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  • Katrina Julia

Loving the Life You Create with Stephanie Graves from Destination Graves: Creator Series

Welcome to our series Creator’s & Traveler's Creations!

We are sharing highlights from transformation stories and how we are creating FIT Life Creation and the community. In this Creator series feature, we are featuring Stephanie Graves from Destination Graves.

Highlights of Story and Creations:

Trying to decide ‘what you want to be when you grow up’ at eighteen is not an easy task. I dare

say, impossible! I knew I liked helping people and since science came easy to me, medicine

seemed like the obvious career choice. wasn’t until years later when I became a mom

that I discovered my real passions.

Hi! My name is Stephanie, and alongside my career as a Physician's Assistant and three young

kids, I run the luxury family travel blog, Destination Graves. Through my travel and

lifestyle-inspired content, I help my readers Iove the life they create.

Photo Credit Stephanie Graves

The Beginning of my Entrepreneurship

I’ve always been someone who is extremely driven. Even from a young age, if there was

something I was passionate about, I gave it my all. From receiving academic awards and getting

into top schools, to qualifying for the Boston marathon, I was always laser-focused on achieving

my goals.

Aside from a brief hiatus for college, my husband and I had spent our entire lives in rural

northern Maine. We love our hometown dearly and on paper, it seemed like we had it all: great

careers, a home, three beautiful children, and ample family support. But we craved MORE.

We craved to see and do MORE, to have MORE experiences, MORE opportunities for our

children, and to live fully without regrets.

So with that, in the spring of 2018, we took a huge leap of faith and relocated our family of five

from Maine to North Carolina. No family, no friends, and no secure jobs lined up. We were

wiping the slate clean and embarking on a new adventure.

I was familiar with entrepreneurship and had been running a successful network marketing

business at the time of our move. And although I was successful, it just wasn’t something I was

passionate about. But traveling with the ones I love most, sharing our awesome adventures,

and empowering others to chase their dreams?

That’s something I could get down to. Blogging, creating content on social media, photography - it all allows me to have a creative outlet. But more than anything I love that it allows me to work on my terms and make unforgettable memories with those I love most.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Graves

Your Brand

My husband and I always loved to travel, long before kids were in the picture. There wasn’t

much to do in northern Maine, so we traveled often. And we did it well. We’d spend hours doing

diligent research on hotels, flights, the best restaurants, experiences, must-see/do sights, etc.

Then one day while driving home from a couples getaway, we thought, ‘why not share our

knowledge and experiences with the world?!’

Originally, the blog was heavily focused on travel itineraries, travel tips, and gear reviews. But

as time went on and I began to gain more traction, my passions started to change. The direction

I wanted to head into was shifting. Not only did I want to be a resource for families looking to

plan their next vacation, but I also wanted to inspire and empower other entrepreneurs to turn

their biggest dreams into a reality.

So, just one year after the blog first launched, I began re-branding! It was a HUGE project, but it

was worth all the hard work because now I feel like I have something that really represents me

and fully encompasses my vision.

Having a clear direction and mission is important as it defines your brand. Something else that

is important to me is cohesion! Brand cohesion is huge! When all your colors, fonts, photo

presets, etc align across several platforms, not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, it also

helps your audience recognize your brand.

If someone is scrolling IG and sees a bright, joyful photo with a few wild kids exploring nature, it’s a good chance it’s mine! But, if I were to post a dark image of food, without kids, my audience would likely be confused and keep scrolling. I recommend finding one or a couple of similar presets and using those across all your photos.

Likewise, if you have a branded font, colors, and/or a logo, use them! Examples include: on your

blog, Pinterest images, media kit, newsletter header, e-courses, etc.

Another thing that I value is authenticity. I always want my message to come from an honest

place. I’ve turned down guest posts or promotions in the past because I didn’t have a personal

experience with the brand.

I also want my posts to be real. I don’t want to sugarcoat the challenges of traveling with kids,

starting a business, parenting, or blogging. It’s all tough! And it’s in the realness of the struggle

where the magic happens.

I worked hard and now my dreams are coming true; I get paid to be creative and travel with my family. I hope my content will inspire others to overcome adversities and take actionable steps in their lives too.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Graves - Mission, Marriage, Mommy

Biggest Success Factors

Whenever I was just starting, I’d say that my biggest success factor would be how I dove in

head first, and was on a mission to learn as much as possible. And fast. I listened to podcasts

while driving, took an intro to photography class, enrolled in a handful of e-courses, attended a

travel blogging conference, and the list goes on.

There are a lot of components that go into running a successful blog, and I wanted to master all of them to get off the ground quicker. I even launched my e-course “How to Land and Rock a Press Trip”, after landing six press trips in the first 9-months of blogging.