The Unprecedented Popularity of The Crock Pot Girls on Facebook—and What’s Really Going On

crock pot girls on facebook

I have been consumed (consumed, I tell you!) with a social media phenomenon this week surrounding the overnight success and explosive viral growth of a Facebook fan page called Crock Pot Girls. In fact, you’ve probably “liked” it and at least a dozen or so of your friends have “liked” it within the last few days.

crock pot girls on facebook

I noticed in my Facebook news feed that three or four of my friends had “liked” it, so I clicked over to see what I was missing if it was something I should “like” as well.

The Crock Pot Girls on Facebook

When I got over to the page, I noticed a rather non-descript photo of three women decked in black holding their Crock Pots (with a couple of Crock Pots on the floor—why did you put them on the floor?). The wall posts were just three- and four-ingredient recipes and lots of people saying, “I love this page!” and “I love my Crock Pot!” and things like that.

Since I’ve been in an “un-liking” mood lately on Facebook and I have gotten rid of at least a couple of Crock Pot and slow cooker recipe books at yard sales in the last few years, I chose not to like the page and move on. I can’t remember at the time how many fans the page had except that it was already passed 100,000, which I remember impressing me but not enough to have me explore it any further.

Fast forward a few days and I noticed another friend’s post about a separate website calling the instant popularity of the Crock Pot Girls page and its viral growth into question (this is a wonderful post, incidentally, and the commenters raise some interesting points). Since Wednesday night (less than 48 hours), this page has jumped from 800,000 to almost 1.1 million fans. Absolutely unbelievable.

After some research on Google through various posts and persons’ hypotheses (another post with excellent comments that you must check out), I have come to my own conclusions about this unprecedented turn of events. Here’s what I think happened (completely my opinion and speculation):

  • Three moms got together and said, Hey let’s put up some Crock Pot recipes on Facebook.
  • They did that.
  • People liked the page and their friends liked the page. (What I can’t account for between August 19 and say, August 28 or so is how so many people found out about the page. Once people were “liking,” their friends saw that and followed suit. But how did that first handful become alerted? Not sure. Several commenters on posts have said that it could have been FB bots working to get followers. Many say they’ve looked through the FB accounts of the posters on the Crock Pot Girls page and they seem to be “fake” accounts. Others say the friends who liked the page originally in their stream are now not listed as “likers” of the page. If you refresh the Crock Pot Girls FB page and watch the counter, I guarantee you it will jump 30, 40, or 50 likes per click! To me, that’s not just crazy; it’s really impossible. Will the counter ever stop, even for 5 minutes?)
  • Then, regardless of how those first thousand folks got onto the FB page, legitimate people joined, something unbelievable happened. At this point, it has become the “perfect storm” of:
    • Women love their Crock Pots (as a friend, who is a working mom of four, said yesterday when we discussed this).
    • Women are incredibly busy and don’t have the time, interest, or skills to make meals every night from scratch.
    • The FB page format capitalizes on the human ego by allowing others to post their recipes, their variations, their suggestions, and their experiences. People love to talk about themselves, even if it’s just about their favorite Crock Pot recipe (which I don’t really get, but whatever—then again, I do have a blog … ha!).

I counter the legitimate, organic nature of the growth, however, with these arguments:

  • You can Google “Crock Pot recipes” and get your hands on any type of free Crock Pot recipe you want. That’s a heck of a lot easier and streamlined than wading through hundreds of wall posts about all types of ingredients.
  • Crock Pot and slow cooker cook books abound. I have gotten rid of several.
  • As far as I’m concerned, Stephanie O’Dea is the consummate Crock Pot girl, but she devoted an entire year to a create journey through slow cooking. Through that, she has become a bestselling Crock Pot cookbook author. But it took her a year to find her fan base and maintain it. And her FB page has only 4400 fans.

The Crock Pot Girls and their “people” should expect a cease and desist letter really soon. Crock Pot is a trademark. I suspect the owners are doing their own investigation into this.

And—for the record, I love my Crock Pot. So, I consider myself one of the target audience. I am a busy mom; I work, take care of home and family. I use my Crock Pot about 3-4 times a month. But I find little value in joining this FB page and posting my recipes (readily available in a variety of places) alongside comments of my undying love for the page and my beloved kitchen appliance. I say, MAJOR disconnect between reality (what’s happening on their page) and my own experiences as a member of the target audience.

What do you think? There’s more to come in this saga and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and for your Crock-Pot-ing pleasure, I offer you my all-time favorite Crock Pot chicken recipe. ;)

 

I’ve Looked in My House and It’s a Mess

This is not anything new, really. My house is always a mess.

By “house” I mean both my physical dwelling, as well as my mental/emotional/spiritual “house.”

And I straddle sanity between enjoying the permission to be unstructured with the overwhelming desire to “get it together” and get it cleaned up.

The first few weeks of school have been hard for us.  We’ve been dealing with all sorts of broken household appliances and behavior and sleeping issues with the kids while just managing the daily stuff, too.

Trying to juggle it all brings me to wallow in the low-grade guilt that I haven’t kept up with my blog or other online projects. But then of course, I begin to wonder, Why do I feel guilty? Is it awful or earth-shattering that I haven’t blogged on schedule?

I’m pooped.

And I’ve made a really hard decision. I’m turning everything off for a while. I love writing and I love dreaming about having a successful blog/online business. But something is wrong with this picture. When I start hating The Pioneer Woman because she has her own TV SHOW coming out on The Food Network, something is wrong.

I’m hoping that “pulling back” can reveal the truly important stuff.

See, I am not structured. I am not. I am not predictable nor routine. I live by a loose rhythm, I guess you’d say. Which is OK. I think it would be more OK if I just embraced it and sought the positives instead of always beating myself up that I’m “not doing so-and-so.”

And that’s what happens when I see The Pioneer Woman’s TV show promo or read posts from my blogger friends who homeschool their 15 children AND maintain three blogs AND have a book deal in the works. I just start the inner pummeling: If you really want to be successful, write books, have an online business, you’ve got to get with it, young lady. Nothing’s getting done while you’re sitting here playing Words with Friends on your iPhone.

And as true as that may be, I also realize that somewhere in a crucial and important way, it’s NOT true. Because it’s really dishonoring who I am. (And, oh, I’m a dang good Words with Friends player.) The problem is that I don’t know who I am. I know that I don’t thrive in this structured, you-must-Tweet-every-10-minutes-to-stay-viable-in-online-media world, but beyond that? Really—who am I? And what gifts do I bring? And really? What makes me happy?

What makes me happy?

Well, what doesn’t make me happy is jealousy, self-loathing, self-criticism, and constant regrets.

So, I’m off to discover how I can capitalize on how God made me. Why he gave me the gifts, talents, and preferences that he gave me. You know what? I think I’m facing the fact that I don’t think he wants me to be Blogger Extraordinaire OR homeschool my 15 children (kidding! I only have 3, but I don’t think he wants me to homeschool them, either—at least not right now). But I also know that I can’t hear from God when I have so many competing voices and pictures of “success” constantly bombarding me.

So, here’s my plan:

  • I will post here when I feel like it. Not sure what that looks like. I hope you’ll stick around but I totally understand if you ARE a structured person and like to hear from your bloggers on a regular basis. That’s just not me.
  • I’m going to unsubscribe/stop reading the “Blogger Barbies”—those “perfectly coifed” ones to whom I’ll just never measure up. It’s just not healthy for me. To the “Blogger Barbies”: I don’t fault you. I just think that I have an incredibly difficult time looking at you and your accomplishments from afar without comparing myself and obviously, we are differently gifted. But I can’t see that right now, so I must go away for awhile. I just can’t take any more posts in my news feed about how you made an entire clothing line from your discarded newspapers, traveled half-way around the world to minister to starving children, or stocked your freezer with (healthy! organic! made-from-veggies-you-grew-yourself!) meals for the next six months.
  • I do have a few ideas of upcoming projects that I hope to complete. I have at least one eBook in the works, but I’m not sure when/if it will be finished. I’m working on it and have a loose time frame for it. That’s exactly where I want to be with that. :)
  • I need more glitter in my life. Much to the chagrin of my children, I’m setting out to fill my life with glitter. Because? Glitter makes me happy.

I hope I haven’t come across as too gripey. I’m just tired of being a slave to my own emotions and suffocating behaviors. Enough. I’m ready to enjoy my positive attributes and really seek earnestly the ways that God has planned for me to live, work, and play.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you have traveled this road and discovered something new about yourself.

Thanks for reading.

I’m off to buy glitter now.

The Power of Interruptions

I’ve written before about my often-successful ability to multi-task. I’m sort of proud of the way that I can stop and start and juggle a myriad of things at once.

But I realized recently that interruptions actually pack a powerful punch to my creative writing productivity. I catch myself thinking, Well, I’ll just throw a load of laundry in while I’m writing or I’ll get the dishes going before I sit down.

You know what? Those seemingly innocuous interruptions somehow trigger de-motivation and detachment from the project at hand; and sometimes, I become absolutely derailed.

I say, Never underestimate the power of interruption.

Going into this new school year, I’m going to be working more, both for my part-time employer, contract assignments, and my own creative pursuits. I must respect how powerful interruption is in my life. Even thoughts, responsibilities, and appointments can carry the power of interruption.

So, in an effort to eliminate distractions:

  • I’m saying no to more and more activities and responsibilities. In many ways, I hate it because I love being involved. But in identifying our priorities, our family needs me to be focused on work this fall. I’m not very focused when I’m running here and there with all sorts of things on my mind.
  • I’m aiming to begin and end my day with the most important things: the Word and the family. Getting myself back into a routine of daily Bible study and meditation and resuming our family worship time with the kids before bed will help me compartmentalize my life (can you see how much we’ve strayed into bad habits this summer?). I’m a firm believer in work at work time and play at play time. Too long, they’ve all run together in my world, making it rather dysfunctional.

What do you do to minimize distractions? How do you organize family time and work time? Share with others in the comments below.

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Feeling Overwhelmed? and How to Make $1000 a Month Online

I wanted to pass along two really interesting links for you, especially as we continue to explore issues of time management here.

Overcoming Overwhelm

Michael Hyatt posted a helpful list about how he has overcome feeling overwhelmed. I liked his list and I believe he has some positive things to say.

His major take-away, though?

Delegate and out-source those tasks that are not productive for you.

I get that. I really do. I can see the wisdom in hiring a part-time maid/nanny/cook to take care of my kids, dust and vacuum, keep the laundry moving, grocery shop, and prepare meals (think I could get all that accomplished with ONLY a part-timer? Ha!) while I write and blog on an almost full-time basis.

My biggie question, though, is how do you outsource when you have no way to pay for it? It doesn’t seem wise to go into debt to pursue this business model.

What do you think? How helpful is Michael’s advice for the struggling new business owner who is doing it all because there’s no other option at the moment?

Read the entire post here.

(Thanks, Jennifer Cortez, for calling this post to my attention.)

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How to Make $1000 a Month Online

If you’d like to make at least $1000 per month with your blog online, you should check out this upcoming webinar from Authority Blogger. These types of webinars are every where, but the pitch for this one impressed me, and I signed up. Why? Because the organizers tell you up front that not everyone will become a millionaire online:

Contrary to popular belief, not everybody can make millions of dollars per year while working in their underwear on the computer. It’s just not realistic.

BUT, they say they do believe that everyone is capable of making a nice supplemental income (at least $1000 per month) with their blogs. They say this webinar will give 5 different ways to do just that.

I like that honesty. That’s really my approach, too. I DO believe that most anyone can make at least a nice part-time income online.

So, I want to learn more.

You may want to, as well.

Register here.

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Ladies, Starting a Home-Based Service Business? Heed These 5 Important Tips

So you’ve been thinking of starting a business from home. You’ve got some skills, don’t have a lot of space for inventory, so you figure it might be a good idea to start a service business. In fact, it’s a GREAT idea—you just have to be prepared to get your business off the ground and balance all the work/life responsibilities that are on your plate.

This article is going to provide you with easy-to-follow tips to do just that, but first, if you still don’t know what type of service business to start, here are a few popular suggestions:

Ghostwriting for the Internet: Write articles, reports and other information for online business owners.

Transcription Business: Create written records of audio recordings, meetings and more.

Virtual Assistant Business: Provide administrative support, secretarial services and more for other companies.

It doesn’t matter what type of service business you start, there will be some challenges along the way. Here are some tips help you as you go along:

1. First and foremost, set your working hours and ensure everyone in your household is aware of them and respects them. If you happen to be a mother or have other interruptions during the day, there’s nothing wrong with setting aside smaller chunks of time where you’ll be working. This isn’t the “real world” work setting anymore; it’s better. You work at home and you can decide when you work.

2. As a service business, you have two very important roles. One of those roles is to provide service for your clients. The other is to FIND those clients and the time involved in this is something many service-providers don’t take into account. Ensure you have enough time for providing services and the marketing tasks for your business – or hire some help to make the most efficient use of your time.

3. Charge a fair and rewarding rate. Even if you charge your clients for each hour you work for them, there are many tasks (administrative, marketing, etc.) that you don’t get paid for. To set a rate that is worthwhile to you, you need to decide what type of overall income you desire and figure out how many hours total (all business activities) you want to be working. If you find you can’t charge a rate that is worthwhile, consider another business idea or target a specific type clientele that is willing to pay the rates you charge.

4. Be choosy about your clients. It can be tempting to simply take on any clients because you may need the cash. Unfortunately, bad clients can drain your time, suck up your energy and end up being more work than they’re worth. Resist the temptation to just take any clients because your business will be more fruitful in the long run if you work with easy-to-manage, low-maintenance clients.

5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you find yourself taking on more clients than you can handle to earn more money, revisit tip #3 above. You may be concerned about giving your clients a good deal, but they actually suffer when you can’t provide the quality service they deserve. Instead aim for fewer clients, charge more and give them stellar service.

If you keep these things in mind, your transition to a work-at-home service provider will go much more smoothly. It’s not always easy and when you’re first starting out, it can be tough to find that balance and a schedule that you can work with. But stick with it and keep refining your process and you’ll find yourself owning a very rewarding business that you absolutely love.

Recommended

To get more at-home business ideas, be sure to visit Just Add Sweat – they’re your source for step-by-step guides for starting your very own home-based business. You’ll find the guidance you need to get your business off the ground, find real-life success stories from women just like you and more.

Click here to go to Just Add Sweat

 

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I’m Coming Back

Hey, y’all.

I’ve been completely off my blog for about two months. I really hadn’t planned to be, but my spring has been so busy with birthdays, holidays, end of school, a few sicknesses, work, and church.

I kind of just set my blog aside awhile as I evaluated (always evaluating!) my online pursuits. I have been doing crazy research into all facets of Internet marketing. I finally decided to come back to Look In Your House but with a tighter focus and purpose. I’ve also tweaked the design a bit, just to reflect a cleaner, more streamlined approach to life.

This blog going forward will focus heavily on helping working mothers manage home and family. This is broad enough to include moms who work at home, outside of home, part-time, full-time, freelance—you name it. This is really my passion because I believe that happy mamas make happy families. And I believe that work—in all its shapes and forms—makes many mamas happy.

So I want to discuss here things related to all these topics.

I hope you’ll stick around and tell your friends. I really want this site to be a helpful resource.

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Life’s Margins Make a Difference

When I’ve looked in my house this past week, you know what I’ve seen?

Lots of kids—mine and others’. Lots of strewn mittens and coats and scarves. Hunks of wet, cold snow. Christmas stockings still hung by the chimney with care. Boxes of tissue and bottles of hand sanitizer.

We’ve spent this past week as many others across the United States have: snowed in with restless children, fighting colds, and trying to accomplish something in spite of all routine and schedule being turned upside down.

You know what? Aside from being a little behind on some work projects and rather overwhelmed at being talked to and touched all day long by my clingy kids, I think I hung in there pretty well.

Contrary to what my Facebook friends may think (and if I can’t vent on Facebook, then what good is a Facebook page anyway?), I know it could have been worse.

The reason it wasn’t is because I had some “space” built in for interruptions.

To truly give your new year a fresh start, you must:

9. Create margins.

I had a few things in place that worked for me this week.

I’ve created a buffer of wellness.

Yes, I’ve had a cold. But I can remember when colds would knock me out for two weeks. We’ve had our home toxin-free for almost four years now, and I know our winter health is a primary beneficiary. Now when I get a cold, I tank up on Melaleuca’s Activate immunity supplement (part of my winter survival kit prize), guzzle Melaleuca herbal tea, and suck down oranges. I’m better within 2-3 days now.

I’ve created a buffer of simplicity.

So this is still a work in progress, but this year’s Christmas decorations were minimalistic. Their staying up a little longer than anticipated was not much of a big deal because our house didn’t look like Rudolph had thrown up in it.

I caught a quick interview with organizing guru Peter Walsh on Oprah’s show last week. He spoke about the importance of living with less and how children always react with obvious delight when the clutter is cleared. I’m planning to check out his new book, Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less.

I’m creating a buffer of work/life balance.

I have a wonderful job as a part-time copywriter for a local marketing firm. Mainly, I work on projects as the deadlines dictate. My work understands that I am primary caregiver to my three kids and if school’s closed or someone gets sick, I probably won’t be able to make it to the office. But—when there’s a pressing deadline, they know I am willing to go the extra mile to get it done. I love the balance this job affords me, based on relevant circumstances, and not some employee manual.

I’m also working to put more passive income streams in place on line. The more I can beef up this buffer, the more freedom I ultimately gain.

Where do you need margin? What buffers are working for you right now?
In what areas do you feel pushed to the very limit?

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Photo credit: cohdra from morguefile.com