Dustin Howes is an affiliate program growth guru and game-changing digital marketer. He is the founder and chief coach at Performance Marketing Manager, an online certification training program on affiliate marketing management. Howes has over 10 years of experience in the affiliate marketing industry, helping clients optimize their program, recruit the right partners, and get those partners to produce sales.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Hanford California as a small-town farm boy playing in the dirt. My parents both had an excellent moral compass. They helped me create a life full of integrity. My mom taught junior high for 40 years and had a smile on her face while doing it. Seeing her so passionate and happy with her career really inspired me to continue the search for career fulfillment. It has taken me a long time to find that in owning my own small business. You can find out more on my about page here.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

My first job out of high school was the Marine Corps. The 6 years I spent serving was a great experience and trained my mentality to work hard at whatever I did. I quickly realized that my creative thinking had no place in this type of organization. However, finding a role that could utilize my creativity to its fullest what’s not easy to find.  I wish I had realized that I needed to work for myself and built something out much earlier in my career instead of trying to live the corporate life and building things for other people. 

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

There are hundreds of people selling courses that teach affiliate marketing, but many of them are filled with fluff. So many of these courses are taking advantage of people’s vulnerabilities and promise riches with little effort. They are great at selling, but the systems fail for 99% of the people that try to replicate the teachings. They give this industry a black eye because they fail to provide the support needed to help people be successful. There are only a handful of systems that truly care about whether or not the course taker succeeds. 

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

When I graduated from college, I moved to Las Vegas to play poker for a living. I loved poker and I was good, but playing poker for rent money was more stressful than I anticipated. That stress turned into depression and living in that fast life served to be too much for my personality. I eventually went broke. It was the first time I had truly failed at something in my life. The big lesson was that life isn’t always as easy as it looks. The true test of character comes when you face adversity and have to claw your way back out of the hole.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Self-awareness and self-discipline. Being aware of my strengths and weaknesses helps me focus on things I am good at and outsource the things I am not. Having the self-discipline to stay away from pitfalls saves me time and heartache.  

What is your morning routine?

Most days, 4 am wake up. Stretching and coffee to wake up. One hour of clearing my inbox and organizing my day. Workout for an hour at 5:30 am. Back to work until the kids wake up and help them get off to school. Then start that work from home life.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Without a doubt, morning routine.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I love utilizing productivity tools to expedite my tasks throughout the day. Things like text expanders and a solid knowledge of Macbook shortkeys help save small time every day, which adds up quickly through the work week. I have put together a list of my favorite tools here

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This book was a huge game changer in the way I spend time for my business and in my personal life. The biggest takeaway was maximizing the time you have with yourself in the morning. There is a great sense of accomplishment in completing tasks before everyone else in the house even wakes up. It also helps me center my emotions and prepare for the day to come.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

I have two that I live by. The first “don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.” This reminds me to never take shortcuts or quick wins at the expense of my moral character. The other is: “no excuses, play like a champion.” I come back to this credo every time I start feeling sad for myself or feel that circumstances are holding me back. It reminds me that there is no hurdle too big to accomplish my goals.