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Hadrien Brassens in Australia: “I came for 6 months, I’ve been living there for 14 years”

In 2008, Hadrien Brassens left for Australia for six months. Fourteen years later, he is still there, has become a recognized digital entrepreneur and has started a family. After so many years in Australia, does he plan to return to France one day? What does he advise young people who, like him, are going to Australia?

On March 5, 2008, Hadrien Brassens landed at the end of the world, 16,950 km from his home. Here in Sydney it is neither too hot nor too cold, just good. The young man has in mind the objective of this trip: to find his end-of-studies internship. If he chose Australia, it is not entirely by chance. Born in the United States, he then lived there for four years with his family. Always attracted by travel and international meetings, he did a university exchange in Finland, and later, an internship in the United Kingdom. At the end of his studies, Hadrien chose to deepen his professional experience in an English-speaking country. Canada or Australia, the two countries have made him dream for a while. It is the network that will push him to Australia since one of his friends is already there and is flourishing there: “He made me dream with his photos, I told myself that I was going to have fun with him on the spot. I joined him a bit out of the blue when I think about it, with 300€ in my pocket and a backpack, a suitcase. »

Hadrien Brassens has just arrived in Sydney, in 2008

Professional opportunities in Australia and one day, Hadrien starts…

Instead of an end-of-studies internship, Hadrien directly finds a permanent contract 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 return to France. If some of his friends are struggling to find their first job, the young man experiences the complete opposite: “The difference between Australia and France is that here we give everyone a chance. The job was pretty well paid for an entry-level job, I’m having a blast, I was in an atmosphere of discovery of 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 never came…”.

Hadrien worked for two years in a first agency, then in another where he evolved very quickly, becoming head of department. Specialist in search, he meets a colleague who specializes in SEO. What if they set up their own business? One day, an opportunity presents itself: “I meet a lawyer who manages his digital campaigns himself, without really knowing what he is doing. I noticed very quickly that he had been spending millions of dollars for years in states where he had no offices or clients. No sooner had I mentioned this waste than he said to me, “You’ve been hired! » and our box was launched… »

In 2011, Hadrien 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, we had a small reputation. Our team was also growing and our work was rewarded by Microsoft among others. And then the Covid hurt us. Our turnover has dropped and we have gone from 25 to 11 employees in a short time. We had to transform our business a bit. Today, we are going up the slope, we are signing contracts and I am recruiting”. Hadrien sighs with relief, he’s been waiting for this moment for a while: “long-awaited” he concludes with a smile.

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

Living in France or Australia, the duel of heart and reason

With an almost nostalgic look, Hadrien Brassens admits “I miss France terribly. Like any expatriate, there are aspects of my country that are hard to leave, family of course, friends, gastronomy, the charm of our countryside! I say this especially now because it has been three years since I returned and my family still has not met my son. »

If the young dad did not feel this lack so much before, the Covid and the birth of his son a year and a half ago make him realize that he may be experiencing a turning point in his life. On the question of returning to France permanently, Hadrien Brassens hesitates a lot. He still has unanswered questions: how to work his business with such a difference in time zone? How is the world of agencies organized in France? How to make your teams who are not French-speaking work? “I would have to solidify my business here to consider 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 one side, as on the other, the entourage will be far away… “Conclusion, we are thinking about it seriously, but not immediately. »

Australia, a “start-up friendly” and benevolent country

After having studied the Australian professional world for several years, Hadrien Brassens has the feeling that Australia is very start-up friendly: “There is a lot of support, a lot of initiatives around the entrepreneurial adventure here. I am thinking in particular of a company that has become a unicorn here, canva.com. But it is true that some sectors are highly competitive. In new technology, talents are expensive and rare. In general, the salaries are very high, you have to be aware of this before starting here. “. But, despite the challenges, the entrepreneur thinks that the laid-back side that we know from Australia makes it possible not to stress, “no worries, as we often hear here! »

As for personal integration, Hadrian remarks, with regret, that the communities (particularly French) remain very much between themselves: “I find it a shame not to try to integrate into a new culture. I have met quite a few people who appreciate the Australian environment, who feel good, but do not make an effort to fit in with the population. I love Australia, I am a citizen now. There are so many opportunities for personal and professional adventures. There is an Anglo-Saxon culture that I like much more than French culture. Just in terms of the mentality at work, I think it’s definitely worth soaking up”. Before continuing with a job interview for Reef Digital Agency, Hadrien Brassens, very smiling, warns anyone wishing to settle in Australia that a smile and kindness are contagious there and can end up convincing…

Hadrien Brassens travels to Australia
Hadrien Brassens, New South Wales, 2016

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