Making the move from the world of working in law firms as an employee to an entrepreneurial life as a legal consulting firm is one that Aleshia van der Ploeg knows only too well when. Today her company, VDP Legal Consulting, provides her with the opportunity to live her working life on her own terms whilst fulfilling her passion for providing expert legal advice to those SMEs and startups who need it.
LoA had the pleasure of finding out so much more about this legal specialist and her vision for the future growth of her company.
What does your company do?
VDP Legal is a legal consulting firm that provides personal, efficient and value-added legal services to its clients. We provide corporate and commercial legal services including the review and/or drafting of commercial contracts and legal agreements. We also provide HR Legal services including the review and/or drafting of employment contracts; policies and procedures and disciplinary codes. Since we do not operate as a law firm, we are able to provide our client with a cost-effective legal solution.
"VDP Legal is a legal consulting firm that provides personal, efficient and value-added legal services to its clients."
What inspired you to start your company?
After a tough month of dealing with the awful politics and back-stabbing that comes with working half-day for a big corporate, I had enough. I had to decide between being a stay-at home mom or going back to a full-time job. While sitting in the bump-and-grind of Sandton traffic one day, the idea came to me - why not consult and work from home instead? That way I could be flexible enough to spend time at home with my kids, whilst doing something to keep me intellectually stimulated and earn a living - I would be able to have the best of both worlds.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
My service is personal - I am your contact person, I handle your matter. Your matter will not get lost in a plethora of files and be passed from one department to another. My service is efficient - I strive for a 24 hour turn-around time. My service is cost effective - you will not get a better rate anywhere else!
Tell us a little about your team
ITS JUST ME! I do it all - in this industry, personal service is key!
"Since we do not operate as a law firm, we are able to provide our client with a cost-effective legal solution."
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My mom and dad both have their own businesses. I learnt from an early age that when times were good, it was good, when times were bad, it was tight - but I never wanted for anything. However, I was quite happy to be an employee and earn a set salary. I never wanted to 'be my own boss' or own my company - in fact I was dead set against it. After 10 years of being in legal practice, it was time to move to greener pastures - my husband, friends and family encouraged me to open my own 'firm' - I decided to take the easy way out and consult instead! It was the best decision ever. My journey has not been easy - I walked away without any clients and literally had to start from scratch. I had to go from the comfortable position of 'workhorse' to being the 'rainmaker'. I did not think I would ever be a 'rainmaker' but you know what - I LOVE it! It’s been the best part of the journey so far - I absolutely love networking and meeting new potential clients. Word of mouth referrals are priceless and result in exponential growth, so I have be at the top of my game when it comes to service. As part of 'giving back' for all the blessings in my life, I offer pro-bono legal advice to members of "Get Up, Woman" - this is a facebook group providing support to women going through a difficult time in their life - the majority of the problems posted on the page relate to divorce, custody and maintenance - due to my strong background in family law, I am able to assist these women with relevant legal advice and guide them in the correct direction.
"I would also love to expand and offer my pro-bono services to start-up SMEs and fellow entrepreneurs as this is my target audience - I am hoping to partner up with Lionesses of Africa in this regard!"
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would love for my client base to expand to such an extent that I can offer fellow moms flexible work-from-home employment. I would also love to expand and offer my pro-bono services to start-up SMEs and fellow entrepreneurs as this is my target audience - I am hoping to partner up with Lionesses of Africa in this regard!
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Wow! What a difference it makes running your own company and working for yourself! I am so much more passionate, excited and driven. It is so much more fun and rewarding to be your own boss and come and go as you please! I wake up each morning deeply grateful and humble that I can do what I want to do and that I am able to live this life. I feel so blessed.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Don't be scared - just do it! You will be so surprised how you can overcome your own fears and do the things you thought you cannot do! Having an awesome supporter (such as my husband) is a must! Do what you love and love what you do. Strong women are not born - we are forged through life's challenges.
Contact or follow VDP Legal
Why LoA loves it….
At Lionesses of Africa, we meet so many women entrepreneurs who have reinvented themselves and their lives by making the move from the corporate world as employees, to the exciting world of entrepreneurship. Aleshia van der Ploeg is one such entrepreneur, making the move from the corporate world of the traditional law firm, to becoming an inspirational specialist in the world of legal advice who took the entrepreneurial plunge and is now living the life she loves. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa