Carlos Hidalgo

CEO of VisumCx

Carlos Hidalgo is a 25-year business veteran. Over the span of the last two-plus decades, Hidalgo has held corporate roles, started his own entrepreneurial ventures and served in non-profits.

Hidalgo co-founded his first company in 2005 leading it to two consecutive Inc. 5000 Awards before departing and launching his second company VisumCx.

In addition to his current role as CEO at VisumCx, Hidalgo also serves as a managing partner in a health care platform start-up and serves on the board on a tech start-up and writes often on the intersection of business and personal success.

Carlos and his wife Susanne have four grown children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.

Where did the idea for VisumCx come from?

When I left the first agency that I co-founded I was fairly certain I wanted to begin another consultancy rather than go work for a company. Knowing that B2B executives are always looking to an advantage to grow their own leadership, that of their teams and looking to improve the customer experience, VisumCx was the next logical step.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I manage my day within my work-life boundaries. I usually begin my day at 8:00 am and am done before 6:00 pm. Within those hours, I work according to my ultradian rhythms (which all of us have). This means that I work in sprints of 90-120 minutes where I am solely focused on my work and ensure I block out any potential distractions. After that time, I take a 15-20 minute break and give my brain time to refresh and then get back to it. Using this approach I have become more productive, creative and efficient than at any other point in my 25-year career.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I always try to be in a place where I am open to new ideas. It may be from a conversation, something I read or hear, a sign that I see in the airport. I am constantly writing on my idea board in my office, sending myself an email as a reminder of something that can lead to a new idea or concept. I also have a close group of colleagues that I know I can call and discuss a concept, idea or position on a topic and get their perspective and honest feedback.

I believe if I am maintaining a mindset of openness than the ideas will continue to flow.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The one trend that I get excited about is making our companies more human. I see more and more companies looking to enhance the employee experience and I believe the place to start is by building human-centric companies. This means enabling and empowering your employees to give the best of themselves to work while also allowing them to give the best of themselves to their personal lives and relationships. If you want engaged employees, allow them the ability to leave work at work.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I have made a habit of establishing work-life boundaries. These boundaries are what guard the things I value including my personal whole health, time with my wife and family and my work. Knowing that I have certain times when I am going to be solely focused on my work and time when I will be focused on things other than work, allows me to highly productive and more effective than ever before.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would go back and tell myself that my worth and identity are never going to be found in my profession or in my business. For far too long I sought to find my purpose through my business achievements and no matter what I accomplished it was never enough. I now find that since I have discovered my “why”, I am able to apply that in my business and it is far more rewarding.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I believe we can accomplish more and with better quality by actually working fewer hours. The idea that as business owners and entrepreneurs we need to hustle is a fallacy. I have experienced greater success in all areas of my life and a better quality of work by working less as it leads to a better holistic life and I have the joy of helping others do and experience the same.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I make it a practice to define and live within my boundaries and do so in a community so there is accountability. My wife is the biggest part of that community, but I also have close friends with whom I engage that enable me to live within my defined boundaries.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

The one thing I try and do is to be helpful to my prospects and customers. I know that what I do will not be a fit for all prospects, but I want to help them make the most informed buying decision possible so I apply that in how I market and sell my services.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest failure was putting the importance of my business ahead of my family. I would have told you the opposite was true, but the time and attention I gave my business a.k.a. my actions told a much different story. I finally hit a rock-bottom, burnout moment and had to do some work on myself and realign my focus and priorities. I continue to apply what I have learned so my family never again has to compete for importance.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

As one who likes to travel, I have often thought of developing an app that allows me to build a profile on my interests – food, shopping, museums, art, outdoor activities, etc. I can then enter the city to where I will be traveling and the app gives me a loose itinerary of things to do, the time it will take to do them, directions and ratings from other users based on my profile and interests. A bit like TripAdvisor on steroids.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The most recent and best spend was the ticket we bought for our youngest son to meet us in D.C at the end of a conference. It was time we could spend as a family, taking in a great city, connecting and not working and rather spend time being present with each other.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I am a religious user of Buffer. I use social media extensively in my business and to push out content and Buffer enables me to do so in an efficient and effective manner.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

As a two-time author, I will forgo the opportunity to promote mine, but I would highly recommend the new book by Michael Brenner Mean People Suck. It is a book focused on empathy in business and I believe a must-read for anyone in business.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is one my wife, Susanne often uses, “In life, we can respond to people and circumstances with fear and anger or in love . . . I choose love.”

Key Learnings:

  • We never truly “arrive”. All of what I have spoken about in terms of my approach to work and my boundaries are an on-going practice and will always require my attention if I am going to live the kind of life I desire.
  • We cannot do it alone. As entrepreneurs and business owners, we have this idea that we are the ones who have to get it done. While we should certainly work hard and take responsibility for our outcomes, we cannot and should not do it alone. We need community and close connection which is at the core of our human wiring.
  • We are not defined by our failure or our success. All of us have a unique story that is continually being written. Our highest of highs and our lowest of lows are part of our story, but are not THE story. Learn from all of it and apply it in a way that makes your story beautiful


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