There are many reasons why people fail when they try to make money online as affiliate marketers.

Whether someone wants to become an Amazon associate or a ClickBank affiliate, they will always face the same challenges. 

The learning curve is steep and you need to learn a huge amount of terminology and practical elements of how to run an online business. That is why so many people fail.

That is why 95% of newbie affiliate marketers give up after only a few months and waste hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars in the process

Unfortunately, the vast majority of newcomers have the impression that making money online is easy and quickly end up deflated, overwhelmed and confused when the true complexity of:

  • sales funnels,
  • conversion rates,
  • user intent,
  • email marketing,
  • creating amazing content,
  • solving users queries, 
  • building a loyal following,
  • name just a few!!!!

As soon as these strategies and implementation methods come to light, people lose hope and shy away.

The sad truth is this: Most people are not prepared to do the work, but the ones that are prepared, end up making these classic practical mistakes due to misinformation, complacency and inexperience.

No.1 - Promoting The Wrong Products

As a beginner, your experience and ability to make wise choices is compromised because you do not know enough about your niche or product range. 

If you are promoting ecommerce or Amazon products, then this is not too much of an issue but if you are creating content around digital marketing/training services then you can get into trouble. 

This leads to a lot of newbies promoting and writing about low quality training modules and services which they try to promote to their email list or social media following.

This is especially true if you are promoting ClickBank or Jvzoo products because there are a lot of incredibly low quality services being published and promoted on these platforms.

A lot of these digital products are MLM (multi-level-marketing) products which sell the lifestyle of "easy money" & "making money with the push of a button" by using questionable and outdated SEO & marketing methods to recruit new members to join.

The actual training they provide serves no purpose, other than to justify the over-priced upsells, but the commissions a newbie affiliate can make by promoting this type of product are huge.

quitting affiliate marketing

The problem is this:

When a complete beginner enters the "make money online" niche, the assumption is that this is how you make money because all the gurus you follow are promoting similar types of product, so why shouldn't they do the same?

This leads to inexperienced marketers promoting low quality products because they do not understand the strategies and methods these products promote do not work in the first place.

Any affiliate with half a brain knows that selling this kind of products leads to:

  • high refund rates,
  • low loyalty and no repeat business,
  • lack of respect within the industry,
  • low quality email list,
  • low revenue growth,
  • and so on...

The result:

All this results in your list being unresponsive and your earnings dry up very quickly.

You are also going to find it incredibly hard to drive traffic to your landing pages and blog posts because of the low quality nature of the services you are promoting.

Facebook and Google Ads will not let you advertise these types of services and any respected affiliate will not promote them on your behalf.

This leaves you with the option of solo ads and spamming social media.

This is when newbies will quit as they realise their email list and following is on a "churn and burn" mode because no one will buy more than one or two products from you before they realise you are only selling junk.

This results in ZERO longevity and profitability of your blog content, landing pages and product promotions as you have to continuously freshen your email list to make daily sales, which is unmanageable for 99% of affiliates.

No.2 - Not Getting Targeted Traffic

The next big reason why inexperienced affiliate marketers fail to make any commissions is because they do not understand the importance of targeted traffic.

Back in the old days of the Internet you could send cold traffic to a landing page and it would convert but, nowadays, the consumer has become much smarter and in need to better quality information and products.

frustration leads to failure

Therefore, it is vital the target audience you bring to your website is targeted with the user intent.

This is done with both paid advertising, based on demographic and user behaviour, and with SEO and long tail keywords. User experience also plays a big part with your websites conversion rates.

There is a tendency, much like with the product selection, to choose "cheap" and low quality traffic sources.

This could be from Fiverr gigs, where a vendor is selling 5,000 clicks for $10 or something equally ridiculously cheap.

There are also services like Adfly or Adhitz where newbies will go, thinking they have hit the jackpot of cheap traffic when in reality they are wasting their money on bots and low quality traffic.

You also have traffic exchange/paid to click, such as CashBlurbs or Neobux - they produce equally worthless website traffic.

These types of traffic sources are filled with pop ups, under-pop ups, fake clicks and low quality banner ads on questionable "authority" websites.

The end result is always the same:

Thousands of cheap clicks, with zero email optins and zero sales!

Unfortunately, by the time the beginner affiliate marketer realises their mistake, they have spent hundreds of dollars on landing page design, cheap traffic and membership fees for website which will not help them one bit!

No.3 - Listening To The Wrong "Gurus"

There are a LOT of Internet marketing gurus out there who will tell you anything and everything to make sales. The recent liquidation of companies like MOBE (My Online Business Empire) is a good example of the reckless nature of the MMO niche.

Choosing the wrong teacher is incredibly difficult to avoid, particularly in the beginning.

I myself have purchased many training modules which I thought were real, only to be lead down a dead end with smokescreens and pressured upsell.

That makes finding the right guru to follow a HUGE stumbling blog for beginner affiliate marketers, and for good reason.

When you buy a training module which turns out to be either fake or incredibly low quality, not only are you taught outdated and possibly dangerous SEO strategies and lead generation methods, but your ego and motivation takes a big set back too.

Each time you get duped you feel embarrassed, foolish and it completely removes any confidence you have in yourself to start making money online. 

Not only that, but you waste countless days and week working on a "project" which is doomed to fail from the very get-go.

This is why listening to the wrong gurus forces newbie affiliate marketers to quit as they get ripped off and stripped of any faith in the entire process.

Here is a guide on how to spot fake or misleading sales pages to help you NOT get ripped off.

No.4 - Being Too Impatient

This is a big issue! People are way too impatient in life and especially with making money from their online business.

Creating an online income is a long term mindset and requires self discipline and confidence.

There is a tenancy for beginner affiliates to quit almost immediately, after just a few weeks or months, if they do not see the results they are expecting. This is such as shame because they are too short sighted for their own good.

Even when they have a great idea and they are implementing trusted and true traffic strategies, they still quit, despite the fact they would see positive results had they stuck it out a little bit longer.

All the motivational speakers and business advisers out there, such as Gary Vaynerchuk or Frank Kern, will tell you the same thing: You have to be patient and tenacious because NOTHING works overnight!

We live in a world where everything and everyone requires instant gratification, and this is destroying your progress online.


  • Because building a sustainable business takes time,
  • Building an email list of buyers takes time,
  • Building a subscriber base takes time,
  • Creating valuable content takes time,
  • Connecting with your audience takes time,

95% of ALL newcomers to the Internet marketing world, including myself when I started, believe that the whole process of finding buyers, converting them into leads and then making sales is one week process but as soon as this bubble is burst they GIVE UP!

Let's say for example you want to make money by building a blog and a social media following around your own personal brand as a fitness instructor. Also, let's assume you have done keyword and audience research so you know who your target demographic is.

The first thing you need to do is to start creating content in the form of blog posts, videos, selfies, SnapChats, Facebook posts and so on. You would also need to invest a considerable amount of money into paid advertising to build a foundation of followers.

Here is the first hurdle, this takes time!


Creating content in any form, takes time. Even writing this article right here, has taken me 6 plus hours of research and writing, and this is just ONE article

Take that into context of creating an accompanying video and sharing it on social media, followed by engaging with my audience, you can see this is incredibly time consuming.

This where 95% of beginner affiliate marketers fall by the wayside and give up!

One thing to remember...

It gets easier! The more content you create the more proficient you become and the more followers you get. As your following grows and you start to earn money, you can begin outsourcing tasks which are incredibly time consuming, such as video editing and photo editing.

This is why it is frustrating to see talented people giving up because they "can't be bothered" or they "can't think 12 months ahead".

No.5 - Trying To Sell Instead Of Giving Value

At the beginning everyone will fall into the same trap of being too pushy and thinking that a cold lead will buy from you at the first exposure, this simply is not the case.

You can't blame a beginner for thinking this though, I thought the same thing and it took me awhile before I understood why my visitors were not buying my product promotions. I got impressions and clicks, but no commissions.

This is because visitors need confirmation the product will solve their problems and needs and this takes time and effort!

Every single product promotion you create needs to have a purpose behind it.

Each promotion needs to solve whatever problem a potential client has - such as increase traffic to a blog, increase conversion rates, lose weight, gain weight, and so on...

Can you see the problem for an impatient beginner online marketer here?

The process of writing ad copy which introduces a service or product, and takes a potential client through the purchase cycle, takes practice and TIME! This is the problem, time!

Writing ad copy or making promotional videos takes practice, right? Nobody gets it right the first time or the second time for that matter.

Once again, this is why newbies fail because they do not have the patience to nurture their email list or followers, they just want to sell, sell, sell!

This will not work!

There are always going to be a few early adopters who buy straight away but you cannot build a business around them because they are less than 10% of the market.

The average person needs at least 7+ exposures to a product page before they are willing to spend any money, especially if the brand name is unrecognised or unfamiliar.

This can take months of content marketing and paid ads before a person becomes a paying customer.

As a result, it is crucial you create a snowball effect of content and retargeting so you continuously gain new followers, with the intention of them becoming loyal buyers in the months to come.

This will result in a slow beginning but, as you gain their trust and they complete the buyer purchase cycle, one by one they will start buying your services and products.

But, once again, if you quit after one month then you will never get the few followers to that point!

No.6 - Getting Distracted By Gimmicks & Shiny Objects

This last reason is a big one. Shiny object syndrome and buying low quality training modules which appear to be the answer to their problems but ultimately end up slowing down progress.

We have all been there... We come across an emotionally driven sales page which promises you a software or a "secret loophole" which will unlock untold amount of email leads or traffic on autopilot. 

Once you buy the training you are immediately hit with five or six upsells and downsells, which you end up buying as they promise 10x the results for 10x less work!

You then proceed to waste even more time and money on the traffic sources and other training modules they recommend, all the while you are reading training modules and watching tutorial videos which are doomed to fail because the moral fibre and rational strategy behind the monetization method is flawed - but you do not know this, yet!

At some point, you realise that you have been duped and sold a bogus strategy or method that cannot work.

It cannot work because it goes against Google guidelines or it uses outdated methods, or it is morally questionable, or any number of reasons... Regardless, it was never going to deliver any results despite how many upgrades(OTO's) you purchased.

This is a horrible feeling and self loathing and embarrassment always ensues - many newbies will give up at this point!

I think we all fall into the trap of buying fresh training modules and methods to try and enhance our progress online, weather it is to increase out optin rates, website traffic or engagement on Facebook.

We all fall for overhyped sales pages and ad copy at some point, the difference between someone who lets that end their online career comes down to mindset.

You have to brush off your self pity, try and get a refund if you can and get back to your original work schedule you were on before you got distracted.

The only person you can blame is yourself but you have to be self aware enough to move on and learn from the experience.

That is the difference between someone who fails and someone who takes the failure on the chin and learns from it!

How Can You AVOID Failing As An Affiliate Marketer?

I figured I would include some tips on how you can avoid some these mistakes I have talked about so far in this article.

If you choose to read this and follow these simple three steps then you will see the benefit from the whole process of making money online. There are aspect of affiliate marketing you can control, others you cannot, but it is how you react to them which sets the successful apart from the failures.

Accept The Fact That Success Takes Time

Making money online on a consistent and profitable basis takes time. Period.

This is one point which beginner marketers will NEVER accept. They continuously hold their own results up to others who "achieved success" much quicker than they did. 

The thing the beginner fail to realise is that the same person they hold themselves up to took 3 years to achieve that success: They only make it "look easy" because now they know how to successfully implement new strategies and campaigns.

Writing blog posts takes time. Learning how to create, scale and optimise Facebook adverts takes time. Learning how to create successful email campaigns takes time. 

Building a relationship with your readers takes time!

learn new skills in affiliate marketing

Accept Failure & Use It To Grow

Making mistakes is tough. Not only does it cost you money but your pride also takes a huge knock. Most beginners will quit after one or two failures because their confidence and self belief is set back and, let's face it, it is i easier to quit than to accept failure.

It is so important you learn to be self aware. Self awareness helps you see what you did wrong and move forward.

Let us say, for example, you set up an email campaign to promote a product.

You email your subscribers and you wait for the results, but they are nowhere near as good as you hoped. 

You can either complain and quit, or you can look at your email sequence and the content you shared and ask yourself:

"What did I do wrong?"

Use the analytical data of your open rate, CTR and engagements on your content pages to access where your content funnel failed. Why did your subscribers not want to buy from you?

If you are pragmatic and use the information given to you, there is no stopping you!

Google analytics, ClickMagick and the in house statistics of your email autoresponder tell you EXACTLY what went wrong!

Why sulk and quit when all the answers to your issues are right in front of you?

make mistakes and learn from them

Never Stop Learning!

The last thing you need to do if you want to be a successful affiliate marketer is to keep learning and moving forward.

Every single month there are new apps, software and lead capture methods being released which change the way marketing is done. Some of them will be a short term fad while others will be used for years to come, you have to be part of these new methods.

There is a tendency to fall into a comfortable routine and any new strategies will disrupt this, which is uncomfortable for some people. No one likes change!

In any business, you have to move with the times or get left behind. If you stubbornly stick to ageing marketing methods and shy away from new marketing platforms or implementation methods then you will fall behind.

Watch training webinars, follow the industry experts of SEO, video marketing, social media marketing and learn as you go. 

Try new methods and lead capture strategies and absorb as much as you can. 

The great thing about making money online is that you have the time and the space to experiment. With the detailed analytical data provided you are able to assess, scale and adjust all aspects of your campaign - whether they are paid campaigns or organic traffic.

At The End Of The Day

I hope this article helped you better understand why you have been failing as an affiliate marketer. These simple reasons are incredibly common and apply to 95% of all failed affiliate marketers out there, including me!

The world of "making money online" is an ugly, wild and unregulated desert and you need to be disciplined and mature if you want to succeed.

If you have any questions regarding this topic or you have your own personal experiences you want to share with us, then please leave a comment below!

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  1. Hi Phillip. I have been trying to make money online for quite a while now. I have spent hours and hours trying to get it right. Can I ask you what online courses from Click bank would you recommend? I don’t want to rip people off and get caught just trying to sell them some thing for the sake of it.Also have you tried Sqribble the E book maker? Perhaps you would be kind enough to let me know.

    Kind regards,

    Royston Bournemouth UK.

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