“I’m Not Making Money… Why?” 7 Reasons Your New Affiliate Business Is Already Failing

Updated: May 10, 2022
by Ray Alexander

Particularly in the past couple of months, I have been receiving a staggering number of messages - well, about one or two a day ? but almost every day - that read "I'm not making money. How can I make it happen? How long will it take? What's the secret?" Mostly from new affiliate marketers and my short answer to most of them is, "you're not patient enough."

If you google the problem, you'll hit many sites that explain why most people fail to make money online. You don't have enough traffic... You're not fully committed... You're over analyzing the results... I agree with the majority of the points. But my version is based on my own past experience (and perhaps the current failing trials too). Affiliate marketing is hard, and it should be hard. It takes a lot of hard work to start making money online.

"I'm Not Making Money... Why?"

Reasons You're Not Making Money

Here are the reasons I think that you're not making money just yet, and many of them overlap each other because they're all based on the "trust" issue. I hope you'll see what I mean.

Reason #1: Expecting Quick Short-Term Results

My SEO keyword search tool tells me that every month, over 5,700 people google-search the phrase "make money online fast". So it's no surprise a lot of people are either looking to sort out their personal finance, or simply being impatient. 

If you're in financial trouble and need help, like you need to pay the rent by next Tuesday, the credit card bill's overdue, etc. Then you're totally wasting time looking for ways to "make money online". It's never gonna happen, nobody's gonna let you because nobody's a charity, you see.

You probably decided to start affiliate marketing because you can't find any job offers neither locally nor online? But affiliate marketing is a business, and it takes a lot of time, a lot of learning, testing, and failures before any kind of business starts to take off. It's one of the easiest business models to start, but it doesn't mean you can make money easy and quick. And even when you start earning income, it'll be a continuous process. If you don't want to hover around the start line, you need to understand this and have a long-term vision.

Reason #2: Promoting Wrong Products

"Wrong" as in "inferior". Many individual vendors come up with a new product every few months and sell it via affiliate marketplaces such as Warrior Plus, ClickBetter, JVZoo, etc... The products often turn out to be a rehashed version of a previously released one, but instead of naming it "version 2", they rename it as if it's brand new. They do this because they sell more copies this way. In fact, hardly any products sold via these marketplaces are innovative. 

I must emphasize that I'm not talking about all the vendors, but talking about many of them who sell similar products in a short cycle over and over again. They don't care because they're not the ones who sell them directly to the public. You as an affiliate are the one who makes recommendations. And while you keep recommending junk, you'll never gain trust from anyone, you see what I mean? You might trick the first-timers into buying one of those inferior products, but there's a good chance that they may never listen to what you say again.

So it's very important to check the seller of the product that you're promoting carefully - check what kind of products they've sold previously. If they seem to be "rinsing and repeating" similar products using similar sales pages, then that's a red flag.

Reason 3: Not Being Able To Explain The Products

I don't know how many times I've been invited to join various MLM schemes and try out new web tools without being explained what it exactly is. All they say would be "You'll receive up to 80% commission!" "Refer it to 2 people and you'll get $100 extra!" 

So I do my own research from scratch before making the decision whether to give it a try or not. But why should I? Why can't they entice me with their own words? 

What I mean is this. Don't be distracted by shiny objects (e.g. "80% commission! Great return!") And don't wave shiny objects to others, either. You make money when somebody pays for it, right? Don't sell something to others and encourage them to do the same just because it pays a good commission. Don't try to make money by promoting "making money" for the sake of it. You're not getting real people to trust you by promoting a "rob Peter to pay Paul" method. 

You see, what you should do in the first place is;

  • Understand the core product, and
  • Believe that the product is worth the money.

The scheme, program, membership, whatever it's called, should have a product (or service) and you're recommending that very product to others only because it's valuable. Those people should be benefitted by using that core product/service, and you should be able to explain it to them clearly. 

Reason 4: Running Campaigns Incognito

Running Campaigns Incognito

I have had literally hundreds of people who left a spam comment with a Bitly affiliate link, naming themselves John Smith, Emma Brown, etc... "I love your site! Have you heard about the latest program that makes $$$? Check this ==> Bitly..."

Well, spam comments, I simply don't approve them. But you see how they waste their time trying "luck" by doing it? Every marketing expert thrives to build their trust by being honest and true to their followers. Trying to promote affiliate products and hiding your identity at the same time is such a short-term strategy.

It doesn't matter how you look or what you say - as long as your personal views are relatable to users, they'll start looking up to you and buying products that you promote.

Reason 5: Targeting Wrong Audiences

  • Traffic exchange
  • Ad exchange
  • Entrepreneurs' community such as IBO Toolbox and LeadsLeap...and
  • Facebook "online business" groups. 

I wouldn't totally deny them because you'll at least get to see what other entrepreneurs are up to. But they're not your target audience. You'll be wasting time copying & pasting your sales copy because other members are too busy promoting their own. They are equally wasting their time, trying to connect with people who barely care about other businesses.

Cheap traffic services don't work either - if there's someone who claims to send, say less than 30 cents per visitor (i.e. charge you $35 or less to send 100 visitors to your page), the traffic is likely to contain bots and/or unresponsive visitors. Even expensive traffic services can be hit & miss, randomly targeting an audience who's not interested in your niche. Never buy cheap traffic!

I've mentioned about spam comments in the previous section, but spammers are the same. They don't know who they're targeting, and randomly keep pasting the same phrase anywhere they can think of, hoping for someone to click the link and make a purchase. That's a long shot.

Reason 6: Trying To Sell Rather Than Helping Others

Provide value to audience

In theory, if you have a good product in hand, you don't even have to try to sell it, right? But no one will know if you don't share that information. So you share. That's all you have to do, in theory. The question is how you can stay true to yourself and others. 

Here's one example; when you recommend something that you like to your friend (e.g. a great restaurant/movie/book that you discovered last week), you wouldn't make up a story. You tell them your genuine thoughts. Your friend will be convinced or not convinced by the way you tell them.

A different example; when you apply for a job, you send a resume to the employer. If you've been involved with recruitment, or have been a job candidate in the past, you know this. Employers are not interested in what you do or your previous job history because although relevant, they've probably seen hundreds of candidates with a similar portfolio. What you need to emphasize is what kind of value you've provided to your previous employers (to make their businesses a success).

You see what I mean, you need to do with your affiliate marketing business is to explain in your own words how the product helps you and therefore how it can help others in the same position as you. Don't try to sell like a salesperson. Give value and build a trust relationship with others, and the money will come naturally.

Reason #7: Relying On Others (Not Focusing on Learning!)

Focusing on Learning

I often get messages from affiliate marketing beginners who want to learn more about particular marketing methods or hear my opinion of some "make money" products. I'm more than happy to reply and help them as much as I can.

Sadly, I find a few typical patterns in the majority of their emails where I see why they're failing (not making money just yet).

Just Taking, Not Giving

They email back to me over & over again to keep asking different questions one after another. After 3-4 emails, when they've got what they want, they never come back (to thank me or say something, anything.) I have no problem with that. But what I know is that those people don't know how to how to treat others (me, in this case). No wonder they're not making money.

Not Serious Enough

They ask me a question. I respond within 3-12 hours. They email me back a week later to ask another question. It shows that they're not serious. If they had a passion for success, they'd be willing to invest a lot more time and effort. They'd take action much quicker. Agree?

Entirely Relying On Others

They ask me to coach them - thank you very much for trusting me, but I'm just a blogger, I don't offer a coaching service. But the reason they're not making money I think is something else. They haven't done any work or research themselves and try to rely on someone else from Day 1. 

It's good to have your own mentor. I had a mentor when I started an email marketing business. But it happened naturally - I was struggling to work out what I was doing wrong myself. So I contacted one of the experts to ask for advice, and he offered me a coaching service. His fee wasn't cheap, but I was determined to make the most of it, i.e. to make money using the skills I've learned from him.

Don't expect others to look after you from beginning to end, you'll have to start controlling your business on your own at some point. If you don't proactively work on it, you'll be pouring your money down the drain (and that'll be thousands of dollars, at least!)

7 Reasons Your New Affiliate Business Is Already Failing

So here's a quick wrap-up. You're not making money yet because;

  1. You're expecting quick results - you haven't established a trust relationship with your audience.
  2. You're randomly promoting inferior products - you'll be losing your reputation.
  3. You're not able to explain the benefit of each product clearly - people won't believe you.
  4. You're hiding your true identity - no one's buying from a stranger.
  5. You're targeting wrong audiences - beginner marketers waste a lot of time spamming each other.
  6. You're trying to sell rather than giving value - no one will appreciate your effort.
  7. You're not trying to learn proactively - it's your business. You need to learn to take full control of it.

Learn Affiliate Marketing at Low Cost

Plenty of decent online marketing training courses are available at relatively low cost. But we also still find a lot of courses that charge around $1,000 in advance. Expensive courses aren't necessarily better. In my opinion, you shouldn't be paying a lot of money all at once. You won't be benefitted over time, it's not worth it.

You shouldn't be buying a cheap training course package, e.g. a one-time fee of less than $50, either because it's very likely to be a collection of outdated YouTube videos with a couple of general guide textbooks. 

If you want to learn how to build a good trust relationship with your audience and start a sustainable business that genuinely helps others, join me from the link below and give it a try for free. It's up to you to decide whether this is for you or not. Good luck!

How I "Finally" Make Over $6,000 Monthly Income

"The most valuable thing I've ever done!"

About the author 

Ray Alexander

ASD. Recovering alcoholic. LGBTQ+ advocate. Semi-retired. 15+ years of web-designing experience. 10+ years affiliate marketing. Ex-accountant. I'm nice and real. Ask me if you need any help in starting up your home business.

Thank you for your Comments!

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  1. please help me sir, i am not making money and i need to help my family and my 2 children. is there something i can work with you? i need money by next month.

  2. Thank you for your advice to new affiliate marketers. I agree with all the points. Thanks to your blog, I am now making 6 figures now. If you are interested, please call me.

    1. Hi Will, I don’t think this post will help you or anyone make “6 figures” but thanks for your comment. Your contact detail has been removed to protect both of us. Why do you think you agree with all the points? Let us know to help our readers. Thanks, all the best!

  3. Hi,
    I hope everything goes well for you. We’d wish to contribute a SEO improvement to your affiliate website, and deliver you with a few points to alter content by professionals. Unique and thoroughly researched suggestions like DA analysis will be sent to you. Also, I am wondering what you think of extra investment options to add to your site. Are you interested in sharing your idea about this? Contact me so that we can discuss next steps. Best regards, and thanks for your time.

  4. very interesting insights thank Ray. But how can i pay extra for this? I paid my first 37 dollars now it’s asking me to pay monthly but I don’t know which sites.
    is the money guaranteed?

  5. Please help me fund my new affiliate business. I have 2 disabled children and my husband helped me until lately but due to pandemics he became heavily involved in drinking and gambling. He ran out of all the money and then ran off with another woman. I had to build up my life with my two children, moved into a smaller house and worked 14 hours a day. To top it all, our car is still in the parking space and I moved out but I can’t move the car out and our landlord is demanding the rent for the parking space. I was going to sell the car and couldn’t sell it because it was in my husband’s name and I don’t have a legal document with me. Sadly I can’t get hold of my husband and the car is still in the parking space. I am still working 12-14 hours every single day non stop without sleeping 24/7. My children are both crying non stop. Luckily we have some food and minimum money to pay the bills but our life is so hard. Please help me setting up my affiliate business because I don’t mind working more than 14 hours but I need to look after my disabled children so I need to work from home. If I can make some money with affiliate marketing I can take care of them while I am working. I need to know how I can do it urgently. Please help me as soon as possible.

  6. Thanks for sharing info. If you are not making money this info helps a lot to make affiliate business. There are a lot of reasons that you need to learn about.
    This page explains very well.
    Also surveys are good, please visit my site to learn how to use paid online survey sites to make a good amount of money. Thanks.

  7. Hello, thank you for all your advice. I am so impressed by the content, on how to make money and become successful with affiliate marketing business in the globe is so hard. I can understand why you are failing, as you have certain reasons for doing so.

    Having started my e-commerce site, I’ve experienced ups and downs. A lack of funds and sales prevented me from moving forward with my business, which led me to learn about affiliate marketing through books and online resources. I was so confused at first, since I have read so many false news articles about making millions on the internet. Now that I know it’s not true. It’s not fake news it’s the truth but there are other options besides affiliate marketing. What do you think of – and – ?

  8. I appreciate the valuable information you provided in this article. I totally agree with you. If someone complains that they are not making money, it shows that they only think about short-term results. Their fear of showing their faces might make them feel embarrassed, but they’re only being uneasy. There is no reason why they should be selling affiliate products secretly if they have nothing to hide.

    Overall, I think hiding is one of the reasons they don’t seem serious enough, which leads to them quitting. You have written a great post for people who want to start affiliate marketing from the ground up.

  9. Great post! I can learn a lot from your website. With a system like you have, you should not just keep writing blog content but you should also teach more people then you can make better money. You are knowledgeable you should be monetizing when you share your ideas.

    1. Hi Joel, thanks for your comment and the compliment! But I’m a blogger, I’m not good at teaching. Though if you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to ask at any time, I’ll try my best to answer as much as I can. All the best!

  10. I’m impressed by your assumptions.my biggest problem was that I was trying to rely on others too much and complained when I couldn’t make any money and was almost accusing the tutors of not teaching me the right way. I am more positive and proactive now that I am hoping to make a little more success to earn some extra money for Christmas. Thank you.

  11. Hi, I messaged you earlier on about the lack of funds because of the pandemic I am in deep trouble. If I don’t pay the rent me & my family will be evicted. I need to make urgently and am in need of advice from experts from you today. Please please, I am looking for a positive response as it is getting seriously desperate. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sian, I’ve replied to your other message. I’m sorry to hear that you’re in financial trouble. But you haven’t read the post – you can’t expect short-term profits online without investing a lot of time learning, investing some money to get the necessary tools and putting a lot of effort which will also take a lot of time. If you need money urgently, I suggest that you stop wasting your time searching online but go out and ask your local authority for help. I hope something will work out for you soon. I wish you all the best.

  12. Interesting article. I can see why so many people are trying to make money and fail. How about this article that I just stumbled upon, if you can fine tune your skills at shortest time anybody can make their dreams come true. Especially if they are new to making money online. As long as you can organize your day and focus on your work, there is no previous knowledge or anything special is required. We are a team of more than 30 people who can coach you from the beginning. Let me know what you think.

  13. Cyber cash world wide is the BEST BLOG in the making money online, I read it practically every day. I am so happy that I was able to find this site because the step by step method described there allowed me to earn the first pretty good money on the internet. I hope you will succeed too!

  14. Hi Ray, thank you for your advice. This is so useful. I have seen so many reviews by affiliate marketers that tell lies to make sales and I don’t know who to trust nowadays. I completely understand what you say about building trust. I’m guessing with all the problems happening in the world everyone is trying to make money and there will be more and more people who try to do anything to make money. I will follow your steps to be an honest affiliate as much as I can. Thank you for the valuable information, Ray. I am so grateful for this. Sam Kwong

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you agree. You may make less money by being totally honest to the audience in the short term, but as I said in the post, the money will always come naturally if you do your best to help others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sam, all the best!

  15. Thank you so much for the informative article. I need your advice as I am eager to learn affiliate marketing but am rather in an urgent situation. With the coronavirus pandemic I lost my job and I’m at a point where I need to do something to earn money for my family. I always wanted to get into affiliate marketing but have not had the chance due to the long hours I worked. I would like to learn more about your experience and any possibilities I’m interested in pursuing. With your vast experience with such an impressive blog content, I really feel I need to ask you to get a few moments of your time to teach me how to get started and what kind of platforms to use. I look forward to hearing a positive response from you as I feel desperate to get out of this bad situation. Thanking you in anticipation.

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear that you've lost your job, but as you may be aware, you cannot establish an online business overnight, or even over weeks or months. It's best to start sooner than later, so I still recommend you to take action now though. Join me from the link above and start learning the techniques, that's all I can suggest for now.

      Meanwhile, in order to "get out of the bad situation" – I'm afraid it's easier to find a local job… From my years of experience, I can guarantee that you can NOT make any quick bucks anywhere online. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but this is the reality. I really hope something will work out for you soon. I wish you all the best.

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