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Julian Samarjiev, Co-Founder of DULO, on How Reading Turns Mindsets into Actions

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Julian Samarjiev is building DULO, a bootstrapped apparel business, while working full-time as a programmer during the day.

DULO is formed around the idea of making products that create time, confidence, and peace of mind, while looking exceptional. The dress shirts that they’re producing are made in Europe, from quality materials. They are wrinkle resistant (they don’t need to be ironed), and their fabrics are treated with an antibacterial finish.

Julian started DULO together with Marin Gerov (remember our awesome talk?), a former high school class mate whom he met in Bulgaria, their home country (they’re now both based in Amsterdam, working as programmers). Previously, Julian lived, studied and worked in Australia, South Africa, England, Japan and Germany.

They have documented their business-building process right from the start – a content marketing decision that proved to be an important part of building the project.

They are so committed to their work as business founders that they also created their own podcast, The Early Days, where they interview other entrepreneurs that are willing to share their experience of building a business from the ground up.

Julian believes that “there is no replacement for doing”, and this quote has made him an even more valuable entrepreneur in our eyes.

The interview below will show you how Julian consumes books and audio content to enhance his business knowledge, but also how he’s able to build DULO while also having a full-time job, so let’s not stall this any longer. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. That’s the book that comes to mind, not so much for the story, but the timing of it. It’s probably the only book I’ve read twice, but it came at a time when I was living in Japan and it created a context that leveled up my mindset spiritually. I think and hope that I carry those changes and behaviors that came with it to present day.

Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

Usually, when I read, the effects are not immediate. I think I either need to give myself some time to subconsciously digest it, or wait for an appropriate moment that I can apply it.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

Reading serves as a momentary mindset shift that then pushes me to take actions to validate those newly-found thoughts, the actions themselves then create the change.

What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

Two categories of books come to mind. One that changes your paradigm or mindset and the other a more practical/tactical lesson that you can physically apply.

Having said that, I think the most beneficial, at least for me, has been to read/listen to interviews/autobiographies of successful people to put me in a frame of mind of accomplished individuals that I can use as a motivation to do, work and create.

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I’m a big fan of consuming audio content because it gives you the ability to passively listen to it while doing something else.

Reading wise, it’s usually a shorter form, could be a Medium article, or a post on an entrepreneurial platform that might have some insights and information in connection to the projects I am currently working on.

How do you make time for reading?

During the day, after a longer period of focus on a specific task, I have small sessions dedicated to reading a few articles and engaging with the authors to create a discussion on the subject, hopefully learning something and/or providing value/experience in return.

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

Give it time. We are overwhelmed by information, hence I rely on the filter of time and my subconscious to bubble the important information to the top.

How do you choose what books to read next?

I don’t have a strategy for it, it’s pretty random, based on what I stumble upon.

Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

No. I like to discover things by myself, instead of relying on someone else’s filter for what might be good or not for me.

What book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. I hope to build to that “winner’s mindset” I talked about (e.g. the success stories in the book), as well as practical and tactical advice on how to leverage modern digital platforms to build a business.

What are the biggest challenges in running a side project while also having a full-time job? How do you manage to stay efficient?

The logical thing to say would be time. However, I think that working under those constraints helps me focus on the most important tasks and creates a framework of discipline that I can apply in other walks of life (working out, making the most out of relationships etc.), as well as carry as a skill going forward.

In the IndieHackers interview you talked about how DHH and Jason Fried‘s work inspires you. Have you thought about how you want your company too look like in the future? Besides bootstrapping, do you also want to keep it the company at a somewhat small, controllable level, similar to Basecamp?

It’s just a common sense approach to business. Grow off profits, don’t owe anyone, be independent, create a pleasant and calm environment for everyone involved in the process. I strongly believe these values should be the default, not the exceptions.

I hope for a small, killer team that can be super efficient, doing work they enjoy while having the time to dedicate to side interests, not related to the business and work environment.

One of the main components of promoting your business is through content marketing. You chose to share your story in a transparent way – a strategy that’s extremely efficient on the long term and helps you keep customers close and loyal, but some avoid because it takes a lot of energy and doesn’t lead to overnight direct results. What were the unexpected outcomes of documenting your journey?

The unexpected outcome is that we are generating a very authentic blueprint that shows how hard and how much time it takes to build a real business.

Success stories and putting tipping points of success on a pedestal is dangerous for anyone starting out and may discourage people when they are not seeing any significant results short-term.

Through our process and the documentation of it, we hope to shine a small light on the realities and set realistic expectations for anyone thinking of starting, or someone at the beginning of their journey.

Links where you can follow Julian Samarjiev or find out more about his projects:

All books mentioned by Julian Samarjiev in this interview:

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