In a podcast interview, Carlos Trujillo discusses his journey from web design to CRO experimentation. He emphasizes the importance of taking risks and building a personal brand on social media. He suggests overcoming insecurities and limitations by seeking help, sharing experiences, and engaging with others in the field. Carlos highlights the growing demand for CRO specialists globally and encourages embracing opportunities for career growth. He shares insights on posting content, advising not to overthink and to focus on value delivery. The interview concludes with a discussion on challenging clients to improve their websites and conversion rates.
Carlos Trujillo 0:00
If you only try, like safe and small tweaks, for example, on the website, you won’t really make a huge difference. I think the same is true for our careers. We need to take big bets and take higher risks in order to make a bigger difference.
Charlotte April Bomford 0:20
Welcome to Experiment Nation podcasts. My name is Charlotte. And I’m today’s host, I’m actually really stoked. I’m really excited to do this interview. And that was like, a conference that experimentation they did back around September. And it really resonated with me a lot. Because when I was starting with my second role as a CRL, manager,
Charlotte April Bomford 0:55
you know, you talked about the first 90 days when you start joining a new company, and how it’s important. So I’m really excited to have you here. Do you want to introduce yourself?
Carlos Trujillo 1:07
Absolutely. Thank you, Charlotte, for having me for the invitation. I’m really excited to about sharing my experience with you guys. So yeah, I’ve been in experimentation for a couple of years now close to three years. But I’ve been in the digital space for way longer than that. Yeah. So I started, I basically started building my first websites as a hobby like 16 years ago, like really long time ago, it was like 2000 oh seven. So I just wanted to, I just had some side projects. And I started playing around with like building WordPress sites and all that. Eventually, I made some money with like online advertising, Google AdSense. So it was like really revealing for me as an experience. Then I stopped for a few years, and I dedicated my time to older activities. Specifically on the media side of, of things. I work in TV production for three years on the audio department for a big TV company here in my country, Colombia. And eventually I quit that job, I wanted something different. And I wanted to do something, while traveling the world. I wanted to explore the world to move somewhere else. And I needed to afford my life. And that’s when I really started doing web design. So from 2015 to 2021, more or less. I build like dozens, even hundreds, I would say of websites for mainly for small businesses here in Latin America, but also we have a few clients in and the US and Europe.
Charlotte April Bomford 3:01
Where are you traveling around? Where are you traveling while doing web design? Because you said that you wanted to do like some type of work where you travel? You’re like going places. Yeah. So
Carlos Trujillo 3:13
for three years, I was pretty much a full time nomad. That’s, that’s what I say. From 2015 to 2018. I just lived nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I didn’t have like a fixed location for Yeah, it was a little more than three years. And I did web design the whole time, like web strategy. Building, I built a ton of websites, mainly WordPress websites, eventually we transition to being more of a Shopify partner agency. So that’s what we were specializing on at that point. And I eventually settled down with my wife who was my partner in this agency as well. And by this time about 2020 When the pandemic hit, I just I was curious to upskill to specialize into something more specific to do something different. And that’s when I started my journey in CRO experimentation.
Charlotte April Bomford 4:22
I now like i Your story is actually very very interesting because like, like you’ve mentioned when the pandemic hits, then you kind of like started going to this like what can I do? That is really would challenge me how did you find C Excel? And who told you what’s what six L is?
Carlos Trujillo 4:46
That’s a good question that I cannot actually like answer like a super specific way because I cannot quite exactly remember where I remember if I wasn’t really so active in social as I am today, like on LinkedIn or Twitter, but eventually at some point I was following someone who retweeted pep Leia who’s CFLs founder. And I started following him. This was probably a year before I actually joined the institute.
Charlotte April Bomford 5:25
Do you remember what the tweet had?
Carlos Trujillo 5:27
done but I I’ll try to find out because I there I think there might be a way that’s that’s actually a great yeah. Now that I think backward, like in hindsight. So yeah, he he might have tweeted something. And that’s when I realized CXO existed. So let’s say was in 2019, media or something, and I immediately realized I wanted to enroll in in CSL and make those certifications. However, I never took the leap, because it was a bit pricey for me at that point. I mean, obviously, when I see it, in hindsight, I think that’s a bargain for everything that can give you back.
Charlotte April Bomford 6:16
Carlos Trujillo 6:18
But I never committed to pay the full subscription. What happened was that once the pandemic hits, CSL just made a huge discount for the year in the subscription. So it was like 25%, the regular price. And I said, this is my opportunity. So I, I enrolled on CSL Institute, right? When did pandemic started, like in March, April of 2020.
Charlotte April Bomford 6:53
Moving on, it’s kind of like, you know, we cannot ask CRO specialists, there’s always new information. And what would you advise for someone who’s just starting out or someone who would be alright, thinking about like, oh, you know, I’ve heard of CRO, but I’m not sure where to start? Or how to how to start.
Carlos Trujillo 7:16
So yeah, I think my advice for everyone new to to experimentation to CRO is to look for, like, people out there talking about this on a daily basis. I think LinkedIn has been a game changer for me. Because you quickly get to know the right people to follow. Obviously, experimentation is a great shortcut to get to know who these people are. Because at the end of the day, I think, again, this is still small enough or manageable enough for you to get to know who the key people is in a short time. And, as you say, surprisingly, everyone is so really so approachable. I received DMS, I have sent DMS as well, asking for advice for mentorship. And people is really all about about this stuff. Because at the end of the day, we all want the like experiment experimentation and CRO to grow as a as an industry as a practice to to be more known by outsiders, if that’s the case, or so at the end of the day, I think, even if we look at competition, and by that I mean between agencies or like vendors, we are all looking into the same goal. So I think we’re looking to go to the same place. And that that’s partly what makes this industry and this group of people so fascinating, because sometimes
Charlotte April Bomford 8:57
when I think about it, like there are people who want to be something like regardless of like, you know, being an experimenter or something else, like in the Nano industry, like you have to have a certain timeframe, where you really have to do the hard yards, like hard work. I remember I just want to share with you as well, like, when I was starting out with digital marketing. I was not a digital marketer at all. I do have a degree in advertising, but that was like 2009 And you know, what, what do I know? Like it’s different. And so I was like, Okay, why don’t I practice advertising or you know, digital marketing, because that was my degree originally anyway. And so I reached out to people and took me seven months of like doing free work, just to get paid eventually. And it And like if, if, if you don’t have or you know, if someone doesn’t have that grit or you kind of like or resilience to just wait until someone realizes your potential or gives you that opportunity, then you kind of like limit yourself, you stop halfway, and then you’re like, This is too hard. I’m not gonna go with it anymore. You know what I mean, though? So yeah, sometimes like it is about limitations that we put into ourselves. Have you experienced any type of like, limitation when you were doing your your, you know, when you were starting as a CRO did does? Did you feel like it’s hard to reach out to people at first, before you realize all you know, they’re actually quite friendly. And they’re like human beings like you and me?
Carlos Trujillo 10:55
No, no, that all actually not really. And that’s partly because CSL has its own community as well. So you, you could quickly realize people is quite approachable. So I think that’s, that’s relevant to, but also Now you talk about limitation. And I think that’s a key point. I continuously think about because I don’t think I or maybe I think people just limit themselves too much. My sample is a good example. I’m based in Colombia, in Latin America. And I, in a matter of year, obviously, prior experience, but in a matter of a year at sea, Excel, I ended up working for this agency is Bureau, which is one of the leader agencies, experimentation world, working for, like huge clients all over the world. And I was quickly just leading accounts on this agency, which is something that many of my peers here at Columbia, my think it’s like unrealistic. It’s just like a dream impossible, or something like that. Exactly. But it’s not the case at all. Like, there’s no and obviously, this is closely related to our discussion about internet a few minutes ago, there’s no limit, like, as long as you provide value, people don’t really care about where you are, or what your background was before that, because they care about like achieving their goals. And obviously, as long as you help them achieve their goals, which is obviously related to last year’s conference of mine, it doesn’t really matter, location, language skills, even and all of that.
Charlotte April Bomford 12:56
Because sometimes, when I think about it, like there are people who want to be something, like regardless of like, you know, being an experimenter or something else, like in another industry, like you have to have a certain timeframe, where you really have to do the hard yard, like hard work. I remember I just want to share with you as well, like, when I was starting out with digital marketing, I was not a digital marketer at all, I do have a degree in advertising, but that was like 2009. And you know, what, what do I know? Like, it’s different? And so I was like, Okay, why don’t I practice advertising or, you know, digital marketing, because that was my degree originally, anyway. And so, I reached out to people, and took me seven months of, like, doing free work, just to get paid eventually. And again, like if, if, if you don’t have or, you know, if someone doesn’t have that grit or you kind of like, or resilience to just wait until someone realizes your potential, or gives you that opportunity, then you kind of like limit yourself, you stop halfway, and then you’re like, This is too hard. I’m not gonna go with it anymore. You know what I mean, though. So yeah, sometimes like it is about limitations that we put into ourselves. Have you experienced any type of like, limitation when you were doing your your, you know, when you were starting as a CRO did does. Did you feel like it’s hard to reach out to people at first before you realize, oh, you know, they’re actually quite friendly and they’re like human beings like you and me.
Carlos Trujillo 14:53
Consider ourselves limitations that go between generations and, and people and background But yeah, at the end of the day, you just need to take some risk and quickly realize that it shouldn’t be a concern really. Nowadays with in, especially after the pandemic, with, with remote work, people can work for companies from everywhere, there is no really a limit anymore. Not even a limit on what you can earn, in terms of salary. So I think it’s a matter of just taking the leap, taking some risks and try it out. At the end of the day, there’s there’s nothing really to lose. I know some people feel more comfortable, like maybe being hired by a local company with some additional legal compliance in regards of like, contract stability and stuff like that, because normally these international companies have to hire international workers as contractors. But I think this is this is a risk that people should take. Because I don’t think that’s that should be a big concern. And it can change your life really, once you once you start doing that.
Charlotte April Bomford 16:15
Agree, I was actually also interested because, you know, experiment nation CRO salary report is going to come out soon. And I was always thinking like, oh, you know, wonder how much other CRO especially around the world are, you know, earning, but it’s interesting that you’ve mentioned before that you didn’t even try to, like, negotiate like, oh, you know, it’s okay, if if my salary is a little bit smaller, you are just like, so confident and you’re like, Nah, I’m worth this, then I should get that, you know?
Carlos Trujillo 16:48
Yeah, I think this is I mean, this is partly because I think there’s high demand in experimentation right now, and probably not so much of offer. So many companies are just looking for, for example, a CRO specialist. CRO is strategies and experimentation strategies. They are not looking for an experimentation strategies in Philippines or in Colombia. No, they just need this person to fill a role not like, so geographically limit their ability or their capabilities. So I think as long as you can embrace this narrative and show that you can provide value, no matter no matter what, where you are, companies will be willing to pay more and to match the salaries with their local salaries. If that’s a theme, for example. So yeah,
Charlotte April Bomford 17:45
when you start building your personal brand, as an experimenter, how would you say like, how would you start in terms of like, Hey, I’m an expert on this. Cuz you’ve already passed that three year mark, I’m an expert on this, I have enough experience to share. Like, how would you say that that experience was for you?
Carlos Trujillo 18:08
The I love that question, actually. And I think Spiro deserves a big shout out here, because they really encourage us to build our personal brands to be active on social publish, to make use or our frameworks as an agency to post about it. And I love this, because I have known of companies that that actually don’t allow their workers to, to build their personal brand. This is totally not the case. So I attribute all what I have achieved in terms of like building my personal brand out there to Spiro to Ben, because they really encourage these things give us frameworks, ideas and concepts. What I have learned in this during this time, and for the record, I started being like, active on LinkedIn, like posting stuff like a year ago, really like 14 more months ago. This is when I really and by the way, that was a year after I joined the spirit in two years after I started in the CRO world. Because I was like kinda scared or to what we were talking before limiting myself when I needed to post, like really advanced or smart stuff in order to sound like I’m worth following. But that’s not really the case at all. Actually, what I have learned by seeing them for example, or my friend Shiva, Jr, who was also part of spirio Until recently, and who’s very active on LinkedIn, even pet Leia is that I could easily have a conversation with them today like you are you You and I are having. And 30 minutes later, they post about something we talked about. So they don’t really overthink this process. So once I started observing this, I realized it was way less complicated than what I thought. So I started building like this muscle is like, my muscle is like going to the gym, you start kind of detecting what we’re sharing. But not we’re sharing from like a dopamine hit perspective of just like having a lot of likes or followers. But just because you need to throw this out there. So quickly realized, thanks to their help as Martin p as well, by the way I need to him out is that it’s less complicated than it seems. It’s more about like, sharing experiences, maybe with your clients with your day to day role. I eventually started creating my own frameworks are these. So this is a really simple process, I found a way to record every idea and I that I have like in like, immediately, like in less than 10 seconds. Like, I don’t know, let’s say we’re talking here and say let’s, let’s talk about the importance of recording podcast. So I’ll just record this headline in 10 seconds and continue doing whatever I am doing. Yeah, then I’ll just book 230 minute time blocks. Yeah, we’ll block to 30 minutes of time, normally on Fridays, and Mondays to go over this idea. So normally, on Fridays, I just spent 30 minutes doing like a really rough draft of some of these ideas, like not spending more than five minutes on each. And normally on Mondays, I just edit one of the drafts or two. And this is normally what I will post during that same day, or over the week. That’s when it comes to like ideas you wanted to go over in more detail. In addition to that, I have also learned from from my colleagues, and from seeing them just to sometimes post something like in real time, something happened, something that’s relevant because you know, it like I don’t know, like Google Optimize isn’t sunsetting you don’t want to write a draft and publish these in three weeks. And so this combination has allowed me to be quite active, like way more active than I ever imagined. And boasting two, three times per week nowadays, which is, which seemed like impossible for me one in a year, half ago, one year and a half ago. So yeah, it’s way simpler than it seems. As long as you keep these top of mind like you realize this is going to have like a big return on investment not on likes and followers. But on your career. Exactly. Eventually, you’ll get to a point and I’m pretty sure all these people can recall can agree with this, you will get to a point where people are just DMing you offering you jobs and things you could you could you you would have ever thought possible. Really, that’s that that has happened to me and I still can’t believe it.
Charlotte April Bomford 23:28
I feel like that’s one insecurity I have is kind of like overthinking things. And okay, like I want to have this personal brand as an experimenter. But it’s kind of like what am I going to talk about? Is the actual issue. Like I, you know, like a lot of people who are leaders in the industry, they’re talking about really smart things and things that I probably have no idea about, and I don’t want to sound like this. Oh, you’re you know, you be trying to be smart on LinkedIn. But I do agree now, like thinking about and talking to you about is like, am I limiting myself, just because I think that I’m not good enough. You know what I mean? So it’s a good advice when you said, Okay, and let’s have this 10 Second thing, or whatever we talked about, like right now we’re talking about in a podcast, why don’t I write those things down and then post it because it’s it really is like, all information that would help someone grow is valuable information.
Carlos Trujillo 24:31
And I think that asking for help is probably a good way to start to with like people will help like if you’re struggle with struggling with something on your job, for example, on your role as an experimentation and we all struggle a lot with with with a lot of like limitations people. I mean, you guys know what I’m talking about. Asking for Help publicly can can make Make a difference, because people will help. And these will, at the end of the day, increase your reach and make you make, yeah, make you’ve grown your own personal brand, too. I definitely encourage everyone to start doing this. It’s, it’s quite fascinating, the things that start happening after you are consistent for some time, because I will share this. This is a very personal of course. But I’m, I’m quite happy at Spiro, I plan to continue with them for more time, for sure. But even with that is fascinating to have, for example, the job offers reaching you in your inbox. And not not not, instead of you having to apply out there. You know,
Charlotte April Bomford 25:54
the other thing as far as like, there’s not a lot of people who does experimentation. It’s a very, very niche industry, like there are processes, and there are frameworks. There are, you know, questions, privatizations, and all these things, and how to develop a test, like during testing and analysis, like it’s not something that you can just have, like a little bit of knowledge, and then, you know, lead the whole experimentation team,
Carlos Trujillo 26:29
but I think that that speaks directly to those international folks. Maybe not in the US or in Western Europe, Europe, there’s high demand for experimentation roles, and they are not they are they need for someone they don’t need for someone affordable they need for someone. So I think my advice here recommendation is to embrace this, make sure you can shine out there in every context for every region. Without moving, which is obviously nice, if that’s what you like. But yeah, like, you just say that it’s the there’s high demand, or higher demand and offering experimentation from my perspective. So I mean, realize your real value. I think that’s my, my TLDR here,
Charlotte April Bomford 27:28
what would you tell those people who have insecurities, they have the capability, but there’s something stopping them from moving forward? What would be your takeaway on that?
Carlos Trujillo 27:38
I think that’s very analogous to experimentation as a practice, an art as a science. I think all the listeners know that very analogous to experimentation in AV testing. If you want to make a bigger difference in your life in your career, you must take bigger risks and bets, for sure.
Charlotte April Bomford 28:01
Yeah, I do. I was thinking earlier, AB test the resumes and which which version is better. But I do remember this managing director of a CRO company I used to work for, what he would do is is very interesting, like, he doesn’t have any boundaries of like, he just goes for it. But he would look at the website of the person that he wants to be his client. And instead of saying, like, hey, we have this, you know, really good CRO service, do you want it he will say like, oh, you know, your website is amazing. But I think that if you put this element further change the copy, or or, you know, remove this distraction, etc, that your conversion rate will be better, and people would go for it nice got brands, because of that, you know, like he would challenge them instead of like, hey, you know, here’s my service. Take it. Yeah,
Carlos Trujillo 29:07
it’s very good approach actually,
Charlotte April Bomford 29:09
is a really good approach. Yeah. Okay. Well, I am actually really thankful that you made some time and again, like I’ve mentioned, Carlos, I’m really stoked, just to be able to speak with you, because it is like, a wealth of knowledge. And, you know, like, I’m pretty sure a lot of people here who are following you, as well, are keen to start following your advice, and just going to like really evolving themselves as well removing these limitations and moving forward with the future or their careers. And so yeah, I really would like to thank you for coming to this podcast and and doing this interview. Well, thanks
Carlos Trujillo 29:59
so much. A chocolate for having me it was a pleasure talking to you and sharing these with the audience I’ll be glad to return here anytime soon
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