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 Stella Pickard, who gave us insights into how switching career paths lead to a successful business.
Frustrated by the high cost of legal services, which leaves many South Africans without essential legal help, Stella Pickard has found an innovative solution merging technology and her legal expertise. Here’s how she left her job as a lawyer and navigated starting a business in a new field.
Learn about your new passion
When it comes to finding work, following your heart and your interests isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Other considerations like job security, financial opportunities and whether you can afford to study sometimes come first.
For Stella, finding a new path didn’t come in the form of formal study. She studied to become a lawyer, but once she made the switch to software developer, a lot of what she learned was self-taught. She also learned even more about the technology industry as an intern developer at an EdTech Company.
“Moving backwards and starting afresh can be frustrating. It was difficult for me at first, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. The experience not only taught me practical skills, but I was also surrounded by younger people with a different way of thinking. The main lesson I learned is that without change there can be no innovation,” she says.
Surround yourself with experts
When it came to her second career, since Stella didn’t go the route of formal education, her greatest resource was the people around her. After being inspired by iXperience,a tech and developing bootcamp, she started climbing the tech ladder from the very first wrung.
Stella was not only surrounded by people she could learn from as an employee, but she continues to surround herself with people she can learn from in her own business too.
The Quickwill team grew organically, and Stella makes sure that her co-founders are people who can offer her expertise and support she can rely on.
Remember that no job is perfect
Starting your own business could seem like an easy solution to your workplace frustrations, but in reality, every work environment has its set of frustrations.
Although software development is Stella’s passion, her time as a lawyer taught her some valuable lessons she carries with her into her business.
“There are many differences between working in law and technology, but there are lessons I carry with me through my career. I’ve learned to focus and prioritise, to manage my time and importantly, that there will be things I don’t want to do but have to do because they’re part of the job,” she says.