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Now or Never: Essential Strategies for Living Your Legacy

My framework for building the businesses that changed my life

Unleashing transformative insights and strategies to elevate your entrepreneurial and branding journey, one byte at a time.

By Ezekiel Rivera • February 19th, 2024
2,644 Words, 11 Min Read Time

Issue 005

Now or Never: Essential Strategies for Living Your Legacy

Photo by Balamurugan Anbazhagan

👋🏾 Hey Friend!

I hope you're enjoying what is hopefully a long and relaxing weekend. In the last few weeks, I have reflected on how you've responded to the newsletter (thank you all who contacted me asking for the next one 🙏🏾), and analyzed what I would like to see if I were you. Maybe you're considering entrepreneurship, you're already running a business, or you're working a 9-5 position where you want to add more value. Your time is valuable to me, so I want to make this newsletter worth your time.

This newsletter's first four issues were an opportunity for me to really take some time to evaluate the format I wanted it to take. My original idea was to have a series of newsletters where you could build upon the previous issue. It sounded like an excellent idea, but in reality it doesn't work as well in a weekly format. It simply takes too much time between issues to build momentum on your journey effectively. As a result, I will focus on byte-sized, actionable issues you can apply immediately, issue to issue. I will also feature capsules of topics related to the topics you're most interested in!

I have ironed out the back end of this newsletter and will resume weekly issues starting today. Thank you again for taking a few minutes out of today to mull through my thoughts, ideas, and lessons. I have built this newsletter to document my journey in building EVOLVE along with various other projects, and the process of personal development that comes with it.

In the end, if I've helped one person overcome their struggle, this newsletter has fulfilled its purpose.

So, let’s dive in and get started!

In today’s issue:

  • ⭐️ Deep Dive. Today, we’re diving into the idea of how to get started in any business you want to begin. I’m gonna walk you through some of the resulting lessons I’ve learned over the years on overcoming the hurdles of perfectionism and what you can do to get over the fear of getting started. My goal is that this issue at the very least helps you pinpoint what is holding you back and give you some steps you can apply today to get going on creating the life you deserve with business you’ve dreamed of.

  • 🚀 Key Takeaways. In this section, we present the core takeaways from our comprehensive Deep Dive. Think of it as your TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read) summary, perfect for when time is of the essence.

  • 💥 Etcetera. In this section, I share some of my favorite finds – from enlightening articles and engaging videos to the books and courses that are fueling both my personal and professional growth. These top picks are not just part of my journey, but are resources I believe can be equally beneficial to you in yours.

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⭐️ Deep Dive:

The Power of Right NOW

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Here is a quick reminder as we get started. You already possess everything necessary to begin. You're capable, sufficiently experienced, and absolutely worthy of everything you desire and more. Everything else you will need will come in the process.

Every day, I engage with friends, acquaintances, and strangers online, all in search of the elusive "magic pill" that will magically transport them to their desired definition of success. For some, it's crafting the perfect logo; for others, it's choosing the right name. I’m gonna nip it here. These are just distractions. In truth, the quest for perfection before starting—whether it's reading another book, completing a course, or forming your LLC—is a form of procrastination I sometimes bluntly call "mental masturbation." This is the act of over-preparing and letting your fear of being wrong and failing get in the way of what you’re trying to accomplish. As a note, I’ve been guilty of it. It is natural. It is our way of trying to avoid failure. You will come to learn that the treasure is the failure, but more on that in another issue.

The key to starting anything, be it a hobby or the business of your dreams, rests on a singular principle: getting started. Taking that first step. Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can. The journey to greatness begins with the courage to begin. The secret is to focus on the NOW and not the HOW.

Every successful entrepreneur I have ever met had one thing in common. An uncanny ability to just begin, right then, right in that moment. Over time, you get better and better in strategically starting in ways that cost you little or no money, making the risk absolutely worth it against the reward.

Embracing Failure and Experimentation

To understand why you haven’t started yes is probably the most important step to actually starting. Throughout our education, we were taught that preparation (like studying) is key, and failure was something to be avoided at all costs.

However, in the real world, your growth and future successes hinge on the quality of your failures. For instance: failures enrich you with invaluable experience, resilience, and the tenacity needed to advance in life. Without the capacity to effectively handle failure, achieving and maintaining success is impossible. The silver lining? You can master the art of failing productively through experimentation. A pro tip is to approach every endeavor as an experiment, anticipating that failures will happen without worrying too much about what they will be. These setbacks help you identify limits and test various hypotheses over time, setting the stage for amazing breakthroughs. You only need one breakthrough to change your life. Embrace the process.

Remember, the path to greatness is paved with trials and errors, not instantaneous victories. The stories of your greatest heroes often skip over the dark days in the process that came before the success. Glory is the reward for those who persevere.

If you get anything from this section, take this. While most hesitate/delay, overanalyzing every step, the truly and consistently successful dive in, learning and adapting along the way.

What can you do today? My Entrepreneurial Blueprint to Getting Started

Before we dive deeper, let me share the fundamental steps I took to embark on my entrepreneurial journey with EVOLVE. I began with…

  1. Establishing My Freedom Number: The first step is determining your Freedom Number, a monthly income goal that makes the pursuit of new opportunities worthwhile to you. When I started, my aim was simple: to never work for someone else again. Initially, my Freedom Number was $2,500 USD—just enough to cover my basic living expenses at a time when my costs were significantly lower. Reflect on what monthly income would provide you with a financial cushion or even replace your current salary entirely. You don’t have to leave your 9-5 to have your dream life. Your dream life is what you want it to be. We don’t bash traditional employment around here.

  2. Identifying a Problem and Crafting a Solution: At the core of any successful business is the ability to identify a common problem and offer a scalable solution. This just means means observing everyday challenges faced by yourself and others, then devising a solution you can monetize. The key here is to start as simple as possible. For instance, when I started EVOLVE we primarily focused on logo design. Nothing else. You had a business, we made you a logo. Over time and through heavy observation we grew with our understanding of what brand development actually is. We continue to learn and grow more every day. But over the last 7-8 years, we’ve gone from $50 logos to $100,000+ brand development projects. It all started with logos.

  3. Accumulating Rejections: Success is most often a game of numbers and asking has unlimited upside. To monetize, you need to learn how to ask. To learn how to ask, you need to get comfortable hearing no. To get comfortable hearing no, you need to ask often and in different ways. Over time you develop the skills necessary to ask efficiently in a way that corresponds best to the person you’re asking. Many consider sales slimey, but the reality is that if you believe that your product or service is of a great benefit to the world, it is your responsibility to get it out into the world. It is your duty to sell it. So go out there and ask for the sale, over and over. Between all the nos, you will find your yeses.

  4. Never Stop Experimenting: Treat the process as a game, as a series of experiments. The treasure is in the failure. I mentioned above that the treasure is in the failure. Business is simple. It's about coming up with new ideas, offering new solutions, and figuring out if someone will pay for them. It's all about continuous evolution, reinventing yourself, improving your offering. Perpetual failure is avoided by perpetual evolution. Never stay the same.

  5. Most Importantly: Just get started.

With all of that being said, I am not discounting the importance of preparation, simply highlighting that it is often not the most important thing in the beginning of exploring an idea. Often the process of launching is the preparation. You can overthink yourself through every scenario you haven’t come across yet. Do, Reflect, Learn, Do again. That is the formula. Do it every day.

🚀 Takeaways.

In this section, we present the core takeaways from our comprehensive Deep Dive. Think of it as your TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read) summary, perfect for when time is of the essence.

  1. Just Get Started: Develop the habit of vigilantly identifying challenges and devising solutions. Make it a practice to package your solution in ask someone as soon as possible if they’re interested in paying for it. The journey starts with a single step—take it.

  2. Embrace Rejection: Familiarize yourself with rejection; it's an important part of growth. View each "no" not as a setback but as a stepping stone towards your inevitable "yes." Remember, resilience is forged in the furnace of refusal. If the fear of hearing "no" holds you back, you're only delaying your success. Always dare to ask, for every rejection brings you closer to where you want to be. Do what you fear.

  3. Action Over Perfection: The path to your legacy doesn't require perfection, but it does demand action. While not every venture will be the game-changer, each one brings you closer to the breakthrough that will. Simplify the process: Ideate, create, and introduce your solution to the market without hesitation. Progress, not perfection, paves the way to success.

  4. Continuous Evolution: Adopt a cycle of learning and applying. Acquiring knowledge without application is simply procrastination. Transform information into action—read, apply, and repeat. This iterative process ensures that with every cycle, you inch closer to the legacy you aim to build.

💥 Etcetera.

Some of my favorite things. This week's top picks of insightful articles, engaging videos, must-read newsletters, and resources like books and courses that are fueling my personal and professional growth journey.

  1. 📖 Book – For those itching to transform an idea into reality in a matter of days, Noah Kagan’s (@noahkagan) "Million Dollar Weekend" is a treasure trove. As the early Facebook team member and AppSumo founder, Kagan provides a no-nonsense, step-by-step playbook for rapid business development. Dive in to turn your weekend project into a thriving business.

  2. 📖 Book – If you’re curious about crafting a future-forward business that stands out, Peter Thiel's (@peterthiel) "Zero to One" is a thought-provoking exploration of innovation and competition. Thiel, a renowned entrepreneur and investor, challenges conventional wisdom and provides unconventional insights into what it takes to build a truly unique and successful company. He is an original member of what has been come to be known as the Paypal Mafia.

  3. 🎧 Podcast Episode – This week’s newsletter was inspired by some of the topics discussed in Episode 274 of the The Futur Podcast with Chris Do (@thechrisdo), featuring the insightful Leila Hormozi (@leilahormozi). The episode is titled “Honest Lesson of an Entrepreneur” where she dives into her story of evolution from a personal trainer in Southern California, to co-founding Acquisition.com. The discussion is rich with parallels to our focus on starting now. As you absorb the strategies and stories from this issue, let Leila's journey in Episode 274 inspire you to act on your vision today, creating a legacy that benefits not just yourself but everyone connected to your enterprise.

🤝🏾 How I Can Help

That’s all for today!

Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help:

  1. Personalized Strategy Consulting: Ready for a major uplift in your brand and business strategy? Or perhaps facing a challenge that's been tough to crack? Schedule a one-on-one consultation with me. Together, we'll transform your vision into a vivid reality, tailored just for you.

  2. Comprehensive Brand Development with EVOLVE: Whether starting fresh or injecting new vigor into your existing brand, EVOLVE offers a comprehensive, strategic approach to ensure your brand resonates impactfully and cohesively. Let's craft a brand that truly stands out. Get In Touch today.

  3. Stay Connected: Follow along for a personal glimpse into who I am, what I love, and much more. It’s the perfect place to stay in touch, get exclusive insights, and keep up-to-date of the latest in business and branding.

  4. Invite Me to Ignite Your Event: If dynamic inspiration and cutting-edge thought leadership is what your next event needs, consider me on board. From keynotes to panels, podcast interviews to workshops, I bring actionable insights and strategies in business, branding, and beyond, all drawn from a deep well of real-life experiences.


EVOLVE™ is a cutting-edge brand development agency, the culmination of a collective of specialized divisions: Strategy, Design, Print, Media, and Sourcing, collectively known as EVOLVE. We specialize in transforming businesses from the ground up, combining innovative business and brand strategy with creative design to build powerful, cohesive brands that stand out in the marketplace. Our expertise lies in identifying and amplifying the unique essence of each business. Through the collaborative efforts of our specialized divisions, we ensure that brands not only resonate with their target audience but also sustain long-term growth and impact. At EVOLVE™, we're not just about creating brands; we're about crafting legacies that shape the future of business and leave a lasting mark in their industries.

To learn more about EVOLVE™, visit www.weareevolve.co or follow @wearevolve.co

✌🏾 Have A Wonderful Week

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