Dustin Howes Affiliate Nerd Out Episode 85 Recap ft. Choots Humphries

Plus, don’t miss a special live webinar with Dustin Howes on July 11, 2024 (details below).

What happens when two military veterans turned affiliate marketing entrepreneurs get together to discuss their passion for all things performance marketing? The answer is an engaging hour of insights from two talented and experienced industry insiders and a wealth of valuable affiliate marketing advice.

Dustin Howes
Affiliate Nerd Out Host, Dustin Howes

Following six years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Dustin Howes dove headfirst into a career in affiliate marketing, and nearly 15 years later, he has worn many hats and gathered tons of expertise along the way. To say that Dustin keeps busy is an understatement. At present, he is the Co-Founder of Affistash, an Affiliate Program Growth Trainer for Performance Marketing Manager and an Affiliate Marketing Consultant. Dustin also serves on the Board of Directors for the Performance Marketing Association (PMA).

LinkConnector Co-Founder and CEO, Choots Humphries, similarly started off in the military, spending seven years as an Officer in the United States Navy before moving on to his own storied career in the computer and performance marketing fields. Over the past three decades, Choots has co-founded and led two successful companies, including the LinkConnector Performance Marketing Network, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary in March of 2024. Like Dustin, Choots is highly active with the PMA, and a frequent guest, speaker and presenter at conferences, industry events, workshops and more.

Choots Humphries, LinkConnector CEO

Choots recently appeared on Dustin’s Affiliate Nerd Out podcast where they covered a myriad of engaging topics including how their time in the military influenced their professional journeys, networking advice, best practices for maximizing your tradeshow trips and much more. Here are just a few of the many highlights from the discussion

From Military to Marketing

With Dustin and Choots sharing the experience of transitioning from military service into a career in the performance marketing field, this episode provided unique insights into the benefits of this background from two different perspectives.  

For Choots, the military originally served as a means to afford a college education. During his time in the Navy, he became highly interested and involved in programming and working with computers, which laid the foundation for his post-military endeavors. After several years of learning and growing in his field, Choots and another military veteran, Ernie St. Gelais, decided to take the plunge and start their own company. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I think about everything that I learned in the Navy almost every day of my career. There are lots of lessons that I learned, lots of ways to interact with people, the right way to do things, the wrong way to do things. There’s so much that just resonates from my time in the service.”
Choots Humphries, LinkConnector Co-Founder & CEO

Dustin pointed out that for veterans, the military is ingrained in them, and it typically influences most of the things they go on to do. Above all, it’s the discipline and leadership skills that stand out, and these skills are a major reason why companies love to hire military folks for management positions. Individuals with military experience tend to have a higher threshold for handling pressure, which of course will provide an edge in competitive professions like performance marketing.

Conference Vets

Not only are Choots and Dustin military veterans, but they are also seasoned veterans of the performance marketing conference trail. Between the two of them, they have attended countless global events from Affiliate Summit to PI Live and beyond. With each passing event, Choots and Dustin have compiled a treasure trove of crucial tips for maximizing these whirlwind experiences. While these conferences can be grueling, they are also highly rewarding.

When discussing their favorite parts of attending industry conferences, Choots shared that he always leaves time near the end of each day to sit down with other passionate affiliate marketers and have an open-ended chat with no agenda. In fact, it’s from these casual conversations that he frequently comes away with his most valuable ideas and information from the entire course of the event.

For Dustin, he loves to spread positivity and make people smile, and this is the perfect mindset to have out on the conference beat, especially when meeting with potential clients. Dustin always looks forward to making folks laugh for the first time, and this simple icebreaker can often mark the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.

“At every conference, I want to make one really good friend and I want to make 10 new acquaintances. My ultimate goal, essentially, is taking one of those old acquaintances and turning them into a new best friend that I’m going to be super excited to see at the next conference.”
Dustin Howes, Co-founder of Affistash, Consultant at

Networking to Success

In the world of affiliate marketing, networking is critical, and making the right connections can be the key that puts merchants, affiliates, agencies and networks on the path toward success. Conversely, a failure to effectively network can have dire consequences. Dustin and Choots shared tips around the importance of networking as part of their professional acumen.

Choots pointed out that forming meaningful relationships from the comfort of your home or office is quite difficult, which is why meeting people face to face can be extremely beneficial and rewarding. If you catch Choots at one of these events, chances are he will have a big smile on his face. That’s because he gets to spend that time focusing solely on developing and maintaining relationships and learning from some of the most talented people in the performance marketing world. This is, in his words, “the fun part” of his job.

Choots and Dustin agreed that while proper scheduling, setting up actionable goals, and networking are all extremely important at conferences, equally as important is establishing a protocol for following up with your contacts when you return home. For example, Dustin’s approach is to take the number of days in the event, then wait that many days to follow up after the event. Whatever your strategy, it’s imperative to keep the conversations going.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, If you missed the live podcast, you can catch a video replay of the full discussion on LinkedIn or YouTube, or listen on your favorite audio platform.

To learn more about Dustin Howes, head over to his website at, and be sure to catch weekly episodes of Affiliate Nerd Out, live on LinkedIn every Thursday at 3:15pm Eastern (12:15pm Pacific), where Dustin talks shop with some of the biggest names in the Performance Marketing industry.

Don’t miss a special live webinar with Dustin Howes, hosted by LinkConnector on July 11, 2024

Are you ready for more awesome advice from affiliate marketing guru, Dustin Howes?
On July 17th at 1:00pm EDT, Dustin will be stepping out of the Nerditorium for a special LinkConnector-hosted webinar where he will be deep-diving into his performance marketing playbook. Sharpen your pencils, because this free session is going to be jam-packed with valuable affiliate marketing tips and tricks that you won’t want to miss. Click the button below to register now!

Dustin Howes

Dustin Howes believes in the power of putting partnerships first. Over the last 14+ years in the affiliate marketing industry, he has dedicated his career to the art of network marketing, and cultivating thousands of partner relationships. He is always preaching the value of performance and affiliate marketing to help this industry grow

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