reasons why people fail with affiliate marketingAffiliate marketing is a great and legit way to make money online, but the majority of people who try it ends up failing.

Is it because it is really difficult, because you need super special skills to make it work, or what are the reasons?

In this article I will share my experiences about why people fail with affiliate marketing, and also how you can avoid failing.

I will also share my story about how I have failed with it myself, and how I changed this around.

9 Reasons you might fail with affiliate marketing

Since you are reading this article, you probably already know what affiliate marketing is. If not, you can read my introduction guide to affiliate marketing, before reading this article.

The reasons below are all based on my personal experiences with affiliate marketing, as well as on the experience of many other people I know that have both failed and succeeded at affiliate marketing. The list is not in prioritized order, as all the reasons are important and something to be aware of, if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing.

Reason 1 – Looking to get rich fast and without effort:

There are many misunderstandings and myths about making money online. One of the biggest is that making money online is super easy, and you get rich overnight and without any effort.

This might happen on very rare occasion, but the truth is that the majority of people that succeed online, whether it is with affiliate marketing or anything else, have worked hard to get there.

Like building any other kind of business, you should expect it to take some time and effort to make good money with affiliate marketing. Then the potential is also huge, but people that expect to become rich overnight and without effort will always fail at affiliate marketing, because they will stop quickly, when they realize it is not so easy.

Reason 2 – Run into scams:

There are a lot of great opportunities when it comes to affiliate marketing, but there are also a lot of scams. People that continuously run into scams will most times at some point lose hope and not think it is actually possible to learn affiliate marketing legitimately and without losing money.

make money online without effort claim

There are many online scams that make it hard to believe it is actually possible to make money online.

This is closely related to the first reason. We go for the programs that promise we can become rich overnight and without any effort. These programs are usually scams that are just out to lure money from you.

If you see a program that has claims like this, there are good reasons to be skeptical. But do not know that it is possible to do legitimately and without having to sign up for programs that end up costing thousands of dollars.

Recommended: See how to get started with affiliate marketing for FREE

Reason 3 – Do not know the products they promote:

To make money with affiliate marketing, it is of course necessary to have products to promote. However, this also means that people sometimes end up promoting products or services they do not necessarily know well, since they need to find some kind of products to promote.

To for example make a useful review that converts, you need to have some good quality information. This comes naturally, if it is a product you have a good knowledge of. That is for example why my recommended online marketing tools are all tools I am using myself and have in-depth knowledge about.

People that only post superficial info about products will have a harder time succeeding with affiliate marketing.

This does not mean you can never promote or write about a product you do not own yourself. This is definitely possible and also sometimes a good idea and necessary. But then a lot of research is a good idea, so you actually provide quality information. Quality information converts better.

Reason 4 – Forgetting quality & honesty:

focus on honest affiliate marketingThis one is very closely related to the reason just above. I have seen this happen very often, and it is not a good long-term strategy and is the reason many people fail.

People simple get caught up in the potential of making money with affiliate marketing and end up promoting whatever product or service pays the highest commission. This is not a good strategy, if you want to create a long-term sustainable income online.

It might give you some good commissions once in a while, but you will not build trust, and over time people will start staying away from your site whenever they see something with your name on it.

Just going for the highest commission even though you know it might end up costing other people a lot of money for something that is not worth it, is not only unethical, it is also going to be bad for your business in the long run. Unfortunately many people have not realized this, and this is why it is possible to find really good reviews of extremely poor products that are scams – people are willing to promote them just to earn commissions.

But for a long-term strategy, where you can also help other people, while making good money yourself, it is better to go for honesty and quality.

Reason 5 – Too much competition:

Sometimes people give up on affiliate marketing, because they have entered a niche that is too competitive. This means the results are not coming fast enough, and they give up.

For this reason, it is good to start with a niche that is not too competitive, as this makes it easier to achieve results and stay motivated.

When that is said, with enough work, effort, and time there is always an angle you can find for any niche that will make it possible to become really successful. So competition is not as such something to be scared of, but just something to take into consideration in relation to the time you are willing to spend.

Reason 6 – Procrastination:

man procrastinating at computerThis is a big one – procrastination has killed many aspiring affiliate businesses.

The great thing about working online is that it gives the freedom to work on your own terms, and work whenever and wherever you want. But this also comes with responsibility.

People that are not good at remembering why they are doing this and are not good at keeping themselves motivated, often end up failing. Not because they do not have the skills, or because affiliate marketing does not work, but simply because they let themselves be distracted and do not do the work it takes to succeed.

Reason 7 – Not enough patience:

As already mentioned, it takes some time to build a successful affiliate income. Most of us are today cultured into thinking that an online income is something that should happen within days after starting.

This is in most cases not the case – I have seen many people give up just before it starts getting fun. It takes time to for example build quality traffic to a website and a brand, but it can be worth all the time and effort. So do not give up too soon – everybody can learn to make money with affiliate marketing, but the majority gives up, when they find out it takes effort and time.

Reason 8 – Starting too many websites:

starting too many websitesI have very often seen that people get very excited about the potential of affiliate marketing, when they first start. They have so many ideas and end up building 4-5 website within just a few weeks. They end up working on all of them simultaneously, which means less time for each website.

After 6 months they get frustrated that they do not have much traffic yet, because they work hard on their sites. The problem is just that because they have several sites, they might only post an article on each website 1-2 times per month. If all this effort had been put into one site, that site would have had 2-3 new articles per week and get a lot of attention. After 6 months they would very likely have seen success with this one site.

Another reason it is a bad idea to spread out, when you first start is not only that none of the sites get the time and attention they really need. You will also be making the same possible mistakes on each site in learning the process Then you have to go back and fix this on all the sites.

A better approach is to just stick with one site and put all the attention into this. Once that is successful, you have a blueprint of how it works, and you can then spread out to more websites and expand. But spreading out from the beginning is a big reason people fail at affiliate marketing.

Reason 9 – Do not understand the full process:

In my opinion the biggest reason people fail is that they do not understand the full process.

We can of course not understand the full process when we start, but then we need someone who can teach and guide us. There is a lot of great info on all kinds of blogs, but it will also often be very fragmented and only give you small pieces of the puzzle.

When you are new to affiliate marketing, trying to put the pieces together yourself in the right order is more or less impossible. I experienced this myself, when I first tried affiliate marketing and failed badly, as I will tell you more about below.

My own failed affiliate marketing attempt

I have not only seen many people fail at affiliate marketing – I have also failed myself. My first attempt was in the beginning of 2016.

At that time I had looked into possibilities to make money online for a while, but nothing seemed legit. Then I came across affiliate marketing and was intrigued. As I had some experience with websites already, I decided to give it a go.

I just started a website, started reading more about affiliate marketing, and started joining affiliate programs, and put all this together on my website – It did NOT go well!

I did make a few sales, but nothing really happened and the site never really took off. I had spent a lot of time building the site, and I could see and understand the potential of affiliate marketing, but did not know to make it work properly.

After some months I gave up on the site and kind of forgot about affiliate marketing. So I can relate to many of the reasons above – I was not patient enough, I did not put enough effort into it, I forgot to really focus on quality, but first of all I did not understand the overall process of building a successful affiliate marketing income.

About 6 months later I however gave affiliate marketing another try. I am very happy I did, and below I will share with you how I turned it around and learned the correct approach and learned skills that are today earning me a full-time income.

How to do affiliate marketing the right way

changing failing to successAfter failing with my first affiliate website, I did continued looking for other ways to make money online, as I really wanted to test, if there was some legit way of doing this.

One day I came across the learning platform Wealthy Affiliate. This was a platform that claimed to teach people the full process of affiliate marketing, would give me support, and give me all the tools I needed.

I was of course very skeptical, as I had seen many scams, and I actually started thinking that the only way to make money online was to promote crappy programs that promised other people to teach them to become rich online only to take their money. I was not interested in making money this way, so was very careful about what I joined.

However, since Wealthy Affiliate offers a free membership with access to 20 free lessons, I decided to give it a go. I quickly realized that the training, tools, and support there was definitely worth staying for, and it was a platform very different from other online learning platforms I had seen.

There I learned the 4-step process to make a successful affiliate business, and today I am making a full-time income from the skills I have learned there.

This has not happened on its own – I have put in a lot of time and effort. To make this happen I have a few advice what to do:

Understand the process:
If you have never succeeded with affiliate marketing before, find someone that can teach you the overall the process. I tried to figure out everything myself, and I have seen myself and many others fail this way.

You can either click the link above and read more about the process I am using, and follow the same steps, or find someone else that can help you. But make sure to take the time to understand how it works – this is the foundation for success online.

Follow training and get support:
This is very closely related to the point above. But I have seen it many times that people do find someone to help them understand the process and join training for it, only to still think they can do it all themselves or just do not take action.

If you end up wanting to build an affiliate marketing business and join training to understand the process, make sure to also follow the training, take action, and ask questions when you need help.

You can get help, support, and tools, but you have to take action and do the work yourself.

Always remember what motivated you to get into affiliate marketing and wanting to make money online. The motivation might be to be able to travel while earning money, more time with your family, not having a boss, getting rich, etc. There can be many reasons.

No matter your motivation remember this and use it to stay focused. It can be hard to stay focused and not procrastinate when working online. For me it always helps to remember why I am doing it and the alternative – then the motivation comes back right away:-)

Final thoughts

Affiliate marketing has a huge potential, and it is a legit way to make money online. Unfortunately most people fail – mainly because of the reasons I mentioned above. I know how it feels to fail with it, as I have done it myself.

However, it is definitely possible to become successful. To do this you need to make sure to understand the process, be willing to take action, find someone you can ask, when you need help, be patient, and be willing to work for it.

The great thing is that it does not require any special or magical skills to make money with affiliate marketing. Anybody can learn to do it, but most people cannot be bothered to learn the proper process or give up to soon. So if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing, make sure you avoid the reasons for failing I have mentioned above.

And if you want help to get started, you can check out my FREE guide to make money online with affiliate marketing.


If you have any comments, questions, or have any experiences with success or failure with affiliate marketing, I would love to hear from you below.

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