Hadrian Brassens in Australia: ‘I came 6 months ago, I’ve been living there for 14 years’

In 2008, Hadrian Brassens left for Australia for six months. Fourteen years later, he’s still there, becoming a recognized digital entrepreneur and starting a family. After many years in Australia, is he planning to return to France one day? What advise young people like him to go to Australia?

On March 5, 2008, Hadrian Brassens landed at the end of the world, 16,950 km from his home. Here in Sydney it’s not too hot nor too cold, it’s just fine. The young man thinks about the purpose of this trip: to find his internship at the end of his studies. If he chose Australia, it is not by chance. Born in Chicago, then lived four years in New York with his family. Always attracted to travel and international encounters, he completed a university exchange in Finland, and later, an internship in the UK. At the end of his studies, Hadrian chose to deepen his professional experience in an English-speaking country. Canada or Australia, the two countries made him dream a while ago. It’s the network that will push him to Australia because one of his friends is already there and thriving there: “He made me dream about his pictures, I told myself I would have fun with him right away. I joined him a bit when I think about it, with 300 euros in my pocket and a backpack and a suitcase.”

Hadrian Brassens just arrived in Sydney in 2008

Career opportunities in Australia and one day, Hadrian started…

Instead of an internship at the end of the study, Hadrian directly finds a CDI in digital marketing, with a so-called “sponsorship” visa. [NDLR le visa est sponsorisé par l’employeur et permet d’avoir les pleins droits de travail et de vie dans le pays]. Then comes the economic crisis in Europe, this is not the time to go back to France. If some of his friends are struggling to find their first job, the young man experiences just the opposite: “The difference between Australia and France is that here we are giving everyone a chance. It was a well paid job for an entry-level job, and having a blast, I was in the air of discovering Australia so I decided to stay a little longer. I always told myself that the time would come when I had to go back. And that moment She never came…”.

Hadrian worked for two years at a first agency, and then at another where he developed very quickly, becoming a department head. Research specialist, meets fellow SEO specialist. What if they set up their own business? One day, an opportunity arises: “I met a lawyer running his digital campaigns himself, without really knowing what he was doing. I quickly noticed that he had been spending millions of dollars for years in states where he had no offices or clients. As soon as I mentioned this waste he told me, ‘You’ve been hired!’ “And our chest went off …”

In 2011, Hadrian Brassens co-founded Reef Digital Agency with Chris Redshaw. The agency aims to help marketers and entrepreneurs harness the power of digital marketing to achieve their business goals. “We expanded our client portfolio, had a small reputation. Our team was also growing and our work was recognized by Microsoft and others. Then Covid hit us. We lost 50% of our turnover and moved from 25 to 11 employees in no time. We had to transform our business a little bit. Today, we’re going up the slope, signing contracts and I’m hiring.” Hadrian sighs in relief, he’s been waiting for this moment for a while: “The long awaited” He concludes with a smile.

Hadrian Brassens, co-founder of Reef Digital Agency
Chris Redshaw and Hadrian Brassens, founders of Reef Digital Agency

Living in France or Australia, duel of heart and mind

With an almost nostalgic look, Hadrian Brassens admits “I miss France so badly. Like any expatriate, there are aspects of my country that are hard to leave, family of course, friends, gastronomy, and country charm! I say this especially now because it’s been three years since I’ve been back and my family has yet to meet my son.”

If a young father has not felt this inferiority so much before, Covid and the birth of his son a year and a half ago make him realize that he may be going through a turning point in his life. On the question of returning to France permanently, Hadrian Brassens hesitates a lot. He still has unanswered questions: How does his work work with this timezone difference? How is the agency world organized in France? How do you make your non-French speaking teams work? “I will have to anchor my business here to think of doing it elsewhere. I am very involved with my clients” But above all, how do you organize yourself when you are married to someone who comes, she and her family, from the other side of the world? On the one hand, as on the other, the entourage will be far away … “Conclusion, we are thinking about it seriously, but not immediately. »

Australia, a ’emerging friend’ and benevolent country

After studying the Australian professional world for several years, Hadrian Brassens felt that Australia was very friendly to starting a business: “There is a lot of support, a lot of initiatives around the entrepreneurial adventure here. I am especially thinking about the company that has become a rhino here, canva.com. But it is true that some sectors are very competitive. In new technology, talent is expensive and scarce. In general. The salaries are very high, you should be aware of this before starting from here.” But despite the challenges, the entrepreneur believes that the relaxed side we know from Australia makes it possible not to stress, “Don’t worry, as we hear here so often!”

Regarding personal integration, Hadrian notes, with regret, that societies (particularly the French) remain to a large extent among themselves: “I find it a shame not to try to integrate into a new culture. I’ve met quite a few people who appreciate the Australian environment, who feel good, but don’t make an effort to fit in with the population. I love Australia, I’m a citizen now. There are plenty of opportunities for personal adventures and professionalism. There is an Anglo-Saxon culture that I like more than French culture. Just in terms of the mentality at work, I think it is definitely worth indulging”. Before continuing with the job interview with the Reef Digital Agency, Hadrian Brassens, very smiling, warns anyone who wants to settle in Australia that smile and kindness are contagious there and can end up convincing…

Hadrian Brassens travels to Australia
Hadrian Brassens, NSW, 2016

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