Meet HackerNoon’s Reigning ‘Most Controversial’ Writer of the Year


Nebojsa Todorovic is GoLancer Marketing and Business Analyst and “Noonies2020” Award Winner for the Most Controversial Writer of the Year. “Nesha” writes a lot about freelancing, entrepreneurship, business analysis, and today’s job market. In this Slogging Interview, we got to meet the creator behind various amazing titles and took a look at his inspirations.

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Nebojsa Todorovic is GoLancer’s Marketing and Business Analyst and “Noonies2020” Award Winner for the Most Controversial Writer of the Year. “Nesha” writes a lot about freelancing, entrepreneurship, business analysis, and today’s job market. In this Slogging Interview, we got to meet the creator behind various amazing titles and took a look at his inspirations.

This Slogging thread by Mónica Freitas, Nesha, Amy Shah and Limarc Ambalina occurred in slogging’s official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.

Hey @channel, please welcome our next AMA guest Nesha, GoLancer Marketing & Business Analyst, “Noonies2020” Award Winner, and Hacker Noon writer.

Please feel free to ask Nebojsa anything about:
1. Freelancing
2. The Start-ups industry
3. His experience as a writer
4. His experience in marketing and business
5. Entrepreneurship
6. His origin story

Thank you for joining us, Nesha!

It’s an honor to be here in my beloved Hacker Noon Community!!

We’re thrilled to have you here! Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself, for example, your profession and personal interests?

I’ve been a professional freelance content writer for more than ten years now.

You can say that I used to work or I’m still working on all major freelance platforms. Currently, I’m a writer at goLance.

My best stories have been written and published on Hacker Noon, which makes me extremely proud and happy.

You may say that I’ve become a true writer when I joined Hacker Noon.

Nesha Can you tell us more about your origin story? Curious about anything you might want to share!

Thank you for your question, Amy. Let me start by saying something about my corporate history. You see, I haven’t been born a freelancer, lol.

I lost my job. I was in dire straits. My first writing gig was worth two bucks! True story.

My first freelance platform was vWorker that was acquired by Freelancer dot com in 2012 if I’m not mistaken.

A few years later, as we all know, the “Great Merge” took place, and oDesk and Elance became Upwork.

I used to be among the top 100 freelancers on Freelancer dot com when there were “only” 20M freelancers working there. I was also the top freelancer on Upwork.

In 2018, I discovered goLance, and I’ve been working exclusively there ever since.

I’m also very active on Quora, where I write about remote work, freelancing, startups, and entrepreneurship.

I have more than 1.5M all-time views since 2019, and I’m the top contributor in a dozen Spaces with millions of followers.

What’s your go-to advice for people that want to be like you?

It sounds like a cliché and a cheesy line, but find something that you really like doing.

The pandemic has made us all question anything and everything about our lives and priorities.

Make sure that you’re doing something that you really enjoy and you’re really proud of.

I can say that the Noonies2020 Award presented by Hacker Noon was the best thing that happened to me during the troubling pandemic times.

That’s still great advice! What’s your background in the entrepreneurship and freelancing area? How did you become so familiarized with these areas? Only through personal experience?

I used to be a successful part of the corporate world. I started as a sales rep. Then, I worked as a product manager. Finally, I was a sales director and country/regional manager.

I worked for some of the biggest international corporations from Germany, Austria, South Africa, etc.

In my writing, I combine my personal business experiences with some very interesting startup founders and entrepreneurs I was fortunate to meet personally. The readers react to personal stories from real business life. I have great respect and admiration for bold startup founders and entrepreneurs.

You’ve experienced both ends! What draws you to write about those topics?

I have to admit that it was a spontaneous process.

I wrote a simple story about my first-hand business experience that got more than 300K views in a matter of weeks on Quora. I got thousands of upvotes/likes and hundreds of comments.

I am one of the 76 contributors who can publish directly in the biggest Quora Space for entrepreneurs, business owners, and startups with more than 2M followers.

I’m always among the top 10 writers and contributors on these topics.

My style is unapologetic, uncompromising, and brutally honest. Just like in one of my favorite movies “Ready Player One:” Reality is the only thing that is real.

Also, there’s something I have to say about Hacker Noon, which makes it be a unique publishing platform.

Hacker Noon is fearless, plain and simple. They aren’t hesitating to publish some of the most controversial stories. At the same time, Hacker Noon is absolutely credible because it’s impossible to publish stories that haven’t been thoroughly checked and verified.

Wow, you’ve achieved a lot already. That’s amazing. What made you want to write in the first place?

I wrote my first poem when I was ten years old.

Writing can be both a blessing and a curse.

Somewhere deep inside you, there’s something that’s impossible to describe. It has to get out and become a story. Just like in Alien the movie, bursting through your chest, but in a creative and unharmful way, LOL.

I often like to say that I don’t write my stories, they write themselves through me.

That’s a beautiful thought!

It was always a calling. That’s awesome. What is the biggest challenge you have when it comes to writing?

If you want to write for real, it can get very emotional. You have to give a lot to get a lot.

The ideas for stories usually come in the most unusual time and places. You have to catch them quickly because the next thing you know they’re gone.

Sometimes, I get up in the middle of the night to write something down. Because in the morning it would be too late.

I also have to be honest about passionate writing and the toll it takes on your health. My price is high blood pressure.

I’m not a vain author. I’m telling the truth. I leave it up to readers to judge my stories as they are.

The challenge is not to get published, praised, paid, or popular. The challenge in writing is to stay true to yourself.

Now, that can be a challenge for Hacker Noon editors, lol.

Just to finish this thought. There’s an urban legend that editors aren’t thrilled when they get my latest story. Oh no, Nesha wrote a new story. Oh my, what’s it going to be about now, LOL.

It’s a demanding task. I praise you for the passion you commit to your craft. Your readers appreciate the truth you put out 💚 So, you’re enthusiastic about writing, freelance, and entrepreneurship. What are some of your other personal interests?

When it comes to my other personal interests, I’m a movie addict. In many of my stories, you can find cultural references to popular and classic movies.

I’m not a movie critic, I just enjoy watching good movies. I like to explore hidden meanings and Easter eggs. I appreciate an intellectual challenge of a good story.

When I was younger I used to read a lot. Now, when I’m older, it’s such a joy to see your favorite books made into movies.

I’m not a Millennial. That’s why I don’t take all the great tech things and new devices for granted.

I have a funny story to share if you allow me to illustrate my point.

Please do 😊

Back in the day, my daughter found my old Nokia phone. She was extremely frustrated because she couldn’t figure out how it works. She didn’t know that there’s no touch screen. My wife and I couldn’t stop laughing.

Nowadays, babies are born with the knowledge of how to use remote devices, lol.

The younger generations don’t know how it used to be to work with the dial-up Internet. Now, I’m using optics, and I feel as if I’m a time traveler. I used to write on paper, and now I’m published on a digital publication in the cyber-space. You can’t beat that feeling of true wonder and happiness.

And, of course, let’s not forget – GAMING!! Again, what’s my daughter playing on Xbox is science fiction for me.

Back in the 1990s, Blizzard’s StarCraft was the revolutionary thing. I’m glad that there are so many people who feel nostalgia about the good old things from some other time. For example, to this very day, I play Frozen Throne. I forgot how old is that game. More than 20 years, I guess?! Ah, all the fun we used to have to play Counter-Strike.

You can’t compare the graphics and animation of the old games, but that was the dawn of the new time that pawed the way for the new generations.

I forgot to say that as a professional writer, I’m a blind typer, lol.

I was born in the 90s. Even though for me, the change wasn’t as big, I can completely relate to what you’re saying. It requires a lot of adjustment to keep up with technological advances. Counter-Strike was a phenomenon back then.

My writing speed sometimes hits more than one word per second. So, my apologies, lol.

My readers aren’t age-limited.

I’ll try to catch up 😁 As an avid reader, I completely get your love for adaptations. What would you say it’s your favorite movie and book?

Uh, that’s a tough one. You got me, Monica, LOL. It’s hard because I don’t want to be unfair.

For example, the Matrix was a movie that defined my entire generation. On the other hand, you have the latest adaptation of Dune, the cult SF classic. Guy Ritchie is one of my favorite directors. I think I have seen all of his movies.

Books. Oh boy, that would be an endless list. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

On Apple streaming service, for instance, you can enjoy in Asimov’s Foundation.

There are so many books and movies that I’ve read and seen hundreds of times. You just can’t get enough of them.

When it comes to music, I have to say that I’m stuck in the past of the house music of the 1990s. You were born at the right time, Monica, lol.

Uh, I really want to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a harsh question, I know. What kind of music do you use to write?

Our conversation took some unplanned turns, but I’m sure there weren’t the wrong ones, like that horror movie series, the Wrong Turn, LOL.

Ah, that’s a great question!! Music is very important for my writing.

When I write for Hacker Noon, I listen to house, disco hits, so loud that my ears hurt, lol. I like the rhythm that doesn’t allow you to relax.

My writing is tense. When I’m done, I often feel as if I’ve been running for hours. Unfortunately, I burn very few calories, which doesn’t help my losing extra weight plans, lol.

There are some honorable mentions and exceptions that include rock and classic music.

What would be the honorable mentions?

Metallica – The Black Album, Whitesnake, AD/DC, Adagio in G Minor, Bad Santa soundtrack, Atomic Blonde soundtrack, Daft Punk…The Weeknd is amazing.

2001: A Space Odyssey Theme song

Rollerball (1975) – Intro (Bach – Toccata)

Never heard the Bad Santa Soundtrack. I’ll make a note of it for later! Now, HackerNoon adds small descriptions to each writer’s profile. What would your self-description be like?

I have a few, give me a second. I changed quite a lot.

Talent Can’t Be Taught.

And this one in particular.

I smoke like Mark Twain.
I drink like Ernest Hemingway.
I kiss like Charles Bukowski.
I freelance like Michael Brooks.
I write like myself and get published on Hacker Noon. 🤘

AMAZING 👏

Nowadays, all you have to say is…

Hey, I’m a Hacker Noon contributor, period!!

There’s no better recommendation and reference for any writer.

Something more casual: What is your guilty pleasure of choice?

Hm…The rituals…

Every Christmas I have to watch Bad Santa, LOL. AC/DC Highway to Hell.

Patton the movie. I forgot to mention that I joined the army at the age of 14 as a military cadet. I spent 6 years in the army. One of the top in my class. A very problematic one, though.

Fun fact: I spent my 18th birthday in a military prison because of a girl. I had to see her. The guards sang “happy birthday to me.” Those were the days, LOL.

A tragic love story…it could be the beginning of a novel!

What can the Hacker Noon community expect to read from you next?

Ha ha ha, indeed.

I’m excited about this year’s Noonies awards.

I plan to outmatch myself with new stories.

Last year I was the most controversial writer.

This year, my focus would be on startups and entrepreneurship. Also, I want to write about work from home as our new reality.

I published more than 50 stories.

A handful of them were top stories.

Congratulations! It means that you’re touching the tricky subjects!

I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for them! What was your latest Hacker Noon Top story about?

I’m so proud. I should’ve shared some pictures.

I wrote a true story about my neighbor, a tech pioneer. He’s in his 60s. Really an incredible story about the first computers.

About the enthusiasm of the first tech pioneers.

Amazing stories are all around us.

I’m not sure, but I think that Tolstoy said something that you don’t need to imagine anything. Life is stranger and more beautiful than fiction.

Hacker Noon is a great story itself. One day I will write about it too.

Oh, that’s amazing! Please do! And do write a memoir someday because I bet you have more fun stories to tell!

Sorry to join late, Nesha, and thanks for joining us here. As someone who was freelance writing for years, I have a question for the freelance writers out there who are struggling.

What’s your advice on getting gigs as a freelancer? Should you reach out to companies on your own, answer job ads, or do you think it is necessary for freelance writers to be active on the Fiverr and Upworks of the world? I find that Fiverr takes way too high fees to make it worth it.

Limarc Ambalina I started writing a reply to your thread here, and then, I realized. I’m going to end up writing an article for all struggling fellow freelance writers out there. So, I’m on it.

That’s a wrap for this AMA. Thank you for joining us, Nesha. It’s been a pleasure to have you!

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