Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in design services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Petra Ives, Founder of Lime&Co, located in San Diego, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

At Lime&Co, we specialize in Brand Clarity, Strategy, and Design. In that order! We are a brand and design studio in sunny San Diego, California that helps overwhelmed business leaders find clarity and confidence and empowers them to evolve their brand, serve their community and lead in their space.

We serve many different clients with various offerings. But they all have in common some sort of misalignment between the stellar service or product they offer and their brand appearance. They have either outgrown the brand they started with or feel no longer confident using it. Or they might have difficulty explaining what they do and who they help and not attract the right people.

We solve that by digging deep and aligning their purpose with their brand visuals and messaging again. The result: a confident brand ready to grow and win the hearts of those who matter.

Tell us about yourself

I knew very early on that I wanted to be a designer. So from 12 years old on, that was my main focus, and to this day, I don't know what else I would do. Shortly after finishing Design School in Munich, love transplanted me from my orderly and rainy home in Germany to laid-back, easy-living San Diego. I worked myself up in various design jobs while taking on the occasional freelance project. My dream was, indeed, the American Dream: to start my own business. But it was a scary step. One day I got another freelance project. A bigger one with the promise of more. I thought that was it. Enough to get by, so I quit my job. Only to find out two weeks later that the company had gone bankrupt. If it counts for anything: it made me take the scary step!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been running my own business for almost 20 years now. I went through the ups and downs of recessions, a pandemic, going back to school, and becoming a mom (twice). I am also proud of my community involvement and having had the privilege to teach design at the Community College.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

While I love and breathe design, I had no idea how to run a business. They don't teach you that in design school. So, it was and still is a lot of learning and figuring it out as I go. Another challenge is to constantly have the pipeline filled with upcoming projects. Yes, I can take time off and spend a month in Germany if I want to (which I do), but that means no money is coming in. It can be exhausting.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Surround yourself with a village of people. Other business owners, business groups, special interest organizations... there are so many opportunities to connect online and in person. Learn from them, exchange ideas, and swap trades.
  2. Make sure you take care of yourself. A burned-out business leader is no good. Go on field trips, learn a new skill, write or meditate, and schedule plenty of time for your friends, family, and yourself, whatever fills your heart.
  3. Try to work ON your business and not just IN it. As the original visionary delegate and outsource, you can actively plan for the future, keep the big picture in mind, and find innovative ways to become a leader in your sector.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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