No. That’s not another immigrant’s story.
And, no! I’ve never been to an “accelerated” English course.
And, I never used a pen name, and I have no plans to use one in the future.
And yet… I have been able to start a freelance writing career from nada. Zero. Nothing.
My name is Yassir Sahnoun. I’m a 16-year-old non-native English freelance writer based in a small town near Al Hoceima, Morocco.
Following Bamidele Onibalusi’s Earn Your First $1000 as a Freelance Writer challenge, I’ve landed two well-paying clients in my first month as a freelance writer. I’ve also co-founded WriteWorldwide — a junk-free resource for non-native English writers of all levels.
My exhausting adventure was definitely not all sunshine and rainbows.
Throughout this post, I will break down all the major steps I took to reach a success many non-native English writers dream of. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Step #1: Discovering Online Entrepreneurship
Hustle is the most important word, ever.
– Gary Vaynerchuk
At the age of 13, I’ve created a habit of watching hours of YouTube tutorials made by successful Moroccan digital marketers who have built million-dollar empires working online.
This habit made me realise that making big bucks online is possible.
After watching hundreds of practical videos on how to make money online, I had to answer a question.
What would you love to do for the rest of your life?
Certainly, my answer was: writing.
Step #2: Freelance Writing in Arabic
Berber, my native language, doesn’t have a solid presence online, meaning I should work on another language.
At the time, Arabic was the only foreign language I spoke fluently.
I started freelancing on Khamsat (what a nasty place,) an Arabic equivalent of Fiverr.
As I used to be a jack-of-all-trades, I’ve offered several services, ranging from app development to freelance writing.
Also, to build social proof, I’ve written for a couple of Arabic publications (which later helped me land my first client in the English market.)
After working for about a year and a half (from 24/11/2014 to 30/04/2016,) I’ve earned $55. Peanuts.
Simultaneously, I’ve started learning English and German in August 2015.
Step #3: Freelance Writing in English
In July 2016, after I found out about how lucrative the freelance writing world in English is, I subscribed to Writers In Charge, the first blog I really followed.
Bamidele Onibalusi, the man behind Writers In Charge, was a huge inspiration for me. Reading blog posts he wrote during his early freelance writing days convinced me that making a living writing is not rocket science.
Between July 2016 and August 2016, I’ve dedicated all of my time to hone my craft by reading high-quality content and writing a few words here and there.
No more beaches. No more snacks.
I don’t know if you’re surrounded by super fascinating beaches, but if you do, I bet you won’t resist going. Especially if they look like this one:
Next, Bamidele Onibalusi launched the Earn Your First $1000 as a Freelance Writer challenge.
Excited to know how I landed my first two clients during the challenge?
Read the second part of my story, “How a 16-Year-Old Non-Native English Freelance Writer Landed Two High-Paying Clients (Part 2)”.
Curious to know more? Feel free to ask in the comments below.