Why Most Affiliate Marketers Fail And Quit: 7 Reasons Why

Affiliate marketing is about as lucrative as ever nowadays with so many people getting started.

But do so many affiliate marketers seem to fail and give up so quickly?

In this article, I’m going to give you my decade of experience and talk about why I think most affiliates quickly throw in the towel.

Why Do Most People Fail Affiliate Marketing?

why most affiliate marketers fail and quit

A lot of people end up failing with affiliate marketing. Contrary to popular belief, it’s mostly due to what’s going on in the few inches between their ears.

I started affiliate marketing back in 2012 and currently do it full-time, so I have a very good idea as to why most people fail within this industry.

While there are hundreds of reasons as to why they might fail, I’m going to be covering seven of the biggest reasons for failure.

Make sure that you pay close attention to each and every one of these reasons, especially the first one. In fact, it’s probably the biggest reason why most people fail very quickly.

1) Mindset

Would you have ever thought that someone’s mindset could be the number one reason for not being successful with affiliate marketing?

It’s true, and it goes for anything in this world (affiliate marketing included).

Over the years, I have noticed that most people shoot themselves in the foot before they even begin. Allow me to explain with a few common examples of things I see all the time:

  • It’s all a scam.
  • This will never work.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • No one ever makes money with affiliate marketing.
  • Only a few people see great success with affiliate marketing.

While I do agree with the fact that not too many people see success with affiliate marketing, all of these statements are severely damaging to anyone who wants to get started with affiliate marketing.

Just think about it, if someone is constantly telling themselves something like:

I’ll never make money with affiliate marketing, it just doesn’t work…

What do you think is going to happen when that person comes to a fork in the road, or heck, a simple road bump that they could have walked over?

This is the common scenario where someone quickly gives up.

Any challenge (or struggle) that comes up ends up being the immediate signal to throw in the towel, and it shouldn’t be that way.

When someone has this same type of mindset, do you expect them to:

  • Make more time for affiliate marketing?
  • Search for a solution by asking many people?
  • Push through a problem when things get challenging?

Heck, do you think that person is going to last very long when it comes to just being an affiliate? The answers are no, no, no, and no.

I’m not bringing this up to sound like a jerk, it’s just the way it goes when it comes to your mindset.

One of the biggest advantages that I had when starting online, was the fact that I got to work with someone who was a master of his mindset. I learned a ton from him, and if I never did, I would have given up a long time ago.

Your mindset is just that important, and you can’t have long-term success until you get your mind in the right spot.

So the first biggest reason why people fail with affiliate marketing doesn’t have anything to do with affiliate marketing directly.

Ironically enough, the same thing goes for the second reason why people fail with affiliate marketing. This is another important one, so make sure that you truly understand this.

2) No Focus

There’s a quote by Confucius that I really like, and want to share with you as well:

The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.

This quote reminds me of the internet except for one minor detail; there are about 100 (or more) rabbits that you can chase at once.

Instead of rabbits, these distractions are often in the forms of:

  • Tons of opportunities.
  • Drama in Facebook groups.
  • Emails from anyone and everyone.
  • People who want to “chat” on social media (barf).
  • Viral videos that were created to hook and grab you in.
  • Social media platforms that were created to keep you where you are.

Don’t forget about your smartphone, as well as copious amounts of instant gratification notifications that can pop up at any time (if you have your phone set up that way).

Oh yeah, and then you have the news and anything else that is going on in your world and in your life.

This shouldn’t be anything new for you to hear. However, it should be much easier now to realize that most people fail at affiliate marketing (and many other things) due to the fact that they have close to no focus.

There are way too many distractions, and most people get sucked into those distractions, instead of kicking them in the teeth or simply avoiding them.

How can you expect someone to make money from affiliate marketing, especially if their mindset isn’t where it needs to be and they are constantly being distracted everywhere they go online?

The combination of these first two reasons makes it just about impossible to succeed at anything unless you make changes. That’s at least the good news, you can change and you can get better at taking your focus back.

Here’s another reason why most people fail, and in fact, it’s a 100% guarantee that you will fail if you make this big mistake.

3) Little To No Action

Probably one of the most logical reasons as to why most people fail, and it’s simply because they take little to no action.

In another article I wrote about the averages of incomes when it comes to affiliate marketing, I stated that the average income was close to $0.

While that was my opinion, it’s widely known that most people just don’t take action (or enough action) on the materials that they learn.

In fact, I’m sure that you’ve probably seen the disclaimers when it comes to sales letters on affiliate marketers. Here is one that Legendary Marketer uses for their brand, which I happen to like:

The average person who buys any “how-to” information gets little to no results.

This should be music to your affiliate marketing ears though, as it once was for me too.

I remember a long time ago I realized that most people failed because they simply didn’t do anything. That’s where the lightbulb went off, and I realized that I just needed to put in enough of the right actions, and do it consistently.

That’s another big reason why a lot of affiliate marketers fail. There’s a fine line between taking a lot of action and taking a lot of the right actions.

Despite the fact that these two reasons are very similar, I decided to separate them into two different mistakes. Let’s talk more about that now.

4) Not Taking The Right Actions Consistently

I don’t know about you, but I love putting my head down, throwing on some music, ditching all the distractions, and then getting to work. In fact, I highly recommend that you do the same.

But even if someone manages to get their mindset right, eliminate distractions, and even start taking action? They also need to be taking the right actions.

I believe that this is a big mistake and it’s simply because people don’t really have any concrete goals when it comes to affiliate marketing.

You’ll often hear things like:

  • I just want to make a little money.
  • I just want to be able to see some success.
  • I just want to make some money here and there.

Have you ever noticed that many statements usually start with the “I just”, which is ultimately a great way to limit what you want to accomplish?

Either way, many of these ‘goals’ are very bland and lack any substance.

  • If you just want to make a little money, there are a million ways to do that.
  • If you just want to see a little success, there are also a million ways to do that.

Ultimately, a lack in having a tangible goal also means that it’s going to be much harder to take the right actions.

Something I want you to keep in mind is that there is a huge difference between taking actions that are productive, and actions that make you feel like you’re being busy,

Let’s say that someone wants to scale up their affiliate marketing website efforts, or simply have their first $100 day.

Here are some actions that you most likely aren’t going to want to take:

  • Talking to people on Facebook.
  • Finding new products to learn from.
  • Growing your social media following.
  • Going back and forth with emails and answering questions.

While most of these tactics are going to be helpful at times, all they do is make you feel like you’ve been busy taking action. What this person should be 100% focused on is growing their website.

Here are a few examples of the right actions that they should be taking:

  • Writing more content.
  • Getting some backlinks.
  • Outsourcing others to write content.
  • Adding more monetization methods to their websites.
  • Creating a new website and duplicating what has been working.

If you look at the actions above, they all relate to building and growing when it comes to what is working as an affiliate marketer. In this situation, these are the right types of actions that will help that person see success with what they want.

I hope that you understand the difference when it comes to taking action to feel busy and taking the right actions in order to move forward with where you need to go.

So those are 4 big reasons why so many affiliate marketers fail fast. Let’s look at yet another big challenge when it comes to affiliates looking to make commissions online.

5) Lacking The Ability To Overcome Challenges

There are plenty of challenges and hidden pitfalls when it comes to affiliate marketing. This shouldn’t be anything new when it comes to seeing long-term success.

However, I have also noticed that people get discouraged way too easily when it comes to these types of challenges.

In all of my online marketing career, there was only one big problem that I could never overcome, and it was a big one as I had to completely pivot into a different type of traffic source.

Anywho, you need to be aware that challenges are a natural part of the affiliate marketing process. The good news is that there are tons of ways to help you overcome these obstacles.

After all, if you’ve gone through some type of problem, then there are probably a ton of people who have gone through the same problem and pushed through to get things resolved.

If you’re ever having a problem with affiliate marketing, here are a few resources that you can utilize to help you get past the problem:

  • Google and blogs (of course).
  • YouTube videos can be very helpful.
  • Communities (sometimes they come with paid products).
  • Facebook groups related to your niche/product/problem.

And if you’re having any trouble when it comes to specific products or software, you can always reach out to support and see if they will lend a helping hand.

Remember, when it comes to getting good customer support, it’s always a good thing to be as nice as possible when asking for help.

Many times I will actually create a video and explain what I need help with, that way customer support knows that I am serious and that I don’t sound like an annoying and rude customer.

That part is up to you, but the overall ability to overcome challenges as an affiliate marketer will make or break you.

Remember, entrepreneurs are simply problem solvers, and you are doing the same thing when promoting affiliate offers.

Never forget that, and keep working on growing that problem-solving muscle.

6) Picking The Wrong Niches And Products To Promote

So we are now at the 6th biggest reason as to why most people fail when it comes to affiliate marketing. Finally, a reason that goes hand-in-hand with the methods and strategies of affiliate marketing.

For this reason, people simply fail because they choose to get started in the wrong niche, or on the other hand, they might pick the right niche but the wrong product(s) to promote.

Let’s start with picking the wrong niche. While there are going to be plenty of instances where you can make a specific niche work, there are also times where you’re going to want to avoid it like the plague.

For example, a beginner SEO affiliate marketer should no go anywhere near these niches:

  • Casinos.
  • Credit card stuff.
  • Most weight loss sub-niches.

Yet every now and then you’ll get a wet behind the ears affiliate bragging about how they are going to ‘dominate’ the credit card niche.

Little do they know that it is about as competitive as it gets, you need a massive budget, and you’ll need years of time before you even become a speckle in the eyes of that niche.

To give you a better idea of competition in this niche, you have websites such as:

  • Cnbc.com
  • Forbes.com
  • USnews.com
  • Bankrate.com
  • Businessinder.com

Heck even Nerd Wallet which I’ve even seen advertisements for them on TV, and I very rarely watch TV.

So this is an extreme example of picking the wrong niche (and overall attack) when it comes to affiliate marketing. It’s also another example where affiliate marketing can be extremely competitive.

Imagine if the person didn’t realize what they were up against? They would overall be wasting a ton of time, effort, and money.

On the other hand, you can pick the right niche but the wrong offer. When I refer to the wrong offer, I’m referring to products that come with a few problems such as:

  • Low paying.
  • Low converting.
  • High refund rate.
  • The product isn’t great overall.
  • It’s not evergreen (meaning it won’t be around for a long time).

I remember when I first started affiliate marketing, there was this offer that I was just over the moon for. It was a fantastic product, I got great results from it, but just no one wanted to buy it.

A few reasons why I only made one sale with this product include:

  • It had the worst sales letter.
  • There was nothing unique about it (no good hook).
  • The product name wasn’t sexy at all (also related to selling).

In a nutshell, you can love a product with all your heart, but that doesn’t matter if it doesn’t bring in any sales. No sales mean no commissions for you, and you’re going to be doing affiliate marketing for long if that’s the constant outcome.

7) Lacking The Ability To Expect Results In The Long Term

So here is the last reason why most affiliate marketers fail, and they’ve got their eyes on a quick fix and seeing fast results.

In other words, there is no long-term thought process when it comes to seeing results, and that is not a good thing.

With affiliate marketing, and many other online marketing strategies, big success stories don’t happen overnight.

Every now and then you’ll hear about marketers having these massive income days, but those are usually created on a foundation of the right actions taken over a long period of time.

I also notice this mistake in aspiring affiliates when they say something like this:

  • I’ve put so many hours into this!
  • I haven’t seen any results yet (a day after learning something).

It’s just the way a lot of the world perceives things to be nowadays. When you think about all the distractions that I talked about recently, just about all of them relate to instant gratification:

  • A new email notification.
  • A new text message notification.
  • Getting hooked on a new viral video.
  • Have a text message instantly pop up on your phone.

Don’t forget about ordering something online and having it delivered right to your doorstep, in less than 24 hours! It’s amazing just how quickly the world has become in terms of how things operate.

The bad news for you is that when it comes to affiliate marketing, is that you still need to put in the time and the work to make the magic happen.

So if you’re hellbent on seeing results as soon as possible, just know that it’s mostly not going to work that way.

Once again, this comes back around to where we started with the affiliate marketing mindset. There was a reason why I put that as the biggest reason as to why most affiliate marketers fail.

Wherever you go, there you are, and your mindset will never run from you. However, you can always change it for the better so that it be a benefit, as opposed to something holding you back.

What Percentage Of Affiliate Marketers Are Successful?

If I had to guess, I would say that only 10% of affiliates see a decent of of success when it comes to making commissions over a longer period of time.

Heck, 10% is being pretty generous in terms of success that affiliate marketers see.

You shouldn’t let this bring you down or discourage you from getting started with affiliate marketing though. I would say that this is pretty much true when it comes to all internet marketing strategies and methods.

It all comes down to how much you want it, as well as avoiding these costly mistakes that I talked about in the article.

Either way, thank you for taking the time to learn about why so many affiliate marketers seem to fail and give up.

I hope that you learned a lot from this article, especially if you read it all the way from the beginning to the end of it.

James Canzanella

A former personal trainer who went from unemployment to online business success. He's been marketing since 2012 and (still) enjoys lifting weights, listening to rock music, and relentlessly quoting movie lines.

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