James Canzanella is the owner of Isolated Marketing Nights and has been marketing online since late 2012. After completely transforming his body and turning into a Justin Timberlake lookalike with abs, he focused his energy on fitness and helping others through personal training. That was until the day he got a call from his manager saying that his position was no longer available. So after being placed on unemployment, he decided to take matters into his own hands and take the plunge into online marketing. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. The journey was flooded with mistakes, failures, and many painful moments and memories that come along with not having much money to your name. When you don’t have health insurance, what you do and don’t do can drastically change, and that’s something that James will never forget. James will also never forget the value of mentors and just how much they helped in the process of growing, both as a person and an entrepreneur. Aside from online marketing, James (still) enjoys lifting weights, spending time with his girl, listening to rock music, and relentlessly quoting popular lines from movies: “Sweep the leg. Do you have a problem with that? No, sensei. No mercy.”
Where did the idea for Isolated Marketing Nights come from?
My website Isolated Marketing Nights is all about software, and I came up with the name while listening to the song Isolation by Alter Bridge. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not about being isolated and grinding away at night, as I’m a morning person and never liked burning the midnight oil. It’s about being free from that and letting the software do all of the isolated work for you.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
If my typical day was a movie, it would be a combination of The Terminator and Groundhog Day: Machine-like and repetitive. In order to make it productive, I keep a ToDoTomo list (to do tomorrow) where I write down all of the important actions that I need to accomplish. I focus only on those actions and block everything else out until they are done, and then repeat the process. I also have a ‘never-ending’ master list of activities that I need to complete. This ensures that I’ll never be wondering “What do I need to do next?”
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s once been stated that ideas are like slippery fish, and you need to get a hold of them quickly before they slip away. So whenever I come up with an idea, and if I’m not around to implement it, I will leave a note either on my iPhone or on a Google doc. Answering the question though, bringing ideas to life is all about action. These ideas also get added to my master list, so depending on the power of the idea, it may go towards the beginning, middle, or end of the list.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The ever-growing popularity of software, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I love seeing new software tools being released along with many of their helpful features.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Ignoring social media. I only use it for marketing purposes, and when I do, I have plenty of Google chrome extensions to help combat the focus that it attempts to snatch from you. An example would be for YouTube, where there are no videos on the homepage or related videos on the sidebar. That means if I’m going on YouTube, it’s either to upload a video or look for a specific topic that I need help with. The same with Facebook, I don’t have a newsfeed (thanks to another extension) and at the current time, I have it in my list of blocked websites so I can’t even visit it if I wanted to.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Work on mastering your mindset and your money as quickly as possible.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Hard work vs smart work is a foolish debate: do both.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Pounding the fundamentals. That would include aspects both inside and outside of my online business. For example with my online business, consistently taking action as well as rest and recovery. Outside of my online business, there is exercising, eating right, getting enough sleep, and continuously building and growing the relationship with my girl.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Content marketing. Creating both blog posts and well as YouTube videos for long-tail keywords to bring in targeted traffic. Not only does this strategy work in any niche, but it also works very well because these keywords tend to have less competition as well as being much more targeted. This process can be compounded by also building a list in the process.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of the first business ventures that I started failed spectacularly. All-in-all, I decided to pull the plug on it after investing close to $40,000 due to a nagging problem that I couldn’t seem to fix, regardless of who I asked. It cut like a knife, but it allowed me to pivot in another direction and focus on a different type of business model that was much more successful. After swallowing my pride, all it took was some time and research to overcome this failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Utilize email outreach to recommend products, offers, or services to businesses that need it the most, or heck, maybe you simply want to collaborate with other business owners. The beauty of this approach is that it’s not all that difficult to outsource, and you don’t need many tools to implement it. You will need an offer to provide, you will need to find emails, write and send outreach emails, as well as followup.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Definitely ahrefs, which costs $99 per month. Either way, there isn’t a better software tool when it comes to SEO. It gives you everything that you could ever ask for, and I couldn’t believe that I was properly functioning without it for so long.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
This one is simple: Google Drive. I keep many documents and spreadsheets to help me properly run, build, and grow my online business. Plus, it’s free, which is always nice.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’ve been asked this question many times, and the answer never changes: Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable by Tim Grover. This book is all about being tough from the neck up, and it’s written by the previous trainer for NBA legends such as Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade, as well as Kobe Bryant (may he rest in peace). The principles in the book can be used for any aspect of your life, especially business.
What is your favorite quote?
“I realized early on that success was tied to not giving up. If you simply didn’t give up, you would outlast the people who came in on the bus with you.” – Harrison Ford
- Create a list of activities that you must complete and only focus on them until they are accomplished.
- Ideas are like slippery fish, write them down or implement them as fast as humanly possible
- You can move mountains when you start mastering your mindset
- The less social media you use, the more productive you’ll be
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.