Meet Lance Minnis and Regan Wann- many of you might already know this creative, entrepreneurial couple from LIBA. You might also know Lance as a local musician, or possibly, you’ve seen him working in period-correct clothing at local landmark Locust Grove. Maybe you’ve been a part of one of Regan’s classes at Hoggstowne.
I came to know Lance when Commonwealth Financial Advisors, LLC, his long-established family business, went through a rebranding process. In the early phase, Lance reached out to me to update his headshots. He came in, we got amazing shots, and in the process of changing outfits, Lance left a box of cufflinks in my studio (some really beautiful ones, too!). That box of cufflinks would necessitate Lance making a return trip to the studio to pick them up – when he arrived, his wife Regan was with him. Naturally, I had heard amazing things about her during Lance’s session, so I was happy to meet her in person and even happier to get an email from Regan, who was taking a position with the family business and wanted to schedule her own headshot session.
Both of these folks are amazing and a joy to be around. I am thrilled to have them as the first business profile here on the site!
Tell us about your business.
Well, Commonwealth Financial Advisors, LLC is wholly locally owned and operated Registered Investment Advisor. We do fee-based financial planning, goal coaching, and investment management. We focus on building futures and offering elite services to every person, no matter where they are starting from a financial perspective. Building relationships and community are primary for us in the work we do.
Lance, what inspired you to go into business?
I really wasn’t. When I started, it was the answer to being at a career impasse, and I didn’t really understand that I was choosing to be an entrepreneur. Once I discovered that I was a business owner, and the power that comes from self-direction, it has inspired me to use our existing business as a platform to begin creating the environment I want to live and work in.
Regan, what made you want to join the business?
This is a family business started 20 years ago by my father-in-law, Lance has been working with him for 17 years, and I joined the company as the third partner this January. We’re working on a succession plan right now and that can be a potentially rough time for organizations, we opted to look at it as an opportunity to expand our mission and, hopefully, grow the company in several new and exciting directions. That meant the need for another partner, someone who worked ON the business but not IN the business so that’s when I came on, to focus on promoting the business and laying the groundwork for growth. I’m not an investment adviser so my work allows my partners to do more of what they do best: investment advising and development of new opportunities for the people we serve.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a business owners/operators and what do you do to work past it?
Regan: Truth? People often just shut down when you say your company is an investment advisory in spite of the reality that most people don’t really know what an investment advisor does. The important thing for all of us is finding a friendly way to encourage people to hear what we actually offer and determine from there if we can help support their future goals. My role is to bridge this gap, helping people who want to plan for the future to feel confident talking to an investment advisor about it. It’s about personality and telling the real stories of who we are and what we do, so being out in the community and very active, letting people know us as people first, is our best approach to that challenge. It’s also the most fun, so it’s definitely something we enjoy working on.
Lance: Our industry has been seriously challenged by the regulatory environment of the past 20 years. All of the rules meant to relax regulations for big investment banks while protecting consumers have led to mass confusion among the public about what the different types of broker and advisor really do. While this is a challenge, it allows us, in particular, to excel as we have a very holistic approach to what we do, based on long term relationship and community building, not short term sales, and many of us in the firm have an education background, which lets us really educate people on what we can really do for people. Once we do that, they are usually pretty amazed and grateful.
What is most satisfying about running your own business?
Regan: Setting your own focus, realizing you can offer a service tailored to the people you actually serve, and determining your own direction. Or, you know, taking the random Tuesday off because you can.
Lance: It’s also the most frustrating. Being fully in control of what I do and when and how I do it. Sometimes it would be nice to just be told what to do.
If you were starting over again, with the knowledge you have now, what would you do differently?
Regan: Well, I’m new, so thus far I don’t know if I have an answer to this question. I do know that I’m always working on confidence issues, I think a lot of us are, so anything I could have done to bolster my confidence ahead of time couldn’t have hurt.
Lance: I would start right off the bat trying to use what we do and how we do it to bring people together, and support and empower local community and small enterprise. Took me about a decade to figure out what I believed in.
How do you unwind?
Regan: I’m a big fan of quiet pursuits. I like to walk my dogs (and rub their bellies, which is not optional, according to said dogs), knit, visit with friends, hike, swim, I read and write a lot, and I love doing yoga. Oh, I also work with a full-immersion wizarding village (think: Harry Potter) as an instructor, support planner, and I run their newspaper.
Lance: Playing music is my saving grace. I’m learning several instruments and love to sing.
If there is anything else you would like to add, please feel free.
Regan: I know I sing your praises a lot but, see above when it comes to confidence, I was dreading the reality that I had to have a good set of headshots for marketing our business. Not only did you bring out the best in me, making me look truly fabulous, you made it fun. Life goals: I’d love to have people leave an experience with our businesses feeling as good about it as I did when I came in to do headshots with you.