written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Eric Verdi is a life-long resident of Frederick. Aside from the time he spent attending Salisbury University where he was awarded a degree in Finance in 1998, he’s also a 2002 graduate of Hood College where he achieved his MBA in Finance.
He’s the Associate Broker and Co-Owner of Maryland Real Estate Group, the author of The Psychological Approach to Sell Real Estate, the host of the highly-successful Frederick Advice Givers podcast and the Creator and Editor-in-Chief of the monthly Frederick Advice Givers magazine.
He also delivers the daily (M-F) thought-provoking Morning Musings and he’s the entertaining storyteller behind the monthly Eric Verdi Letter newsletter with Stories From The Street. And, this is only a small peek into the creative and industrious world of Eric Verdi.
So, what drives him? Where does the inspiration come from? Eric says it all started down on the farm.
Southern Frederick Farm Sprouts A Budding Entrepreneur
Eric grew up on a horse farm in Southern Frederick County. “My grandfather, who was a dentist in Bethesda and later in Frederick, moved his family to the farm in 1957. It was originally 150 acres. My father basically ran the farm and still runs it today.”
It wasn’t just any horse farm and it wasn’t on a small scale either. “It was a thoroughbred horse farm,” Eric shares. “When I was growing up, there were times when we’d have eighty to a hundred horses here.”
And, it’s on this farm where Eric’s parents set strong examples that took root and remain with him to this day. He credits his father for giving him a strong work ethic and the inclination to solve problems.
He shares, “My father was one of the best foalers and breeders around. I got to learn hard work from my Dad, seeing him work seven days a week. You can’t take off when you have animals.
“Their stalls need to be cleaned. They need to be fed a couple times a day. There’s always something going on that you’ve got to do.” Eric proudly notes that his Dad has “one of the most amazing work ethics I’ve ever seen.”
And, there’s the need to solve problems on the farm. “My Dad’s a problem solver. If something breaks, he doesn’t call somebody. He just takes care of it. He figures out how it can be done.”
Eric continues, “His hard work and determination definitely helped mold me to who I am. Hopefully, I’m half the man that he is because he’s quite impressive.”
As for his mother, he gives her credit for inspiring him to be a helping, giving member of the community. “She was always there for me, always volunteering when I was young and in school.”
He adds, “She would always be the team Mom when I was playing sports growing up — golf, basketball, baseball, football. She was a do-it-all.” Eric recalls making the move from Urbana Elementary to West Frederick Middle School when a new basketball league was formed.
“My Mom took it upon herself to open a concession stand with her own money. She bought all of the lollipops, candy bars, drinks, snacks, hot dogs — my Mom did it all! “She didn’t take a dime from it. She just did it to help others out. That’s always been my Mom — always putting other people before herself.”
A Finance Degree, An Accounting Gig And Catching The Real Estate Bug
Immediately after graduating from Salisbury in the winter of 1998, Eric started employment at NVR, the manufacturing arm of Ryan Homes and NV Homes. He was the plant accountant.
“I worked there a couple of years, doing the accounting thing. It was okay but I didn’t really like sitting behind a desk all day.” Using a head-hunting service, he moved on to an accounting position for the owner of the old Frederick Towne Mall “before it became dilapidated.”
During that time, Eric bought his first house in Downtown Frederick. He then added a beach house in Ocean City. He soon realized that he enjoyed the real estate process that was involved. He had been bitten by the Real Estate bug!
He thought, “I might like to do something like this. I’m not getting any fulfillment from sitting behind a desk all day crunching numbers and trying to make money for somebody else.” And, he just happened to know someone in Real Estate — Marla Johnson.
He spoke with Marla about his newly-discovered interest and she told him what he needed to do to. “You go and take the test and you go and get licensed.” Three months later, she was teaching Eric the ins-and-outs of the business.
“She begrudgingly took me on,” said Eric. She also informed him that he’d have to get his broker’s license within the next three years because she was planning to retire. “When I retire,” Marla said, “I want you to take over.”
Eric adds, “I was fortunate enough to actually do accounting and Real Estate for about six months to a year.” There was an overlap when his job at the Mall allowed him to also do real estate “which was HUGE because, as most of you know, a lot of people who get into real estate fail.”
That was fourteen years ago. “Marla is still a broker, still my partner and still doing Real Estate. I’ve learned many, many great things from Marla. I trust and appreciate her friendship and the advice that she has given me over the years.”
Adding A Few Hats: Storyteller, Magazine Creator, Podcast Host
Then, another path emerged for Eric about four years ago. “I basically decided to revamp my business with my own content.” What does that mean?
Eric explained, “I had sent out a cookie-cutter newsletter for years. It was the baseline of my business and it was fine. But, I actually started writing stories in my newsletters.
“The first month I did it, it took me forty hours! The second month got a little easier…the third month got a little easier…and month after month, I’ve churned out the Eric Verdi Letter.”
The contents include personal stories, an opening monologue — “I present my ideas, my philosophies. I tell family stories. It’s funny, it’s sad. Sometimes we cry and sometimes we laugh but they are authentic and true stories.”
He notes, “That has been the shift in my business — storytelling. I’ve found that once people can relate to your stories, they have a much easier path to doing business with you, referring business to you and resonating with the character that you are and the way that you run your business.”
About three years ago, Eric was contacted by a small niche magazine that was seeking advertising clients. Already producing his own content for his stories, Eric inquired about the possibility of producing his own ad content.
“They did not allow me to do that. So, needless to say, I did not advertise with that magazine.” Instead, he contacted his good buddy and the host of Agent Marketing Syndicate podcast– Ryan Fletcher.
A Little Guidance From A Master Business Architect — Ryan Fletcher
“Ryan is a business architect, a story producer, a content producer on a much higher level.” Eric had an idea to produce a magazine that would share the stories of other entrepreneurs. He told Ryan, “I’ll write the articles for them.”
Ryan’s response? Masterful! “Verdi, that’s way too much work! You’ll spend all of your time writing these articles and they won’t know how to properly use them. What you’re going to do is start a podcast where you’re going to interview local business owners.”
Ryan continued, “Then we’re going to turn that interview into an article that the interviewee can repurpose to help grow their business.” That sage advice led to the birth of Frederick Advice Givers.
“We started the podcast as a way to give back to other business owners and share their stories with the listeners. What I’ve found is that the more personal that somebody gets in the podcast, the deeper impact it has with the listeners — the better connection it has with the listeners.”
The Success Of Frederick Advice Givers Grows The Community
The first podcast was in March of 2015 and “we are now 079 episodes in.” And, it has far exceeded his initial expectations. At the start of this new journey, Eric thought it would be great if there were ten to twenty listeners per interviewee.
“Well,” shares Eric, “our downloads far, far, far, far, far excede that! The impact within the community — the impact with the business owner — has been felt. It has been met.” He credits the listeners for the success of Frederick Advice Givers.
“This movement is something special here. We’re helping other business owners and entrepreneurs in a way that I didn’t think was possible three years ago when Fletcher said “you’re starting a podcast.”
“I didn’t even know what a podcast was, at that point! And, now, we’re having great impact within the community. It’s growing more every episode, every month.”
Remembering The First Frederick Advice Givers Podcast With Ryan Sloper
Eric recalls the very first podcast that he hosted. “When I started this podcast 79 episodes ago, I had my buddy Ryan Sloper on to outline what a podcast was. I was scared to death! I think we put it off two or three times.”
He readily admits he was nervous and shaking in the initial podcast. But, that didn’t stop him. “I didn’t know what I was doing. But, I did the first one. And, much like anything in life, the second one got a little bit easier. That was Annie.
“Haggerty was podcast #003 and that one was slightly easier. Then #004, then #005 and #006. I go back and listen to those and it was horrible content. Not the interviewees — it was me!
“Probably I’m gaining a little stride now, listening to other podcasts and learning how to properly ask questions, how to properly format a podcast, how to follow-up with the interviewees.”
Eric hopes the listeners have enjoyed the podcasts as much as he has enjoyed delivering them.
Much More In Store For 2017
Where does it all go from here? Eric announces, “We’re going to give back to the community in more and bigger ways. I’ll be starting an Impact Club. I do think that giving back is important. I really do.
“I just turned 40 this past year. I’m at a crossroads where I feel like I need to start giving back because it feels good at this time in my life to give back to others and to help those less fortunate. So, that’s our mission and our purpose going forward.
“I have personally been blessed in business knowing you guys because of the stories that we tell. I could not do this without you sharing my stories with your friends..with your coworkers… referring business to my real estate side. For that, I do thank you!”
Details about how the podcast listeners and the interviews “can help impact our community in beautiful ways” will be revealed as it moves forward.
Also, Eric adds, “Going forward with Maryland Real Estate Group, we do have some exciting things happening in 2017. Our agents will be on the same page, as they already are.
“That’s the beautiful thing about the Group. We’re all givers. We all help our clients. We all protect our clients at all cost.”
Entertaining, Inspiring & Informative Content — And It’s All Free!
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* Frederick Advice Givers Podcast http://frederick.localadvicegivers.com
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“We don’t sell anything. It’s basically my thought process for the day. Sometimes, I talk about Real Estate. Sometimes, I talk about life. Sometimes, I talk about Entrepreneurship.”
* The Psychological Approach To Real Estate stevejobsapproach.com
Eric’s book “documents the approach that we use to help sellers achieve maximum profits on the sale of their house.”
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** Would YOU like to be a guest on Frederick Advice Givers or do you know someone who you think would be a great guest? Reach out to Eric TODAY for the opportunity to get the story of your own entrepreneurial journey out into the community. Go to frederickpodcastbooking.com to learn more!
Contents Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast Episode #079: Eric Verdi: The Story of Frederick Advice Givers