHz frequency response and 130dB maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL).

Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone

The Shure MV5 digital condenser microphone has DSP preset modes for vocals, flat and instruments with automatic gain application, EQ, compression and limiting for better control. It also has a built in headphone output for real-time monitoring and it is Apple MFi (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) Certified for direct connection to any iOS device. The $99 price tag is also a selling point.

NEAT Widget C Desktop USB Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - NEAT Widget C Desktop USB Microphone

If you are looking for a microphone with a modern design, the $99 NEAT Widget C  is for you. It has a plug-and-play with Mac/Windows feature with an integrated pop filter and an internal shock-mounted condenser capsule. It includes a full-range 96kHz/24 bit audio and frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz.

M-Audio USB Condenser Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - M-Audio USB Condenser Microphone

The M-Audio has a large 16mm cardioid capsule protected by wire mesh to guard against unwanted noise. It can capture 16-bit recording at CD quality and more at -44.1 or 48 kHz with the USB connection. And at $98.75, it is certainly a bargain.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone

A bit pricier at $147.95, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS comes from a proven brand delivering high quality A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate. It also includes a headphone jack with high-output internal headphone amplifier and mix control.

Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone – Silver

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone – Silver

This is another entry from Blue Microphones, which manufactures professional grade equipment used in the recording industry. Retailing at $125.92, the Yeti has a tri-capsule array 3 condenser capsules to record in almost any environment with a multiple pattern selection of cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo. The frequency response is 20Hz – 20kHz, and a sample rate of 48 kHz.

AKG P420 High-Performance Dual-Capsule True Condenser Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - AKG P420 High-Performance Dual-Capsule True Condenser Microphone

The AKG P420 is a studio grade condenser microphone with dual-element design that accommodates cardioid, omni, and figure-8 patterns. Retailing for $199, it includes a shockmount and a metal case with a -20dB pad switch and a bass cut filter switch to eliminate unwanted low frequencies.

sE Electronics X1 Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - sE Electronics X1 Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic

At less than $189, the sE Electronics X1 packs a punch. It has a 1″ hand made, diaphragm, 10dB pad and Bass cut with a solid build. The frequency response is 20Hz-20KHz, with  -32 dBV/Pa (25.1mV/Pa) sensitivity and a cardioid polar Pattern.

Behringer B-2 Pro

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - BEHRINGER B-2 PRO

The Behringer B-2 Pro is a German designed microphone with professional 1” gold-sputtered dual-diaphragm condenser. It has frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and two selectable pickup pattern, omni for capturing sound in all directions and cardioid. It retails for $149.99.

Blue Microphones Spark Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Blue Microphones Spark Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

The Spark from Blue Microphones has a premium condenser capsule with professional grade recording features for a bit more: $199. It includes a pop filter and custom-designed shockmount to reduce plosives and distortion while delivering isolation during recordings. The company also provides a detailed recording guide with professional tips and a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Rode NT-USB USB Condenser Microphone

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone

Meanwhile, $169 will get you the Rode NT-USB condenser microphone compatible with recording applications on both Windows and Mac OS based computers as well as on any other recording app that accepts an external microphone. It comes with a premium pop-filter to minimize plosives (hard ‘B’, ‘T’ or ‘P’ that, when spoken, produce a harsh sound) during speech recordings.

Studio Projects B1 Vocal Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Studio Projects B1 Vocal Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

The $119.99 Studio Projects B1 is a cardioid condenser microphone with a true 1 inch 3 um gold sputtered large diaphragm to capture high quality vocal recordings.  It has a selectable filter for 75Hz and 150Hz, as well as selectable pads for -10dB and -20dB.

Marantz Professional MPM-500A

Best Budget Microphones for Podcasting - Marantz Professional MPM-500A

Marantz has been developing high fidelity audio systems for more than four decades, and the MPM-500A is a professional grade hi-quality 45mm cardioid condenser microphone that is a tesament to that legacy. The $176.49 mic comes with shock mount, desktop tripod stand and windscreen, a frequency response of 30–20,000Hz, and complete voice-recording system for interfacing with a computer sound card.

* * *It is important to note, quality microphones practically last forever. You really have to go out of your way to break them. So if you plan to podcast professionally for an extended amount of time, it is best to buy the most expensive and highly rated unit you can afford. However, if you’re just testing out the waters to see how your podcasting will go, any of the 20 microphones listed here should be a good place to start.Microphone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration

Halloween offers many potential advertising opportunities for businesses. You can use the holiday to promote a sale or event. You can show off your festive spirit. Or you can even show off how some of your products might be useful for various Halloween activities.

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to Halloween advertising, there are many great examples out there that you can learn from. Below are 20 great ads you can use for inspiration for Halloween advertising ideas.

Halloween Advertising Ideas

M&M’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - M&M's

These minimalist M&M’s ads show off the product in a really festive way, with Halloween imagery and colors. They don’t include a whole lot of actual information, but consumers pretty much already know what they’re getting with M&M’s. So the ads serve as a simple but festive reminder.

Disneyland

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Disneyland

In a series of ads released by Disneyland Paris, the company used some of its recognizable characters to get a Halloween message across. The holiday is the perfect time to highlight villains of any kind, so the ads featured a number of Disney’s famous bad guys.

McDonald’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - McDonald's

This ad repositions a classic McDonald’s menu item as another classic treat. Since you normally think of candy when you think of Halloween, showing off the burger in that setting adds a festive twist to the ad.

Heineken

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Heineken

In this ad, Heineken uses humor and a selection of recognizable Halloween characters to get a message across about celebrating with Heineken.

Snickers

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Snickers

This is another ad that uses humor to get a point across. Snickers sends a clear message about its candy by using a familiar Halloween scene with just one strange twist.

Cheetos

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Cheetos

Cheetos included some Halloween imagery in this campaign. But it sticks with its recognizable branding by including mascot Chester Cheetah in that Halloween setting.

Mini Cooper

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper normally sticks with a pretty minimalist style in its ads. So when it released the Halloween themed ad above, it added a little bit of a spooky twist.

Burger King

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Burger King

Burger King used Halloween as an excuse to release a whole new product. The ads touted both the look and the flavor of the Halloween Whopper, which was a special product just released for the season.

Martha Stewart Pets

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Martha Stewart Pets

Sometimes you don’t even need a groundbreaking idea to sell a product. For example, if you sell Halloween costumes for pets like Martha Stewart Pets and Petsmart, you can just use some pictures of cute dogs dressed up in funny outfits.

Chobani

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Chobini

Even if you’re not a business that sells products for animals, you can still use the cute factor in your advertising like this one from Chobani.

Papa John’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Papa John's

Pumpkin carving is a popular Halloween activity. So you can use that method to show off your logo or branding in advertisements. This Papa John’s ad also details some deals customers can get around Halloween.

Guinness

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Guinness

Guinness released an actual promotional item to celebrate Halloween – some simple coasters with a Halloween theme. So the company created an add to promote those items along with its beer.

Woolite

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Woolite

In this ad, Woolite wanted to show off how dark it can keep clothing even through many washes. So the depiction of witches (or lack thereof) is a unique way to integrate the holiday.

Oreo

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Oreo

Oreo constantly comes up with new and different ways to show off its products in ways that celebrate different seasons or events. This one has a Halloween theme, but still features branding elements that are consistent with Oreo’s other campaigns.

Chipotle

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Chipotle

For its Boorito campaign, Chipotle wanted to highlight its own natural ingredients by positioning the ingredients used by other companies as “spooky.”

Goodwill

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Goodwill

Goodwill can be a great place for people to get Halloween costumes or other supplies. So it created a minimalistic ad campaign to support the idea of celebrating Halloween without creating a lot of additional waste.

Pepsi/Coca-Cola

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Pepsi/Coca-Cola

Halloween also presents a unique opportunity for brands to position themselves against the competition. Pepsi tried that here by positioning Coca-Cola as scary. But Coke fired back with a different interpretation of the same image.

Steak-n-Shake

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Steak-n-Shake

Steak-n-Shake opted for a retro vibe for this advertisement for its fall and Halloween themed flavors. It works with the restaurant’s vibe but also presents a festive twist for the restaurant.

Absolut

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Absolut

Absolut sticks with a very consistent design throughout its ads. So for its Halloween and fall themed ads, it simply included some festive and seasonal elements in that same recognizable format.

Reese’s

20 Examples of Great Halloween Advertising Inspiration - Reese's

Reese’s also has a very recognizable advertising style. So the brand kept it simple with its signature orange packaging, which also happens to work for Halloween, and a zippy tagline.

Halloween Cake Photo via Shutterstock

This is part of the Small Business Trends holiday article series featuring tips, advice and news about the latest holiday trends taking place in today’s business world. Check out our Business Gift Giving Guide for more.

More in: Holidays

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Popular Social Media Sites Right Now

shutterstock_311472353

Social media networks are a major resource for both small and big businesses that are looking to promote their brands on the Internet. The platforms are easy to use and some of them even have paid advertising options for businesses that want to reach new audiences. However, just because your business needs to be on these platforms doesn’t mean that it has to be on every other social media site.  To properly utilize the power of social media you need to know the most popular social media sites and identify the ones that work best for your business to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

To make this easy for you, we profiled 20 most popular social media websites so you can now make informed marketing decisions.

Popular Social Media Sites in 2016

Facebook

This is the biggest social media network on the Internet, both in terms of total number of users and name recognition. Founded on February 4, 2004, Facebookhas within 12 years managed to accumulate more than 1.59 billion monthly active users and this automatically makes it one of the best mediums for connecting people from all over the world with your business. It is estimated that more than 1 million small and medium-sized businesses use the platform to advertise their business.

Twitter

You might be thinking that limiting your posts to 140 characters is no way to advertise your business, but you will be shocked to know that this social media platform has more than 320 million active monthly users who make use of the 140 character limit to pass on information. Businesses can use Twitter to interact with prospective clients, answer questions, release latest news and at the same time use the targeted ads with specific audiences. Twitter was founded on March 21, 2006, and has its headquarters in San Francisco, California.

LinkedIn

Founded on December 14, 2002, and launched 0n May 5, 2003, LinkedIn is hands-down the most popular social media site for professional networking. The website is available in 24 languages and has over 400 million registered users. LinkedIn is great for people looking to connect with people in similar industries, networking with local professionals and displaying business related information and statistics.

Google+

While it’s no Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, Google+ has its place among the popular social media sites. Its SEO value alone makes it a must-use tool for any small business. Launched on December 15, 2011, Google+ has joined the big leagues registering 418 active million users as of December 2015.

YouTube

YouTube — the largest and most popular video-based social media website — was founded on February 14, 2005, by three former PayPal employees. It was later bought by Google in November 2006 for $1.65 billion. YouTube has over 1 billion website visitors per month and is the second most popular search engine behind Google.

Pinterest

Launched in March 2010, Pinterest is a relatively newcomer in the social media arena. This platform consists of digital bulletin boards where businesses can pin their content.  Pinterest announced September 2015 that it had acquired 100 million users. Small businesses whose target audience is mostly made up of women should definitely invest in Pinterest as more than half of its visitors are women.

Instagram

Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual social media platform. The site, launched on October 6, 2010, has more than 400 million active users and is owned by Facebook. Many of its users use it to post information about travel, fashion, food, art and similar subjects. The platform is also distinguished by its unique filters together with video and photo editing features. Almost 95 percent of Instagram users also use Facebook.

Tumblr

Tumblr is one of the most difficult to use social networking platforms, but it’s also one of the most interesting sites. The platform allows several different post formats, including quote posts, chat posts, video and photo posts as well as audio posts, so you are never limited in the type of content that you can share. Like Twitter, reblogging, which is more like retweeting, is quick and easy. The social networking website was founded by David Karp in February 2007 and currently hosts more than 200 million blogs.

Flickr

Flickr, pronounced “Flicker,” is an online image and video hosting platform that was created by the then Vancouver-based Ludicorp on February 10, 2004, and later acquired by Yahoo in 2005. The platform is popular with users who share and embed photographs.  As of October last year, Flickr had more than 112 million users and had its footprint in more than 63 countries. An average of a million photos are shared daily on Flickr.

Reddit

This is a social news and entertainment networking website where registered users can submit content such as direct links and text posts. Users are also able to organize and determine their position on the site’s pages by voting submissions up or down. Submissions with the most positive votes appear in the top category or main page. Reddit was founded by University of Virginia roommates Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman on June 23, 2005. A decade later, the site boasts more than 36 million registered accounts and 231 million monthly visitors.

Snapchat

Snapchat is an image messaging application software product that was created by Reggie Brown, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy when they were students at Stanford University. The app was officially released in September 2011, and within a short span of time they have grown immensely registering an average of 100 million daily active users as of May 2015. More than 18 percent of all social media users use Snapchat.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform instant messaging client for smartphones, PCs and tablets. The app relies on the Internet to send images, texts, documents, audio and video messages to other users that have the app installed on their devices. Launched in January 2010, WhatsApp Inc. was acquired by Facebook on February 19, 2004, for about $19.3 billion. Today, more than 1 billion people use the service to communicate with their friends, loved ones and even customers.

Quora

Capitalizing upon human curiosity is an ingenious idea that would lead to the creation and launch of Quora in June, 2009. The website, co-founded by two former Facebook employees, Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Angelo now claims that it received more than 80 million monthly unique visitors, with half of them coming from the U.S. So far, the question-and-answer website has managed to raise $141 in venture capital funds and while it doesn’t look ready to go public yet, it’s definitely a company to watch.

Vine

With over 40 million users, Vine is a rapidly growing video sharing social media app that allows users to share 6-second video clips with their followers. While this looks like a really short time for a video, businesses of all sizes are having tremendous success using the service. Vine was founded in June 2012 and later acquired by Twitter in October 2012, just before its official launch.

Periscope

Periscope is a live video streaming mobile app that was developed by Joe Bernstein and Kayvon Beykpour. The two started the company in February 2014 and later sold it to Twitter for $100 million in March 2015. Four months after its March 2015 relaunch, Periscope said that it had surpassed 10 million accounts and in December the same year, Apple announced Periscope as the app of the year.

BizSugar

BizSugar is a social networking platform and niche resource for small business owners, entrepreneurs and managers. The site was created in 2007 by DBH Communications, Inc., a provider of award-winning business publications, and later acquired by Small Business Trends LLC, in 2009. The platform allows users to share videos, articles, blog posts, podcast among other content. It also allows users to view and vote on submissions by other members.

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that finds and recommends content for its users. More than 25 million people use StumbleUpon for entertainment and information. In addition, more than 80,000 publishers, brands, and other marketers have used StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery platform to promote their businesses. StumbleUpon was owned by eBay from May 2007 to April 2009, when Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith and several investors bought it back. It is now an independent, investor-backed startup once again.

Delicious

This is a social bookmarking web service for discovering, storing and sharing web bookmarks. The site was founded by Peter Gadjokov and Joshua Schachter in 2003 and acquired in 2005 by Yahoo. By the end of 2008, Delicious claimed that it had bookmarked 180 million URLs and acquired more than 5.3 million users. The service was later sold to AVOS Systems in April 2011 who later sold it to Science Inc. In January this year, Delicious Media said that it had acquired the service.

Digg

Founded more than a decade ago (November 2004), Digg is a news aggregator with a curated front page that selects stories specifically for the Internet audience, The topics vary widely from trending political issues to science to viral Internet issues and anything in between. Digg supports sharing of content to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. In 2015, the company claimed that it had about 11 million active monthly users.

Viber

Viber is a Voice over IP (VoIP) and instant messaging app for mobile devices that was developed and released by Viber Media on December 2, 2010. The app also allows for the exchange of audio, video and images between users. As of April 2014, Viber had accrued close to 600 million registered users and 230 monthly active users.

Which social media site is your favorite?  Do you have one to add to our  popular social media sites list?

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Years Later, Quake Gets a New Free Episode

20 Years Later, Quake Gets a New Free EpisodeHIGHLIGHTS

  • With Quake turning 20, a new episode has been released.
  • It’s free and can be installed easily.
  • The new episode is developed by Machinegames.

In celebration of classic first-person shooter Quake turning 20 last week, Machinegames – developers of the superb Wolfenstein: The New Order and its expansion, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, comes a new episode for the game. And it’s free.

“Happy 20th to Quake @idsoftware! As a gift to the fans, we created a new episode of the gamehttp://cdn.bethsoft.com/quake/dopa.rar,” tweeted the developer.

As for installing the episode, simply extract the archive in its own subdirectory within the Quake directory on your PC. After this, run the file labelled Dopa. This works on both GOG and Steam versions of the game.

The seminal shooter has been in the news of late due to the announcement of its the next entry in the series, Quake Champions. At E3 2016, publisher Bethesda revealed that Quake Champions would be a multiplayer-only affair exclusively for PCs. Though we suspect it will make its way to consoles soon enough.

Along with Doom, Quake pioneered the first-person shooter genre and multiplayer gaming as we know it. Prior to E3, a slew of job listings for id’s Texas and Frankfurt offices discovered by Tweaktown indicate the possibility of a new Quake game.

“id Software is looking for a Senior Physics & Simulation Programmer to work as part of a development team on legendary id game properties like DOOM and QUAKE,” reads one of the listings at the time. It could mean nothing. But when combined with the sheer number of open positions and the fact that Doom has just been released, could mean that id is working on a new Quake title in addition to Quake Champions or perhaps an entry into its other franchises.

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: 20th anniversary Quake, Bethesda, First Person Shooter, FPS, how to install new Quake episode, id, id software,Machinegames, PC Games, PC Gaming, Quake, Quake 1, Quake 1996, Quake anniversary, Quake Champions,Quake New Episode Download, Quake New Episode Free Download, Quake Reboot, Wolfenstein
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Reliance entertainment to put money into 20 Indian Gaming Startups

Reliance Entertainment to Invest in 20 Indian Gaming Startups

With cell gaming gaining robust traction inside the usa, Reliance amusement has introduced its attentionback on the Indian marketplace and is trying to spend money on 20 gaming startups this yr.

Reliance games, a part of Reliance entertainment, has additionally introduced investments worth over $50,000 (more or less Rs. 33 lakhs) in marketing and technology to guide some Indian startups as part ofits ‘PG Connects’ occasion.

Reliance entertainment is a completely-owned subsidiary of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group.

the following 18-24 months gift a huge possibility as India is ready to come to be the second biggestphone marketplace within the world. The marketplace is at a inflection factor and it’s miles a greenfieldopportunity for recreation developers as domestic mobile recreation marketplace grows extensively,” Reliance leisure virtual CEO Amit Khanduja instructed PTI.

some years in the past, there were about 40 gaming startups and now there are more than 250 startups, hedelivered.

“So, despite the fact that India is still an emerging game development hub – the skills and startupenvironment is developing exponentially and in the subsequent 3four years, we are hoping to look theenterprise grow to house as much as 50,000 professionals working in this area,” he stated.

Khanduja delivered that while the organisation has not defined an investment fund, it plans to “submitwith 20 Indie startups this yr“.

we are extra eager on strategic partnerships with startups than a particular quantum of monetaryinvestment wherein we are able to assist the partner take their recreation to the next stage for a launch.those partnerships encompass significant greenback investments in technology, marketing, analyticsand people resources from Reliance video games,” he said.

according to a FICCI-KPMG report, Indian gaming industry has grown from Rs. 1,000 crores in 2010 to Rs. 2,650 crores in 2015. this is projected to develop to Rs. 3,080 crores by using 2016-give up and in addition to Rs. 5,070 crores through the give up of December 2020.

The employer Tuesday introduced the partnership with Indian most fulfilling League’s cricket group, Gujarat Lions, and has turn out to be the authentic gaming partner of the Rajkot-based totally crew.

The games will allow players to customise their crew, have interaction with their favorite T20 stars – Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and different cricketers inside the Gujarat crew by means of gambling with their favored superstars in the game.

Khanduja stated the Indian market is “ripe for investments however it needs extra than economicinvestments”.

presently, indie-developers need massive hand keeping in layout, monetisation, advertising and marketing and technology, we see strategic tie usa the street to achievement than pure-play fund investments,” he brought.

The interest will see a massive pick out up, as soon as those talented startups develop in phrases ofparticipant engagement and monetisation, he added.

also, adoption of gaming past the metros and large cities into tier-II and III towns might offer a first-rateincrease.

“With the cellphone growth and 4G adoption, cell game marketplace is experiencing a hockey stick boomas games can offer focused advertising and sponsorships, in-app purchases via subscription and app savespends for hundreds of thousands of gamers here,” he stated.

Khanduja brought that value for cash gaming will thrive in India and branded advertisement and non-intrusive rewarded movies included into design of the game is the precise approach for engaging game enthusiasts.

Reliance video games works with Hollywood Studios like Dreamworks, Sony pix, Paramount photos, Columbia photographs and Warner Bros.

With over 200 million downloads globally, Reliance games operates across 5 nations global.

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