I’ll be honest — the first few months were bleak. I didn’t have any projects lined up when I made the leap to freelance, so I spent months playing video games and started questioning everything. I contacted everyone I knew, eventually landed a project, and began figuring out how to make it all work.

From that first project, I experimented with different approaches and eventually found a rhythm. Now a year later, I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people at Google, Airbnb, Lonely Planet, Feedly, Unsplash, Segment, Fantasy, MetaLab, Elephant and several others.

So while it’s still fresh on my mind, I’ve documented the lessons learned from my first year in the wild. Some of this will be familiar to fellow freelancers, hopefully some will be useful to others considering the switch themselves.

1. Relationships are everything

They’ve helped by allowing me to learn from others, plug into a community, and work on exciting…

Guides takes you to amazing places around the world.

Guides by Lonely Planet — an Apple Editor’s Choice featured multiple times in Apple’s App Store and on Google Play —is designed to convert any type of traveler into a travel-savvy expert equipped to get the most out of every trip.

When we launched the app earlier in the year, we focused our energy on delivering expert-curated city guides powered with bookmarking and offline maps; now we’re releasing several new features on iOS to deliver an even better experience — adding 13 new cities, languages, and a redesigned city intro screen layout to help users delve deeper into a destination.

The design system and style guide behind Salesforce1

Doing product design in a huge organization is tricky. Clear, constant communication is imperative.

A few years ago at Salesforce, that mostly meant hours upon hours of creating static redline specs. I didn’t go to school for this stuff, but burning the midnight oil to label CSS attributes across hundreds of screens seemed really, really broken.

Surely there’s a better way.

Each time a minor change was made to a component in the system, you threw back a shot of whiskey, cursed your existence on the planet, and started the process of combing through every sheet to update outdated elements. Then you’d recreate the PDF…

Brad Haynes

Design Director. Worked w/ Airbnb, Medium, Google, Lonely Planet, Salesforce, and many more. Travels and takes mediocre pictures for fun.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store