Finding Your Voice with Ronsley Vaz

Ronsley Vaz is a man of many talents. His work has been diverse – from being a software engineer to financial advisor to a chef. Now he primarily helps entrepreneurs by guiding them to use their voice — something we care a lot about around here.

As you’ll hear in this interview, his journey with finding and embracing his voice goes back to his childhood, which is true for many of us as we search for and find our voices. With his work today he helps business owners find what matters, speak their inner truths, and solve meaningful problems in the world.


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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Ronsley’s beliefs around his work
  • What using your voice means to Ronsley
  • Why he helps business owners to use their voice
  • Why is audio and voice expression important
  • Where do you start to find your voice
  • Importance of authenticity
  • Mothers as original entrepreneurs
  • Ronsley’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur
  • How Ronsley understands people’s perception of him
  • Ronsley’s transitions from one career step to the next
  • Thoughts on monetizing your passion
  • Integrating and embracing different parts of your life
  • Understanding and managing social media content outreach 
  • Own your identity and be authentic

Resources Mentioned:

Ronsley’s website

Ronsley’s Clubhouse

Ronsley’s Instagram

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan

Ronsley, thank you so much for joining me. I’m just thrilled to have you here on the Meaning Movement podcast. Welcome to the show. Thanks, Dan.

Ronsley

Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Dan

The question I always like to begin with, just as a starting point, is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do in the world?

Ronsley

It’s fascinating because I know this question was coming because the team got me to listen to a couple of your episodes.

Dan

Yeah.

Ronsley

And it’s interesting. Entrepreneurs get asked this question a lot, and a lot of us don’t have the best answer. A lot of us try to not necessarily answer straight to the point. I think for the longest time, I tell people I was a drug dealer and just to avoid conversation because it was so difficult to explain. But now it’s becoming easier. I realized that my deepest wound was being heard and using my voice. And I suppose not necessarily knowing I grew up in India. Every time I asked a question, it was thought as I was questioning authority. So it started there and using my voice and understanding that it comes with criticism. It’s probably something that I’m getting used to. It comes with learning, it comes with refining your argument. And so I started to tell people that I really help people use their voice to say the things that matter to them, to speak their inner truth. And I like to do them with business owners because they have usually been through stuff to make this business work. And by the way, I believe entrepreneurs are the people that solve meaningful problems. And I also believe that mothers are the original entrepreneurs.

Ronsley

So I have this weird definition of entrepreneurship.

Dan

Right.

Ronsley

And I believe that we all have this voice. And I think if people around us looking at us can see us using it, it is the work that I’d like to leave, at least not sure whether I’ve even begun that yet. So that’s me.

Dan

I love it. I love it. What a fantastic answer. And for many, many reasons. One is you’re speaking my language in so many ways, and I have a lot of follow ups here, but it’s just such an unconventional. You just took us straight into the deep end. Right. You’re not just like I ran an agency or I have a podcast or those kinds of things, but you’re like, this is the why behind what I do, which just resonates really deeply with me. So thank you for that. How do you define the word, like when you use the word voice? What do you mean when you say that?

Ronsley

Yeah, I think we all have a voice that is constantly running in the background. And if we’re not paying attention to where that voice comes from, sometimes that voice comes from experiences, sometimes the voice comes from intellect, sometimes that voice comes from our parents experience, sometimes even further than that. And we’ve got to figure out where that voice comes from. And a lot of the times that voice tells us that our voice doesn’t matter in certain situations. And especially today, where the most upsetting thing about 2020 and 2021 was not necessarily covid, but was the idea that we couldn’t find the truth anyway. We didn’t know what to believe. We still don’t know what to believe. We don’t know who what news outlets telling the truth and the right story. And so more than ever, I think it’s important for us to speak our truth. And that’s what I mean by using our voice. It’s easy to just say stuff. It’s easy to jump in and speak up. But it’s not necessarily the best practice without listening first. So a lot of people use their voice and they just think about using their voice. And it’s going to say this thing, oh, yeah, let me just Band aid this thing and say whatever I have to.

Ronsley

But it’s really important to listen first, understand what’s going on, understand the context, understand the environment, understand the landscape, and then make comments, make your truth be heard, not necessarily keep it inside. That’s what I mean by that.

Dan

Yeah, that’s great. And you mentioned that you really enjoy, particularly enjoy the process of helping people find their voice and use their voice. With business owners, what does that look like? How does that manifest itself?

Ronsley

Yeah. Typically the business owners that I work with the founder business owners who started company for a reason. This is great quote, and I keep going back to it because he’s now a friend. But when I read it, I thought it was just a baller quote. The quote goes like this. “Our greatest gifts lies next to our deepest wounds”, and it resonated with me full on. I could just kind of think and put myself in that position. And I think a lot of us are in that position where we start a business because we’re trying to scratch an itch that we have. So in those instances, it’s so much easier for those business owners, potential clients, to hear their voice way before they even become clients. And I think the big disconnect is because podcasting is so new in the sense, comparatively to the other mediums that are around. Business owners have not grasped the way of using engagement, hadn’t grasped the way of using the audio medium to their benefit. There are these different types of audiences that every business owner needs to expose themselves to get leads and clients. And, you know, there’s no better form, there’s no engaging form of content than audio, because people are consuming this while doing other things.

Ronsley

So it’s not necessarily even finding their voice as much as it is using their voice, because if they just use their voice, then every single conversion in any business happens in a conversation, anything, whether it’s getting a new partner on board, a new team member, a new client, everything. So if we just use what we have been blessed to learn from since we were kids because our parents spoke to us even when we were in their wombs in our mother’s womb. It is like voice and conversation and story is just native to us. So it’s just about using what is native to us in a manner that is suitable for the landscape that the business owners are playing in. And it’s really their genius, really. It’s not rocket science. It’s really giving them a comfortable place to feel that they can express themselves like themselves.

Dan

Yeah, I love that. So many good takeaways there, even for all of us who are struggling or thinking about, like, what is our voice? What do we have to say? And I’m curious just for you to maybe even speak even more directly around that to listeners who might be in a place where I want to find my voice, I want to have more confidence in what I have to say. But maybe those negative voices, even like the ones that you spoke about early on from your childhood, try to silence us. They can be too loud. How should a person start? What are some steps that a person can take to having more confidence, finding their voice and using their voice more?

Ronsley

Yeah, that’s a great question. In fact, it’s a question that I’ve not been asked, but I have presented on a few times, primarily because everyone wants to be authentic and doesn’t know where to start. And it’s really interesting because authenticity comes from just doing right. And so the way I started and think about it is I would get you listening to ask yourself the question why you do what you do? And if you start that answer by saying, I do what I do because they need to know about this. I need to help them fix this. It becomes about them. But I wanted to bring it back to you. Why do you do what you do? So in my example, obviously, I started with telling you at the start of this conversation about wounds that I have because it was really weird than growing up, because I would genuinely be curious. And it makes sense now, 34 years later, where I’m the one that has done 1400 interviews, I’ve asked so many questions, and it makes sense that I’m the guy that asked the questions. But when I was growing up, it was like this person is questioning authority.

Ronsley

What do you mean by why do you need to have a question when I’m explaining what I’m explaining? And it’s like, well, you have a question. I have a question. So I struggled with that a lot. And I never fit in. I was the only sports person in the debate allocation and those kind of teams, and I was the only geek, I suppose, in the band and the basketball and the table tennis and the soccer teams, and I played every sport, which is crazy. So I think I didn’t know where I fit in, and as a result, I didn’t know where my voice belonged. By the way, this is not some –  this sounds great right now. This is years of work and people pointing stuff out to me that go, oh, that makes sense. So this is not like – yeah umm I feel like for everyone, we get into business for a reason. We do what we do and we keep doing what we do for a reason. Something has happened to us. What is our truth? And if we start with that truth and we link that truth to our business, that is the bedrock for authentic conversations because we are not doing things. That what other people are doing and trying to make other people vulnerable without being vulnerable ourselves.

Ronsley

And I think that’s where it starts. The authenticity starts with us showing a little bit of ourselves so that others can see that example and do the same.

Dan

Yeah, I love that. Yeah. I hear in that just a call to just be honest with ourselves, to even just take maybe even baby steps towards sharing more of who we are, sharing more of our true self truth with the world. And I think that’s a great challenge for people. You mentioned early on. I just wanted to circle back to this as well. I want to get more into your story and how you got here into what you’re doing now. But before we go, there just about mothers as the original entrepreneurs. And I just thought that comment just felt like we just have to circle back around to it. Tell me more about what you mean by that.

Ronsley

Yeah. I believe that there are lots of hindsight is always 2020. I mean, I can look, based on I can stand here on this platform that my ancestors have built through understanding and learning and point stuff out. But I’m just observing that there are lots of vocations that are not necessarily pinpointed as being valuable. And when you think about the most valuable of them, it’s mothers. And I believe mothers to be entrepreneurs because they have to be whatever they have to be to put this piece of value into the planet. And whether it is a hug giver, whether it is a driver, whether it is a chef, whether it doesn’t matter what role it is, they become what they need to become to allow this human to be valuable in the planet. There’s no different from a business owner trying to make their business valuable to other people. So there is no difference. And I believe, genuinely believe that if we can take some examples from some of the mothers out there, I don’t think there would be better fighters on the planet. And I get goosebumps every time I talk about this, because it is truth.

Dan

Right.

Ronsley

Every time I say it, I can feel it. Every time I say it, I can feel other people feel it. And so I’ve been saying it a lot, and I think it rings true.

Dan

Yeah, absolutely resonates with me. And also I think it speaks volumes about the mothers in your life. Right. That’s coming from a part of your story as well, that you’ve had some strong women who have overcome big things that you’ve had the chance, the opportunity to witness, which is just really beautiful. Yeah, a beautiful thing. I think also just that idea that entrepreneur is maybe a piece, a core piece of the identity of an entrepreneur is becoming what you need to become also really speaks to me in my experience that you’re just always having to change as soon as you overcome one milestone. It’s like, okay, who do I need to become next to do what needs to be done in order to take the project, the idea, the concept of business forward. So it makes a ton of sense. It’s a really fantastic parallel. Have you always thought of yourself as an entrepreneur? When did that identity emerge in your life?

Ronsley

No, I didn’t think of myself as entrepreneur. I didn’t think that I was a business. Actually, my dad, he’s the entrepreneur in the family. And when I was growing up, I think everyone in the family thought that I was just going to take over the family business, and that was not the case. At 16, I decided that I wanted to move out and find my own life, which was different to everyone else out there, around me, at least. So I pursued academia. I have two master’s degrees and I have one in software engineering. I’ve got a thesis in software quality and I got an MBA in psychology and leadership. And it’s funny because all that did not prepare me for my first business. It prepared me so I always thought I was a nine to fiver until this company I was working for paid for my MBA and I went to management principles one-o-one. I remember going for that three hour lecture and finishing the lecture and looking across the bridge and kind of looking at the whole world differently because I saw opportunities everywhere. It was like a switch got flipped somewhere and I couldn’t help myself.

Ronsley

My first business was a restaurant because everyone told me to monetize my passion. And I’ve cooked for some of the most famous people on the planet, not even joking. And people have cried eating my food. People have reconnected with past souls. It’s been absolutely mental. So I mean, it was just kind of obvious. I kind of go, okay, start a restaurant. But what I learned starting a restaurant, obviously, was that monetizing your passion is not as simple because the business models come into play. And if you don’t understand business, you can be the best chef on the planet. You can be the best lawyer, you can be the best coach, you can be the best mechanic. If no one knows about you. No one knows how you operate and you can’t deliver and you don’t have accounting and you don’t have team practices and you don’t have culture and you don’t have all these other things. The business doesn’t succeed. So I think that even though I went to business school, I was prepared to work under someone. I wasn’t prepared necessarily to work for myself, even though I took three entrepreneurship subjects in my MBA.

Ronsley

So I think that’s a long sort of winded answer to say that I didn’t think of myself as an entrepreneur. And then there was this switch that got flicked, and then now all my friends cannot even believe that I was not an entrepreneur to start with.

Dan

What do you account for that change in how people perceive you?

Ronsley

It’s happened my whole life Dan, because people have not known how to place me. I’ve had seven careers like software engineer, financial advisor, and different chef restaurant. You look at the separation of the different types of jobs that I had even before I started my entrepreneurial career. I don’t think people knew how to place me then. They could not wrap their head around this computer engineer who would go rock climbing. It didn’t make sense to them. It didn’t make sense in general. And I don’t know. It’s funny you say that, because I never thought of that. And it’s the first time thinking about that out loud.

Dan

Yeah, that’s super interesting. Tell me about those careers and then the choice to transition. And I don’t know if there’s maybe it’s too specific that you had reasons for moving beyond every single one. Or maybe not. I’m just curious. At what point did you say this is time for me to move on? I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m going to go back to school or do whatever it takes to get into the next one. How do you tell the story of those transitions?

Ronsley

That’s a – by the way Dan – you’re asking some bolder questions. Because I have not thought of these things before. So I’m literally sifting through memories right now, which is great because it makes for a great floor for conversation, right? Yeah. So my transitions, when I think about them, I feel like my whole life I’ve been conjured for something just this vessel and opportunities have always come my way. And like some crazy opportunities, Dan like, absolutely mental when I’m thinking about them. Now I think about being a best man for seven weddings, climbing in four continents, rock climbing in four continents, being the podcast expert for VaynerMedia, my TEDx Talk, being made a Ted talk. When I think about those kind of things, I’m like, wait, did that happen to me? And I can’t wrap my head around that. So I feel that I’ve been blessed. And I feel that when an opportunity comes my way, I usually grab it with two hands. And I’m just thinking about that now. I haven’t really gone back to think about why I’ve made those transitions, but they have come from literally nowhere and literally sideways, like software quality manager, taking two companies to ISO 9001. And someone comes along and says, hey, do you want to be a financial advisor?

Ronsley

I’d like you to take over my Brisbane office. I’m like, I don’t know what a financial advisor does. Literally what my words to this man. And he’s like, don’t worry, you’ve got what it takes. I will pay for your diploma and financial services. I have an office in Brisbane. And I’m like, okay. And everyone around me thought I was mental, but it didn’t seem mental to me at all, actually. So I don’t know, Dan. I think somehow I’ve been blessed and I don’t know, I feel like some great opportunities come my way, and I just seem to take them.

Dan

I think that’s a fantastic response. And I think hopefully one of the many things that listeners can take from that is just how you just don’t know what’s going to come your way. You can’t plan out your career. You can have hopes where you want to go in the next few years, but it’s impossible and maybe even foolish to try to plan out your whole life of where you want to go, where you want to be. Because if you do, you close the door to opportunity. And it sounds like one thing that you’ve done well and have enjoyed doing is keeping the door open to opportunities and taking them, following them as they come your way. So that’s what I hear in that.

Ronsley

Yeah, 100%. To the extent that I get given food, like, this is a weird thing to say, but in random places, people come and kind of like, present me with food. It’s absolutely weird. It’s absolutely weird, Dan. Like, in a market, we were traveling in New Zealand. We were looking at some gardens, and this lady came out. She’s like, I’ve got four sandwiches left. Would you like them? We stopped at the lights one day, and this guy says, hey, I’ve got these three takeaway containers of food. Would you like them? And my wife constantly looks at me and goes, I don’t know how these things happen to you, but they happen to you. And I’m taking you along. So I get free stuff.

Dan

I love it. I want to hang out with you and get free stuff. That sounds great. You must have an energy that just speaks to people that have something to give, which is just really in some ways ties in with what you do now, which is helping people find that thing that they have to give. If maybe it’s a metaphor in some ways of your work in the world, I don’t know, but I like it. I like it a lot. Nice.

Ronsley

I like that. Thank you for that connection.

Dan

Yeah. You mentioned just a comment about monetizing your passion with the restaurant. And I know that that could be a controversial idea. I’m just curious about your relationship with that concept is today.

Ronsley

Yeah. It’s still very much the same because I feel that monetizing your passion gives you the energy for sure to start. But if you don’t have the consistency to finish, it will not go anywhere. Right. There’s only so much willpower that you can exert to anything. And I think because monetizing your passion has become so commonplace in the metaverse or whatever you want to call it in social media spaces, I think people lose and forget about business principles, which is more important. So it’s more important to understand the business principles to then monetize your passion, not the other way around. Definitely monetize your passion. Definitely do what you want to do. Definitely do. And don’t get me wrong, I still Cook again for some of the most famous people on the planet. I have some really cool experiences, but it’s just in a different way right now. Like, for example, a couple of months ago, Zac Efron was filming here in Australia, the second season off down to Earth, and I cooked for him and a couple of my friends as well. Like that kind of opportunity. It’s just it’s different. My passion is still there. I still love cooking.

Ronsley

I Cook for my wife a lot, and it’s just different. And so what I’m trying to get at is you can have your passion, and if you don’t have the business principles around it, it can be very deflating to be in that space.

Dan

Yeah. It can take some of the joy out of the passion if you’re trying to ask too much of it. I know that Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic, she talks about this idea, and for her that she says she would never demand that her writing support her, which maybe it’s easy for me to say that that’s easy for her to say because she hasn’t had tremendous success with her writing. But I do think it’s a really important concept to keep in mind that does your passion have to support you? I think what feels connected to it is the way that you talked about how you work with entrepreneurs, where you help them find their reasons for doing what they do and then connect them to what they’re doing. So starting their business and then adding the passion in or maybe doing both kind of in tandem rather than starting with your passion and then trying to squeeze money out of it is where I take that, which I think is a really healthy approach. So thank you for that.

Ronsley

Yeah. I think even interviewing a whole bunch of entrepreneurs, none of them have everyone just says that they did not plan to get to where they are. They just plan to do the next thing, and they were just being in flow as much as they could. And then time passed and they look back and they’re like, oh, I’m kind of successful. This weird.

Dan

I did something. I did something there. I’m not sure how. I love it. One of the things I’m particularly curious about when I look at your work, in your current work even is this is kind of a selfish personal question, but it’s something I struggle with myself, and I’m wondering if you could help me. Such a funny and desperate way to come out. Sounds much more desperate than I intended it to. But it’s just around integration. Because you have your own podcasts, you’re working with entrepreneurs around finding their voice. You leave some really successful, at least from my vantage point. Clubhouse groups, you’re into crypto and doing some stuff with Bitcoin. And I’m always struggling with bringing together the different parts of myself that I have. This podcast a career. I also run a software company, and I invest in real estate, like these kind of different aspects of my life. I think it’s really a branding issue, I guess is really what this question boils down to. But I’m curious how you tackle that in your own, how you think about the content that you’re putting out there, what you’re posting on social media and all of those kinds of things.

Dan

Or maybe I’m not even asking the right question and feel free to take it a different direction if you feel so

Ronsley

Yeah. No, I understand. I can fully relate then I can empathize for sure. I feel like starting my entrepreneurial career I did not necessarily want my name to be out there, so I kind of hid behind brands. I made brands, and no one even knew that I was the owner of my restaurant, for example, because I used to be washing dishes, because I was learning to be a chef, by the way. So I was getting my chef credentials while I started my restaurant. So I kind of hid behind brands and I made brands. And now if I remove my wounds, I suppose, and my trauma out of the situation and look at it from a non emotional standpoint, I can see that the most searched term in any of my businesses has been my name. Also, I’ve been lucky to have this unique name that once someone remembers it, it’s like super hard to forget it sort of thing. And when you type Ronsley, the stuff that I’ve done comes up. So I’m more embracing Ronsley. I feel like I’ve spent four years figuring out who Ransley is so that I can just be myself, maybe.

Ronsley

And to answer your question about social media, I feel that when it comes to business in particular, being specific about why someone should care about you. So let me answer this in a different way. There are three types of different audiences, right? There’s the audience that doesn’t even know who you are. There’s the audience that know who you are but don’t know whether they like you yet. It’s a no like and trust factor. Right. And the audience that know and like you, but they don’t know whether they trust you yet. So the audience that doesn’t even know you yet, it is really important that the content that goes to them, the why of the problems that they have.

Right.

Ronsley

So if we’re dealing with business owners, we talk about the why, the problems that they’re having and kind of get to where they’re at, not where we think they should be. And that’s the big difference between normally how we put our content and how we kind of preach as opposed to teach. And it’s not our fault we don’t know the difference. And even that one statement can make a big difference to someone’s social media campaign by going, oh, let me stop preaching. And I’ll just change this line to be more of a teaching component, and that will change social media. So creating attention pieces that you will look at it and go, someone who doesn’t know me will get to know me. And then using your podcast as the like content piece because there’s no deeper form of engagement. So taking all the new people who get to know you to your podcast and get them to like you, and then obviously you have some good call to action in your podcast, and I would add some call to engagements in your podcast to even get your current audience to go. This is the content I’d like to engage with.

Ronsley

Let me respond back to you. And then you obviously have a sales appointment funnel of sorts that can convert people into clients if they want to, when they’re ready, when they raise their hand, because that removes all the key sales conversations. That way. We’re not having conversations with people who don’t want to know any don’t want to be there. So I don’t know whether I answered your question, but that’s what I try to do. And then everything else I have like I have on Facebook, for example, I just post whatever I want. I don’t really think about it twice. I just kind of go, hey, I’m just posting it out there and everything else the team really handles. So they use what I put out with my podcast and my other things, and then they make that up.

Dan

Yeah, I think it’s a great response, both tactical, which I will definitely take to heart, and even think about how I’m casting a wider net to get people to know me. Something I’ve been working with my team on is to be posting more and telling more of the story more. But then I think also even just what you said about becoming Ronsley, I think really spoke to me. I feel like in a lot of ways, my core question that I bring to the table, that I’m always connects with what I do is something very similar to yours, that I really believe that everyone has something to say and I want to help them find it. And even just as you were saying, that when you take the trauma out of it and you take the wounded out of it, it sounds in some ways that what you were saying was you got to the point where you are able to just let yourself be you and really kind of own your identity as Ronsley. And I think in that I hear a challenge to do more of that myself, to drink my own medicine, I guess you could say, and let myself be me unapologetically, or at least more unapologetically.

Dan

So thank you for that challenge.

Ronsley

And I have to say it’s not I might admit it sound simple, but it’s something that I continuously struggle with as well.

Dan

Yeah, I love it. Ronsley, this has just been so much fun. I really, truly feel like we could go on for hours. We’ve only just scratched the surface, but we’ll just have to save those conversations for another time for folks that want to follow along with the things that you’re up to. Do you have any invitations that you’d like to offer?

Ronsley

Yeah, I mean, I am regularly actually one of the best social media platforms, I believe now is clubhouse or live audio because you can’t really hide behind live audio. And every week I do a live clubhouse on a Monday. If you are in the past, in North America or Tuesday in the future in Australia, you can find me at Ronsley, probably in any social media platform, but especially on clubhouse. I am extremely passionate about people speaking up for the first time. So if you want to join us, we have a very interesting room where we sit around a campfire and we pass around a talking stick. So if you want to talk with us and talk with me, please join me on clubhouse. That would be fantastic. But Ronsley Vaz, if you Google that, you’ll find everything that you need to find out about me.

Dan

Beautiful. I love it. Well, I definitely need to jump on over to clubhouse. I have not been I’ve listened in a little bit here and there but have not really explored the platform fully. So I will take up your challenge personally and spend some more time on clubhouse and hopefully hopefully join in your room as well. So thank you so much for just the time for the wisdom. I’ve really enjoyed it myself personally, and I know that listeners well as well. So thanks for coming on the show.

Ronsley

Cheers, Dan. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for the great question. I really enjoyed going back into my memories and thinking about that, so I appreciate you.

Dan

Thank you.

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