Bren Hammel is an online marketing expert who started his first digital marketing business in high school. At 17, he was earning more than his mum and dad combined. But a single algorithm update brought his high-flying business down. That loss led him to devote 90 minutes every morning to learning more about business and marketing, which he continues to do.
In his current business, Eureka SEM, he creates profit-generating campaigns for clients in Australia and around the world.
- What led you to start your own business?
Well, I’ve never worked for anyone, so I’ve never been employed. What led me to start my own business was that I wanted money for myself. I still lived with mum and dad obviously as I was 16 or 17. I actually wanted to buy a couple of computer games, so I started dabbling with digital stuff and one thing led to another and here I am.
- Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I kind of had no idea I wanted to be in business. But the idea of an entrepreneur with multiple sources of income or multiple businesses probably dawned on me the last maybe two or three years’, as I’ve gotten better with just general business knowledge and general marketing stuff. Now I’ve got fingers in a couple of different pies here and overseas as well.
So no, not initially, but over the last couple of years, definitely.
- How has business changed for you?
Business has changed a fair bit. When I first started in my teens and early twenties, things were easy digitally. Google then made updates and that killed me. It shut the business down and I had to start from scratch again, which is the best thing that ever happened. I learned a lot, I implemented new systems, new ideas and new concepts around what a business is, different assets on how to grow the business, how I can leverage to build further and things like that. Business has been a little topsy-turvy, but now it’s definitely a lot better and hopefully I’m getting a little bit smarter each and every day.
- Do you think entrepreneurs need to fail?
I don’t think anyone needs to fail, but you definitely learn more from your failures than you do from wins because happy people are happy being happy. But from your failures, you dive in a little bit deeper; you’re more passionate about why it didn’t work. You’re willing to dig a little deeper, gather more insights and then from there on out, you don’t make the same mistakes and you don’t make mistakes in and around that problem that first occurred. Failure is probably not necessary, but it’s definitely a good hurdle in my opinion.
- Who is a local entrepreneur that you find inspiring?
Two people that have been good to me, not as official mentors, but just being good in terms of being around them and learning from them, include one entrepreneur, Warren Mills, who owns the company Newcastle Sheetmetal. He has a wonderful story; he started in his mum’s garage, built up and now has 80 or 90 employees. He doesn’t work much now which is fantastic, I’m slightly jealous, but he’s slightly older. And he has a great succession plan; his son is now starting to take over the business and he’s doing, a little bit tongue and cheek, better than probably he was when he was running the business.
On the flip side, Jeff Phillips, the CEO of Varley Group, is fantastic. He’s such a role model for most business people, the way he conducts himself and what he knows. He’s very well gifted in the business world.