I hope you'll take the time to read the letter below, that summarizes the current challenges of Miller Design Studio, and the reasons we will not be accepting new orders from December through February. Please know that this is not a reflection on you, my clients and friends. You have been a pleasure to work with, and I deeply appreciate your trust.
In March 2009, I started Miller Design Studio. My intention was to offer quality design and printing at a fair price, and with good service.
Many of you have told me that we were able to achieve the first goal: Miller Design Studio's prices remained among the lowest in the business, and we were able to deliver quality design. Through our awesome printing partners (most notably Gotprint and Colorpoint Print) we are also able to consistently deliver quality, full-color printing. In addition, during this time, Miller Design Studio designed over 50 websites without templates, and continues to host and maintain several of these.
However, the challenges of running a one-man operation have been great; in order to stabilize my personal finances, I took another job last winter, making it difficult to focus exclusively on the graphic and web design business, and creating serious scheduling conflicts within the business.
Some days, I literally have no available time to return calls or work on designs; other days, I have a 1-2 hour window during which I have to fit in any design work, website maintenance, and the behind-the-scenes things -- records, taxes, etc. I'm not complaining -- most of you are entrepreneurs who are also juggling several different responsibilities, and you know the feeling. (I have had the superb help of Erica Jones and the team at Efficiently Yours, and deeply appreciate their excellent work!)
The other challenge is that creative work doesn't necessarily have a set time. My intention in beginning Miller Design Studio was to offer website design and print design at flat rates, with no surprises. But creative projects have a variety of demands and, therefore, a variety of time requirements. For example, finding stock photography for one project may take 5 minutes; for another, 30. But, of course, any project that takes longer than expected pushes other projects behind.
So, something has to change. What is that?
First of all, I am committed to finishing what I've begun. During the next three months (December, January, and February), I plan to focus on finishing projects I'm currently committed to. Three of these projects are book packages, which are very time intensive and challenging.
Second, I will continue to serve clients' needs for website maintenance. During this time, while I will not be accepting new orders, I will be maintaining the websites which I currently offer. I do ask that updates be sent through http://www.millerdesignstudio.net/dashboard rather than sent by email or phone, so that a record can be kept of each website update. My goal will be to finish each non-urgent website update within a week.
Third, I will use this time to evaluate and update Miller Design Studio's business approach. I have attempted to be all things to all people -- websites, postcards, business cards, books, direct mail, email marketing, social networking, etc. A narrower focus would probably be more effective both for your marketing efforts and for streamlining operations at Miller Design Studio.
In closing, let me make one thing clear: I deeply appreciate your business and the opportunity to get to know many of you, both in a business relationship and as friends. I am taking this step so that, if possible, I can first of all maintain the friendship, and hopefully return to serve you more effectively than before.
I ask you for three things:
1. If you have a project that seems to be on my back burner, please contact me. The best way is definitely email (firstname.lastname@example.org), but I also welcome you to call 313-355-0657. I will do my best to finish your project, and will make necessary adjustments to the price. If your project is a website change, please update that at http://www.millerdesignstudio.net/dashboard.
2. Please let me know what you think. As I evaluate the aim and operation of Miller Design Studio, I welcome constructive advice and criticism. Please let me know what you like about Miller Design Studio, and what you feel detracts from our service.
3. If you need marketing materials, please order now. This is not a marketing e-newsletter, I promise. But I don't want my "sabbatical" to leave you in the lurch, so if you do need marketing materials, please order them during November. If you don't need them or can't pay until later, just contact us through http://millerdesignstudio.net/contact.html and let me know what you'll need. I'll attempt to design November orders so they can be printed any time during that three month period.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me through the methods listed. I'll do my best to answer your questions honestly and quickly.