Los Angeles based Australian expat Georgii Speakman is punching above her weight in the US. The Adelaide born actress turned entrepreneur has launched a record label and management company, OUT.LI.ER, part of The Orchard (Sony Music Company). Since moving to LA six years ago, she has worked with some of the top brands and tech platforms in the world such as; CAA, Roc Nation (Jay Z’s company), Disney, NBC, Universal, and Amex. More recently, she formed her own piano / beats brand, A N T I T H E S I S (Vol. 1, Pt 1 + Pt 2); releasing two albums in under three months under her own label.
Tell us about your business:
OUT.LI.ER is a talent management, record label (The Orchard / Sony Music) and creative services company; home to artists, creatives and executives across entertainment, disruptive media and technology. I founded the company end of 2018, and we were up and running at the beginning of 2019.
How quickly has it grown?
I engage external contractors and scale through strategic partnerships; to mitigate overhead costs and to ideally increase agility, and efficiency. But to date, and given we’re still under 12 months, I’ve been handling most of just about everything!
Why did you launch your talent management business?
I launched OUT.LI.ER with the understanding that personal brand has to be the frontline for all you do (as talent). I was working monstrous hours in other people’s startups, and recognized I wasn’t building anything of my own, or owning anything. Establishing OUT.LI.ER was all about increasing efficiency by way of service offering; being agile; creative and having freedom and flexibility. We are telling stories and creating every single day, and that’s so exciting and rewarding for me, and my clients. We’re operating in an old school area (of talent) in new wave advertising; from influencer marketing; brand deals, partnerships and ambassador roles; 360 campaigns involving social media amplification and multiple integrative creative services; producing art – from music, editorial, content and more, and having a great time doing it.
What are you most proud of?
The USA is tough. We (as Australian’s) make it look easy. But to be in business – especially your own start up in the creative, entertainment and music industries in LA can be brutal. And so I’m really proud of how far we’ve come in 10 months; who we’ve worked with; the projects we’ve worked on; and the fact I’ve released my own piano album (which is doing really well) under my own label. I’m proud of my own perseverance, tenacity and determination.
You come from SA, what brought you to LA?
We used to have video footage of me saying to camera at five years of age (or even younger); “Mommy, Daddy, I’m going to live in America; I’m going to be famous and I’m never going to die” (with melted chocolate easter egg all over my face; barefoot in the garden wearing a ‘I Love New York’ t-shirt with my mini gut hanging out). And so as far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a calling to the States (not so sure about the fame or never dying part!). I wish to stay here as long as I continue to find joy, creativity and motivation in all that I’m doing.
What other jobs did you do before you launched your business?
I was working as the Global Vice President of Marketing + Brand Strategy for blackpills; a new to market startup; a content studio in App only for the millennial generation; founded by Xavier Niel (one of Europe’s most successful entrepreneurs). Before blackpills, I played an instrumental role in establishing and launching “Vol. 4” for Jay Z’s Roc Nation as the Senior Director of Strategic Business Development. We married the internal properties of Roc Nation and its portfolio companies, and their talent with the outside world (brands, Apps, other). Prior, I was the LA Business Director for brand consultancy, the projects* – a global influence agency that specialised in experiential events, and brand, influencer strategy. Formerly, I launched the entertainment division for the USA’s largest and first to market influencer marketing network here in LA, which was home to over 300K + influencers, across all leading social channels. We did campaigns and deals with various celebrities, athletes, musicians, reality TV stars, YouTubers, Bloggers, etc. And my first gig in LA was working for yet another startup; Jeff Berg and Jeff Franklin’s (ex ICM Partners) new talent agency, Resolution before it dissolved – due to its Chinese startup financing falling through.
What are your tips for other people wanting to launch a business in the States?
You must understand immigration inside out and back to front. There are scam immigration attorneys that don’t at all care about you, and will overcharge you. You must do your research and understand which visa is right for you.
Having money in the bank is everything. There are so many unsuspecting and hidden costs in setting up your life here. All of the systems in America are completely different from Australia – and I mean everything. The whole country is run off having a ‘credit score’, but you arrive into the country not having one; and so there are multiple institutions that will rip foreigners off because they know they can, and many hurdles you have to overcome in order to establish yourself properly.
You must have relationships in the USA. People in the industry need to know that you’re staying (can go the distance); that you’re trustworthy in your work ethic; that you’re connected. This means you have to invest huge amounts of time building those relationships, and ideally quality ones. It takes time to work out who is real, and what’s not.
You obviously have to be clear on your mission. You can’t chop and change your life or direction, simply because of visa and immigration boundaries. If you’re going to start a business in LA; you must understand the landscape and its culture. It’s extremely different from Australia, and has its own rules, nuances, communication styles and more.
You must have what it takes; possess the drive, determination and will. You’ll no doubt experience multiple setbacks. You’ll experience multiple cultural differences. You’ll experience shitty things you never dreamed of having to face. America is a beast. And whilst the sun shines and the palm trees stand tall in the likes of LA; I can assure you that it can be a pretty dog eat dog town. You must come deeply prepared (mentally, emotionally, financially, etc), and have that fire in your belly to really want to make it work; otherwise I don’t recommend it.
Read more about Georgii Speakman below.