All4Women Entrepreneurs is a monthly feature where we put the spotlight on amazing female entrepreneurs starting businesses in South Africa. This month we spoke to Quickwill founder, Stella Pickard, to find out how she did it.
Quickwill founder Stella Pickard left law to start a new career in software development. Now she uses her experience in both fields to make wills accessible and affordable.
- Entrepreneur: Stella Pickard
- Company name: Quickwill
- Industry: Technology and Legal
- Year started: 2019
- Website: quickwill.co.za
Lady Justice may be blind, but her services are far from free. This realisation inspired Stella Pickard to leave her practice as a traditional lawyer and set her on the path to developing Quickwill – an online platform offering South Africans the opportunity to create complete and ratified wills online at affordable rates.
The meeting of two worlds
The connection between software development and law may not be immediately clear, but for Stella, software development was the perfect vehicle to launch her dream of delivering affordable legal services to South Africa.
“I served my articles and practised law for 5 years, but it just was not rewarding. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. Justice isn’t available equally to all South Africans; justice is only available for those who can afford it. I’ve always felt that this is unfair because it means the people who need justice the most rarely get it,” says Stella.
One step back and five steps forward
Serving your articles is the gateway to a legal career, but after 5 years as a practising lawyer, Stella found herself starting over as an intern software developer at an EdTech company.
Stella explains how she started in the tech field. “Software development is something I took an interest in. I read up on it and taught myself a few things. It wasn’t an obvious career move, but I upskilled myself and attended iXperience, a tech camp, and decided that this was what I wanted to do. I started on a new career path as an intern and worked as a software developer at an EdTech company for 3 years before starting Quickwill.”
Working her way up
Despite having worked as a lawyer for 5 years, Stella had to start at the bottom as an intern when she embarked on her new career path.
Although she did have her frustrations with starting over, she learned some invaluable lessons that have made it possible for her to develop Quickwill. “It wasn’t easy and it was often very frustrating. Lawyers are not traditionally up to date with technology and development and I had to break away from that way of thinking,” Stella confesses.
Her experience as a lawyer meant that Stella had a chance to hone other skills that she could apply in the tech space. “I had leadership skills and managerial skills I had developed as a lawyer, but without the skills and practical experience from the technology sector I had no way of exercising them,” she admits.
No easy path to success
After working for 3 years in the tech space, with the support of experienced software developers, Stella gained the skills and know-how to marry her passion for accessible justice with her penchant for software development.
Having launched Quickwill in September last year, Stella says she is already seeing progress and is happy to see that the company is already making a difference in the lives of many South Africans from so many different walks of life.
“Quickwill has been positively received; surprisingly it doesn’t serve a specific demographic,” says Stella, explaining that everyone needs a will, even if they can’t afford to get one the traditional way.