Background: The Highlights
Simona Hostakova is an accomplished writer and content creator who has made a significant impact in the online publishing and content marketing industry. Over the past five years, she has gained recognition for her articles published on Medium, a popular online platform, as well as in renowned publications such as The Writing Cooperative, Better Marketing, The Ascent, and Curious. Simona’s work has garnered hundreds of thousands of views, solidifying her reputation as a skilled writer.
Aside from her contributions on Medium, Simona collaborates with various clients and companies, offering her expertise in crafting high-converting content that improves website rankings. Her specialties are long-form articles, brand journalism, ghostwriting, and blogging. She excels in producing comprehensive and engaging long-form articles that provide valuable insights to readers.
Simona has a deep understanding of brand journalism, seamlessly blending informative content with a brand’s voice to establish a compelling online presence. She also possesses strong ghostwriting skills, allowing her to capture her client’s unique voice and style. Simona is skilled in creating impactful blog content tailored to her client’s specific needs and goals.
nDash’s Discussion with Simona Hostakova
Jenn: I notice your background includes being a research analyst for AskWonder. Can you tell me about that experience? Did that experience fuel your decision to become a freelance writer?
Simona: Yes, it definitely did. I was looking for a remote job. But with no prior experience, it was hard to find one. Luckily, at AskWonder, I landed a job meant for newbies willing to learn how to do online research from scratch. After a few weeks of training, I was ready to start in this position.
The clients came up with a subject, and my job was to gather as much relevant and reliable information as possible. Then, I had to write a report summarizing my findings and send it over to professional writers who took care of the rest.
Writers who reviewed these reports often complimented my work, saying that only a little editing was needed, and their kind reviews sparked a new idea: “Maybe I could become a professional writer too.”
Jenn: How did you know becoming a freelance writer was the right career move? What advice do you have for others interested in this pursuit?
Simona: After discovering the perks of working from home and on my schedule, I started collecting more information on what it takes to become a writer. I really enjoyed writing reports as an analyst.
As far as I remember, I didn’t have a special moment that would convince me that becoming a writer was the right choice. It was rather a long process during which I realized that getting paid for doing what you love can be a real privilege.
If there’s one piece of advice I could share with people considering a freelance writing journey, I’d say: Take your time.
It takes months, even years, of hard work before you establish yourself as a professional writer, and unless you have a background in content creation, you have to start literally from zero. It means accepting lower rates, tight deadlines, or less interesting niches.
Unfortunately, few people are willing to go through this process because they want to see fast results (and fast money) with the least effort. Writing is hard, and writing for a living is even harder. But once you’re over the “starting” period, it becomes one of the most rewarding jobs you can imagine.
Jenn: How did nDash become part of your freelance writing journey?
Simona: After over a year of writing online, I became tired of content mills and low-paid clients. So I searched for freelance writing websites. Somehow, I stumbled upon nDash, and after reading a few positive reviews, I applied. I got accepted, and within the following weeks, I landed my first gig here.
I couldn’t believe that for the same writing I did before, I could get paid here twice as much. That’s when I realized that serious freelancers don’t have to rely only on content mills — and great writing websites really do exist.
In short, I’d say nDash helped me find my worth as a writer and allowed me to grow.
The Rest of nDash’s Conversation with Simona
Simona Hostakova’s accomplishments showcase her versatility as a writer. Her specialties in long-form articles, brand journalism, ghostwriting, and blogging highlight her ability to produce high-quality content that resonates with readers and helps businesses achieve their objectives.
Jenn: Your nDash profile mentions covering digital marketing, online business, copywriting & freelancing, personal development, and psychology topics. Can you tell me why you’re passionate about these topics?
Simona: I originally started blogging about personal development and psychology. These subjects have been my favorite since high school, and I could write about them effortlessly. However, after my first months of writing, I noticed that putting words out there isn’t enough to make money online.
I started observing what other successful writers and bloggers do to reach as many people as possible, and I learned one important thing:
Writing itself isn’t enough, and if you want people to read your work, you have to bring it in front of their eyes in the first place.
That was the time I discovered the power of digital marketing. I started learning about content promotion, email campaigns, newsletters, and SEO practices.
Once I learned the basics, I could immediately see a shift in engagement rates and earnings.
Since then, improving and implementing my marketing knowledge has been a steady part of my work. Plus, it allows me to share the best pieces of marketing advice with my readers. The same goes for the niches like copywriting, freelancing, and building an online business.
I simply write about what I learned and tried.
Jenn: Your profiles also mention submitting SEO-optimized content. Can you tell me about your background in SEO?
Simona: As I said, I discovered SEO during the first months of my blogging journey when I was trying to find a way to reach more readers. Learning how to optimize my content was crucial, and back then, I had no idea that writing SEO-optimized posts could be a lucrative way to make money.
It changed later when I started to write for clients. They were happy with my SEO-optimization methods, and I was pleased to realize how much SEO knowledge I gained from blogging and building my own websites.
Jenn: What are your favorite tools for managing your career as a freelance writer?
Simona: I’m organizing most of my freelance work in Notion. From the editorial calendar, list of clients, deadlines, and weekly and monthly schedules to earnings overviews and all kinds of notes.
For marketing-related tasks, I’m using Ubersuggest and various Hubspot tools. For writing, I rely only on G-Docs and Grammarly app.
Jenn: What elements of a writing profile do you think are the most important when potential clients are looking for new freelancers? Do you feel freelance writers miss this opportunity to put their best foot forward?
Simona: From my experience, clients always look at freelancers’ writing samples and reviews in a writing profile. These are also the elements I usually see in a writing profile.
However, I’ve noticed specific stats regarding my writing achievements attract the clients the most, or at least in my case. For instance, how many of my SEO-optimized articles landed on Google’s first page, how many readers converted into subscribers after reading my particular post, or how website traffic increased after I edited and optimized the client’s old content.
In my opinion, these numbers can often outgrow official education or long years of work experience mentioned on the writer’s profile. A degree or experience from a marketing agency doesn’t automatically make you a good writer or marketer.
Thus, I think freelancers should focus more on showing their achievements and experience in terms of numbers, not only words.
Jenn: Out of all the content you write (i.e., long-form articles, brand journalism, ghostwriting, and blogging), what is your favorite?
Simona: It’s a bit hard to choose one as I enjoy creating all kinds of content, but I’d say long-form writing suits me best. I love researching and exploring any topic in-depth, and long-form content always allows me to do so.
Jenn: What are the biggest challenges you’ve experienced as a freelance writer so far? What lessons can you take away from these experiences that would be most beneficial to our readers?
Simona: One of my biggest challenges was finding consistent work and creating a stable income stream. Landing a one-time writing job is quite simple, but you can’t rely on those from a long-term point of view.
It took me a year, but I finally solved this problem by establishing a steady client base and building a solid network.
My lesson here would be that running a successful (freelancing) business stands on advanced planning, long-term thinking, and great connections, not only on the product or service itself.
Another challenge I faced when I started was my inability to control my time and stick to my plans. Working on your schedule makes it easy to get lost in time or procrastinate, especially if you don’t work under tight deadlines.
To stay productive, I had to learn how to properly plan my days and weeks, measure my efficiency, and correctly determine the time needed for particular tasks. Luckily, time-tracking apps helped me eliminate most of these problems, but my time management is still far from perfect.
I learned multiple lessons, but the main one can be summed up in a quote: “To do two things at once is to do neither.”
Jenn: What elements of a freelance writing assignment make you say, “Yes, please”? And, conversely, which elements make you say, “No thank you”?
Simona: I always appreciate the clients who take the time to write straightforward assignment descriptions. I love seeing jobs that clearly state what the client expects — it allows me to avoid guessing games about whether I can actually deliver what they need.
It also shows me that the client cares both about the content and the writer.
I keep skipping assignments that exceed my writing experience and niche, but also unspecific gigs. An assignment that feels like the client is saying, “Just figure it out for yourself,” is a “No, thank you” for me.
I believe that if they do not have time to write a good job description, they won’t also have time to answer my potential questions regarding the job or any other concerns I might have if I took the job. It’s not a rule, though, just a personal observation.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your career as a freelance writer!
Work with Simona Hostakova on nDash Today!
Do you have a project that aligns with Simona’s expertise? Check out her freelance writer profile to learn more about how her background can level up your content strategy: Simona Hostakova.