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 teenage 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.

Which is…

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:

Quemado Beach, Al Hoceima, Morocco. Credits to The Rif Styler.


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 Teenage Non-Native English Freelance Writer Landed Two High-Paying Clients (Part 2)”.

Curious to know more? Feel free to ask in the comments below.

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