Why is Affiliate Marketing so Hard? Is it Worth The Effort?

Having been involved in affiliate marketing for over a decade and doing it full time, I can tell you it is NOT an easy industry to break into and succeed. It is VERY hard, but in my experience, the reason it is that way is for 2 main reasons, which if you correctly address, will almost undoubtedly ensure that you will not fail.

why is affiliate marketing so hard

I decided to write this article because I get a lot of private messages from people who struggle in this business and no matter how many times I try to steer them in the same direction I went to, in order to reach success, they still come back to me in droves and re-ask me the same things.

Although it can be frustrating for me to have to say the same things to the same person/s over and over, I remembered that when I first started, I was almost like this and it wasn’t until one of my internet marketing mentors from Wealthy Affiliate set me straight that I finally listened and did what he told me to do. 

Anyway, let’s get down to the main reasons why affiliate marketing is hard:

Some of these reasons will be tough to accept, but they are true:

Reason 1: You are the reason it is as difficult as you think.

I honestly don’t care if I offend anyone by saying this, but it has to be said. At least half the people I run into who find this industry “impossible” to succeed in are those who typically have the following “excuses”:

Reason 2: People looking to succeed at affiliate marketing don’t want to work hard.

Well pardon me, but there is no way anyone will succeed anywhere without hard work and will power. When people message me and ask me about “quick” ways to earn money online, the context in which this question is asked implies that they are lazy and have no intention of putting in much work.

9 out of 10 times, when I dig deeper, give them a strategy to follow, they still return with the same type of message and that shows me that they don’t want to put in the work, they just want something easy.

One thing I have noticed in life is that those who want things easy, fail easy and have to learn the hard lesson that this is NOT how it works. 

For example, I have an article in which I discuss how long it takes to succeed in internet marketing (or affiliate marketing, it’s the same thing in many scenarios).

I also wrote this article in which I tell people that they should aim to write 50, high quality articles before they can expect traffic to their website and even initial profits to pour in.

But I linked and talk about these 2 articles here specifically because when people who do not want to work hard, ask me how to quickly make money and I link them to those articles with the answer, they are in MOST cases simply too “overwhelmed” to even consider writing that much. They aren’t prepared and I would go as far as to say, they just don’t want to do it.

I’m sorry but this is the way this business works. You have to put in the work before it pays you back.

An the strategy outlined in the above 2 articles is in my opinion one of the most stable ways to make a living online. I have done it several times throughout different websites and I can assure you, this works. One of my websites grossed $70k last year from doing this and working hard on it (see case study).

I now reap the rewards of my efforts because I worked hard. You can too if you do this.

Reason 3: Struggling affiliates get distracted easily and head in the wrong areas. 

I had someone private message me just the other day who decided to give affiliate marketing another go.

However, as I was reading this message, there was a feeling that the person was in a rush, had no specific idea of what to do, and most importantly (and this is the main point of this reason), their attention span was diluted all over the place and they were asking me about marketing on social media, YouTube, Google, Bing, ect…

In short, my point is that a lot of people, in an effort to make quick money look ALL over the place to do it and they want me to give them quick tips on what to do to succeed in each area.

However, there is a CENTRAL problem with this way of thinking and I have pointed this out before in a blog post on Wealthy Affiliate.

The basic idea was that when a person is in a rush to succeed and lacks the knowledge of what success looks and feels like, they’ll dilute their attention all over the place rather than focus on one thing and by doing so, they are basically spreading themselves thin in their efforts and attention, like an octopus.

You NEED to focus on one thing. In affiliate marketing, I say it again and again, find 1, JUST 1 strategy that works and put ALL your effort into it. And guess what? 

If you need further proof, here’s simple mathematical evidence to support my point, straight out of the same article on Wealthy Affiliate I wrote:

Now in this analogy, I talk about focusing on multiple websites vs 1, but the same can be said of someone who has their attention on different ways to succeed online. The more their attention divides into different strategies, the less attention they can focus on 1 that’s guaranteed to work.

Even if ALL the strategies you focus on can work, you will STILL dilute your efforts by not focusing on one, and that’s the point I want to make.

Reason 4: The “shiny objects” distract you from reality.

By shiny objects, I am talking about the endless internet marketing programs which say they’ll help you make easy money, quickly. 

Never, and I really mean that, NEVER have I ever run into a get rich quick program that actually worked quickly. In fact, I did NOT succeed for the initial few years of affiliate marketing simply because I was chasing these false products one after another. 

As long as my focus in reason 1 above of wanting to make quick money was mixed together with reason 2’s shiny objects that promised it, I was stuck in the endless cycle of failure and I know a great deal of people who are still stuck there looking for a solution. 

I guess the lesson here is NOT to trust the shiny objects you find online.

Again, I will tell everyone reading this to follow only 1 program that teaches a good way to do affiliate marketing. It is easy to read and understand it’s tutorials, but it is hard to put in the work. That will ultimately depend on YOU:

My final thoughts:

When you analyze my main 2 points, you should ideally come to the conclusion that internet (affiliate) marketing is hard because:

1) People complicate it for themselves by looking for easy ways to understand and do it. 

2) People want things done for them, so they look at shiny objects that claim to have that solution.

You absolutely have to eliminate this way of thinking if you are going to succeed in this business. These are all mirages for a lack of a better work.

So is it worth it?

For me the answer is yes and if you want to see my personal proof of how I made my success in this business, read this complete guide on affiliate marketing.

Consider that you follow my 2 points and remove them from your efforts and way of thinking. Now you’re ready to sit down, work and succeed. But in doing so, will the ACTUAL process of working hard, actually…be hard? 

The answer is yes, but only in terms of execution. When your mind is filtered out and focused on the right way of succeeding as I have shown you here, it’s only a matter of physically putting in the work to match the intent you’ve set. 

In my case, when I finally figured out that those 2 reasons above were stopping me from success and I finally sat down and followed what works, it took time, but by working step by step, day by day, I eventually grew my knowledge, my website and my success little by little and it snowballed into a FULL time income. 

I guarantee you that if you follow this too and leave the mirages out of your mind, you can do this too. So yes, I would absolutely say that affiliate marketing is worth the effort because now I have my own business, I can travel and work whenever.

I have built my own nest and continue to grow it because of the MASSIVE opportunities this business has when you get it right and I have shown you HOW to get it right. 

I do want to hear from you all and if you agree with what I said distracts people from success. If you have a personal story on what was personally stopping you from succeeding in this business (or have questions), that you’ll leave them below. 

I really want to help as many people as possible get over this hump that is affiliate marketing. Too many people fail at this and make it A LOT harder than it really is. Take the regressive way of thinking out of the equation and you will make this business A LOT easier for you to succeed in!

6 thoughts on “Why is Affiliate Marketing so Hard? Is it Worth The Effort?”

  1. I am a newbie presently pursuing my dream in affiliate marketing. You have given me great assurance and I am pumped up and ready to work hard. I have only written about 20 articles, so I have a long way to go for 50. In getting there, I will not let the shiny objects be a deterrent. I have had enough of them and will no longer be looking in their direction.

    My focus right now is to stick with Wealthy Affiliate. I believe with all my heart that following the training that they offer is way above any other. I appreciate your advice in this great article. As a newbie, how many articles would you suggest I write each week?

    • 2-3 a week is good, but once a day is best Carol. And the fact that you already have 20 articles is a great start. You’re a lot closer to being successful at affiliate marketing than you think and the fact that you’re in WA already makes this much more likely.

  2. Love this post. I totally agree with you. It has also been my experience that many potential affiliate marketers are looking for the easy way to success and really do now want to work for it. It all comes down to their “why”. If their why is strong enough, they will work hard. It is not exactly hard, but it does take work as we know.

    • Glad we agree Ralph! I find a lot of people tend to be lazy about a new business like internet marketing and make excuses for not learning it. However, reality always corrects this, no matter how many times. 

  3. This was a very interesting article and one that anybody that is just getting into the online business should read. Amazing advice and if it takes hard work to get what I want out of this I will appreciate it more. I was going to create another website but I’v been naturally devoting all my energy into one and after reading this I will continue to do so.

    5 to 6 months is a little bit long to see any results at all. I’m not expecting too much but $300 a month after working hard for 1 or 2 months would be great in letting me know I’m progressing.

    • Hi Max, the real way you can tell if you’re growing isn’t just by the sales, but by the growth of traffic, comments and activity on your site. When you see that and can improve it by working further and harder, you will eventually see the profits and they will grow too. 


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