Five Reasons Why People Can’t Make Money Online

The common statistic that gets thrown around a lot is that 95% of people fail to make money online. It’s because of this that I often get asked what the secret to my success is.

I could give you my secret now. However, I think it’s better worth your time to know the main reasons why those 95% fail, so that you can avoid their pitfalls.

1 – Quitting Too Soon

I know a number of people who have made the effort to start something online. Then at the first hurdle they stumble, fall and walk away.

And that hurdle is different for everyone. It could be that they didn’t know how to create a web page or set up their autoresponder.

People don’t fail because they don’t know how to do something. They fail because they don’t figure out another way of getting that job done.

I’m not a technical guy. I don’t enjoy writing code or doing any form of programming. And don’t get me started on creating graphics. I don’t know how to do these things. But I’ve never let it stop me from moving forward.

For everything you can’t do, there will be a talented individual who can.

This should never be a reason to give up on your dream of making money online. There are plenty of places you can go to find the right people to complete tasks professionally and efficiently for you.

2 – Picking The Wrong Niche

Now there’s no such thing as a right or wrong niche. What I mean is that the niche you pick has to be right for you.

So many people get into this business and go for the biggest, most lucrative niche out there. But they have zero knowledge about it and absolutely no interest in it whatsoever.

As much as we talk about creating a passive income and living the dot com dream, the truth of the matter is you have to put in a lot of work before you reach that point.

If you’re not doing something you are passionate about, your time online is going to be painful and difficult.

3 – Thinking It Will Be Fast and Easy

It takes months to reach a stable income from online endeavors. Many people fail to realize that. Nearly every day I’ll receive an email from someone asking “How do I make money online?” What possible answer do these kinds of people expect from a question like that?

A one word answer that will solve all their problems?

I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. I earn $40,000 a month from my blog. But it still took me two years to reach that point. And it was during that time that I made mistakes, lost money, kept learning and continued to improve.

It was a bumpy ride. But I never quit. Every failure was a lesson that made me better.

Many people go out and buy a ton of products and expect to be making money overnight because of that purchase.

Making money online is neither easy nor fast, however it can be fun. I’ve always said that it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. Realize that you have to be consistent and committed. And most importantly, don’t give up.

Too much work, with no money
4 – No Planning

A lot of people rush into Internet marketing without an action plan. They have all these ideas that they want to implement but no system to follow.

So some do everything all at once and their business becomes one big mess. They aren’t able to focus their efforts properly, so in the end nothing is fully executed. Others do things in sequences that just don’t make sense. And they lose out on so much potential cash because of it.

You must plan your schedule ahead for the coming weeks and months. Figure out what your short term and long term plans are. Then write down all the steps you’ll be taking to achieve them.

The key to making money online successfully is to follow a proven system.

5 – Information Overload

With so much stuff available on the Internet, it’s tough to know where to start. Information is abundant, both free and paid. In truth, everything you need to know about making money online is online.

For a lot of people who are interested in earning an income from home, they take one look at the millions of websites, countless tips and tricks, products and programs and software, and they just get completely overwhelmed.

And here’s what happens.

They suffer from information overload.

Now I don’t blame these people for getting lost and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there. But this is the worst excuse to not being able to make money online.
Imagine that you needed to drive to a certain location but didn’t know the way. So you asked friends and checked your GPS. And you received multiple routes from different sources. Instead of logically going through the answers, trusting the most reliable source, looking for someone who had been there before who could help you, you give up and stay home.

It’s the same concept with making money online. Yes, there are a lot of products out there that promise riches and websites that promote different techniques and strategies. It’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

But there are also reliable sources of information from guys like me who have been around for ages and seen it all. If you’re still looking for a system that will get you proven results using time and tested methods, you could give my new program, IM John a whirl.

Don’t let a fear of getting lost stop you from leaving the house.

69 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why People Can’t Make Money Online”

  1. REKHILESH says:

    Yes really that’s the real truth behind the failure.. I have also some faults & today on wards i will try to fix mine.thanks for the great information. 🙂

  2. Alvin says:

    Wow. This is right on. I have been making money online after spending at least 4-5 months online.

    Now I’m a year 3 months since I first started, and I am making several hundreds a month.. small compared to many out there, but I am confident I am willing to put in the hard work and can make it big!

    Initially I failed to earn any income at all for the first few months even after learning IM for quite some time because I was basically just putting up random adsense sites on high paying adsense keywords (but which I have totally no knowledge nor interest in)

  3. Hi John,

    Points 1, 3 and 5 do resonate with me to some extent! Early in my career, I thought it was going to be very easy! All these promises– get rich quick programs– taught me clearly that nothing is easy and that there is a steep learning curve! However, that learning curve can be dealt with step by step.

    Information overload is another thing that can easily get someone off track and at some point I was just buying over and over again thinking “this is definitely THE RIGHT ONE” but failed to implement!

    I needed to find my calling so I chose to earn money by offering writing services and then learn the ropes by focusing on ONE product only. Also, making sure you check the product and the reputation of the person offering to teach you is paramount! I chose your product thanks to Tiffany Dow who did a really good review on your product.

    I also believe that massive action equals massive results and It applies to most things in life! Whilst planning is important, over-planning can be counter-productive too and that’s why I keep it to a minimum! I like that idiom ” Planning is good, but doing is better”!

    Great article anyway and all summed up clearly!

    Have a great day people!


  4. Mitch says:

    THis article is awesome, short, and to the point and something that many, or most people who are failing or will fail online will nod their head in agreement and then ignore every word of it. Along the lines of “content is King” where seemingly everyone says it but so few actually walk that walk.
    THe bottom line is making money online is no easier than making money with any other job, in fact in many ways it is more difficult as the hours that need to go in initially without seeing any kind of return can go on for quite some time. The advantages are of course is there is no ceiling on income, the business can become a passive source of income, and you work on your own schedule.
    I am not shamed to admit that I never made money my first two years I was online, of course I also never tried to make money during that time either but I also know that in my first month after deciding to monetize I made more in one month than most people ever make from their sites and in a lot of cases, many of those people combined. During my first year of monetizing I made more than many people will make in their lifetimes. I also put in 16-20 hour days every single day, I didn’t spend a lot of time with online courses or reading or spending big money on tech projects, I spent my time and effort on creating content and things which in hindsight have created the base my entire business still runs on.
    There is way more ways than my way to get it done but these five points are spot on, you should run this article once a month.

    1. Bill Keidan says:

      Thanks Mitch,
      Your comment is almost as valuable as John’s original 5 statements – it gives valuable validation to what he says from your own experience.

    2. kim says:

      sounds like real situation and not over hyped.

  5. Vkool says:

    Most of the people think that making money online is easy and they all come to making money online with very high passion and expectation, but making money online is much harder than most of them expect, it takes time to build an actual business and YES it takes even more time to build a successful online business!

  6. Blair says:

    Great article. Great point about picking the right niche. If you are not interested in the niche you pick, don’t go there! I have spent so much time working with niches that I thought I was interested in and the quickly lost interest. Find one you like and stay with it.
    Thanks for the advice.

  7. Yes, i am agreed with you that people quit soon from make money online. They don’t understand it’s like setting up your own business but on internet. We have to invest time & money both. We have to see up’s and down. The main problem is that most of the people think make money online as part time option but i suggest if you seriously want to earn money online you must give your valuable time to setting it up first. Thanks John for again sharing such a wonderful information.

  8. Paul Friar says:

    I am guilty of all five of those reasons for failure at one time or another, but if I am truly honest then number 1 is the reason I am most guilty of, and if others are honest that’s the probably the reason most of them fail too.
    It is just too easy for many of us with our (usually fairly) comfortable lives to persevere when the going gets tough, but with enough applied effort and focus on what feels right for you it is possible to see small amounts of ongoing progress on a regular basis.

  9. Scott Pruitt says:

    Thanks John, Once again you have provided valuable insight. My site has been live for a little under 2 months, and in that time I have yet to see any significant income. However I don’t intend to quit and I find your articles inspiring, encouraging and very practical.

  10. Kael says:

    The whole concept of stopping too early is so applicable to me right now. I feel that I don’t have enough traffic so I should just give up because my product isn’t good enough. Patience is such a challenge.

    I guess I will stick with the motto ” Persistence Breaks Down The Walls of Resistance”

  11. Erwin says:

    Hi everyone,

    you are absolutely right John, you’ve named just the big five reasons but there are much more.
    The one which is missing in my opinion is procrastination I struggle with this the most but I’m overload with information, too.

    And I hope I will not let the one which is saying quit halfway to stop me. The road is long and hard but I’ve just started and I know I need help but if I will plan right I will get when I want.

    Thank you and see you on top.


  12. Thong Huu says:

    Making money online is a business, that business is not easy, everyone should be thinking first successful … This explains why people fail, I find thinking success through personal development books

  13. Hi John! Another valuable post. Another solution available to frustrated people trying to figure out how to make money online is to find a mentor, someone whom has already achieved that which the frustrated person wants to achieve and start learning how to do what the mentor has done. That is what I did and continue to do. I discovered you and your systems and I am learning and applying what you teach. I discovered you from Charlie Page and I am learning and applying what Charlie teaches. Find someone whom has the success one is looking for and then follow their footsteps.

  14. Charles says:

    Five reasons? John, in my case, I can give you 105 reasons. Your first reason is the most important – Quitting too soon. I am not about to quit. You did it – so can I. As far as your secret is concerned, I admire you for your position. I’d rather work at it and figure out the secret on my own, This will result in my building a more solid business. Do you agree?
    As always, thanks. Looking forward to reading more from a master.

  15. sandi says:

    This is true success does not come overnight.
    Some faults about which you wrote I was doing, too.

  16. Edson Hale says:

    I think people who can’t adopt a dot com lifestyle cannot become successful in any field related to internet. What is dot com lifestyle; it is a way of living to work online wherever you are; you awake and before getting up check the updates on your ipod; you sit on breakfast table and start checking emails and reply them. hence you must be online either you are happy, sad, bored, lazy or active; your online working should become your second nature. On the contrary if you want to do online work from that time to this time I think one should better search any other work where you may be online but for a specified time.

  17. It takes time and it requires a lot of patience before you make money on the internet, most people fail because they change the target all the time and trying to copy everyone else, nothing new for the buyers.

  18. Bill Keidan says:

    The advice of a master to his pupils is always deeply appreciated, The Chinese saying seems to fit your conception also, “A stone is not polished without much rubbing and a man is not perfected without many trials.” Thank you John, and keep on giving us the benefit of your advice.

  19. MONA says:

    Hi John
    Consider this ;some of the richest people weren’t experts or tech wizards in their field of success.Knowledge is definitely an advantage,but never a disadvantage.Especially so when you can be creative & think out of the box.
    You don’t necessarily have to keep stumbling over your incapacity on your way to success;particularly if you are focussed .You can always enlist help,you can always approach others for the extra shove.
    Rockfeller said,”I would rather earn 1% of 100 people’s efforts… than 100% of my own efforts.”

  20. faisal says:

    Patience is so important, its just impossible to say.

  21. GIuseppe says:

    I think people is stressed by dayly needs so that can’t wait the long time a site becomes popular, That why they give up

  22. john lee says:

    I think point number 5 – information overload is the number one killer out there on the web and it resonates why people quit. As you mentioned there are millions of free tips and tricks out there on the web and if a person is not laser focus on what he or she is searhcing for the informtion will overwhelmed the person. This will eventually lead people to quit because they can’t get anything done right and then they frustrate themselves.

    I have done that myself and learn it the hard way. There are thousands of opportunities out there but you will just have to pick one or two that you are passionate about and have a good system in place.

  23. Son Pham says:

    Thank’s John. I learned how to make money online for a long time. I do get some time and I failed. But now I start again from scratch. I will try to implement your plan.

  24. Abhik says:

    That was an awesome read, John. Really enjoyed it.
    However, in my opinion, a little technical knowledge (coding/designing/optimization/server management) in Blogging could save you tons of money in long go and prove to be a life saver.

  25. Dragos says:

    Not very many people have the courage to become their own boss.
    Please think about the following things:
    If you think it’s good to choose a life of making savings living modestly.
    Think of it if you have the power to start your own business.
    Think if it would be better that before starting your own business, to work in the field you are interested in.
    Think of the level of knowledge you have about a computer: do you have enough information or need to learn?
    Think about your health: begin to build a good physical shape and eat healthy?
    Think of it as before starting any work is to put everything on the paper, i.e. to make a plan of action.
    Think of how you could turn this plan into a business plan and who could you check to help.
    If you believe that you can carry on the conditions above, sure you will be successful.

  26. Glad I decided to click your link this morning, because if there’s one thing that I’ve notice about this whole making money on the internet is that I enjoy the journey despite the fact that i haven’t seen dramatic results yet

    1. Bill Keidan says:

      Yes, that’s a great point Svetlana, it fits another famous Chinese saying – ” It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.” Or in the symbolism of the story of “The Wizard of Oz” all the missing faculties of the participants were found on the journey as they struggled to get to the great Oz, who they thought would tell the. Actually, they had the potential within themselves and the journey brought it out.

      1. That was really reassuring Bill..Since you put it that way I’m going to keep on keeping on until I reach the OZ 🙂

        1. Bill Keidan says:

          Yes, Svetlana,
          In one form or another it comes down to us in traditional wisdom, mythology, art or literature as “The Hero’s Journey”. In our generation Intenet Marketing is one such journey because it gives the opportunity of financial liberation, which might be used to help in the wider spiritual journey. John Chow in the Internet Marketing journey is a modern hero who is very worthy of our respect. Best wishes to you on your journey to Oz – remember never give up – that is the essence of the hero – be brave and never give up trying.

  27. Laila says:


    You write so well and everything you said is true. John, you are such an eloquent person that I simply adore listening to you speak in the videos that you’ve posted. Please make more so that I can absorb all that you are.

    I love your site so much. You always put up such useful information that it inspires me to work everyday.

    In fact, a lot of the time, I’ll read through your site for the first few hours of my workday just to gather all your precious words.

    Lots of love,
    Laila (PS my colleague Dylan who is really shy says “Hi!”)

  28. Dan says:

    Great post.I have been through all in this post.Learning from all my mistakes.I need a system to follow.

  29. Hi John, I can’t agree with your first point, i.e ‘Quitting Too Soon’. I have seen that few persons fail to earn online money even they were slow and steady. 🙁

  30. Pat says:

    I can see how people are easily led to the idea that they can make lots of money in a very short time. When I receive emails with headlines that say “How I made $30k in just 3 minutes…” and others like it, it does create that illusion of instant gratification. It’s no wonder that people give up too soon.

  31. Kent says:

    So true. I kind of guessed this was what I would read when I clicked the link to get here, but I thought I would give it a read just to give me some daily motivation.

  32. fred says:

    I agree with what you say, particularly the first point. I think that the most discouraging aspect of internet marketing for beginners is getting traffic.


  33. Mary Kathan says:

    I like your point about going with a trusted source… took me awhile to actually find a trusted source when I started because it is hard to tell when you are brand new.

    Mary Kathan

  34. Hello John, you are right about those things why people fail to make money online. But aside from those things you mentioned, procrastination and failure to concentrate on one niche in my experience, are a couple of reasons why I don’t succeed online.

  35. Adrian says:

    Great post John very truthful and informative.You did not sugarcoat anything.

  36. Nathan Segal says:

    Thanks for the post. You reiterate many of the same points that so many of my marketing colleagues make. After reading your book and some advice from a friend, I decided to turn my old blog into a money maker. It’s been about three weeks and not much happened, except for a traffic spike that sent my traffic up over 400% and an email from a woman asking me about advertising.

    It’s not much, but my intention is to blog every day, work on building my email list and give people high value content. Along the way, something will happen, maybe several things and we’ll see how it goes. One thing is for sure, I intend to keep blogging.

    Thanks for the post.

  37. Brian Hosier says:

    Many thanks for the reminder of these 5 simple points. Even modest success does NOT come easy and posts like this help us to stay committed and keep doing what we need to do. Our site has been up for about 7 months and we are still in the building phase with no real revenue. However, I know that failure is not an option and we will never quit our IM business. John, you are an inspiration and I heard you speak several months ago at one of the local Vancouver meetups – Internet Masterminds Group. Thanks for sharing and helping us all be successful.

  38. Ariella says:

    Hi John,

    I agree completely with this post and love it’s straight forwardness… however, I have to admit that I have yet to follow through with my online business ideas. The main problem for me is that my passion is a small niche that has few potentials for online products… gardening. Really, who’s gonna buy an ebook on gardening? It’s one of those things that is best taught in person. I keep hoping that I’m wrong though… any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!

  39. I would be willing to bet that #5 Information Overload, creates #1 Quitting too Soon.

    All 5 points but for someone new, the amount of information can be daunting.

    Great post !

  40. Joseph says:

    wow!…. i have a complete mind to start an online business now. At first for all i thought of was this overnight riches. But i now understand the soul point in online business. i am in to give it a hot

  41. Marcie says:

    When I started blogging, it was just something to do. After a while, I started seeing a pattern of topics I enjoyed. Now, I’m working on a plan to grow and generate a cash flow from my efforts. So, I would have to go with #4.

  42. Glenn says:

    This is vitally important information. Planning, remaining focused and not quitting too soon is so, so important. In fact, the majority of hurdles that we face are of our own doing.

    Never settle for second best, never give up, follow good advice such as what’s given here and you’ll get the results you desire.

    P.S. John, I absolutely love this: “Don’t let a fear of getting lost stop you from leaving the house”. Fantastic! 🙂

  43. great post . but the time also matters. when you started blogging it was not that many who were blogging and you aslo picked the good niche which is never ending niche ” how to make money online”

    1. John Chow says:

      That’s just an excuse. When I started blogging, there wasn’t anywhere near the support material today. WordPress was still just a blogging software and not a full CMS. Plugins were limited, as was ways to monetize the blog.

      Before the blog, I got the same excuse from people saying that I had the advantage because I started making money online in 1998. Well, back then there was no Google and you have to create everything yourself. My first CMS cost me $3,000 and it’s not even 1/100 of what WordPress can do today.

      The truth of the matter is, you have a way better chance of making money today than when I started. You just have to see it as an opportunity and not a problem.

  44. James says:

    These are all very true, quitting too soon and information overload are biggies. I have never been a whiner but being faced with the challenges of third parties is my biggest hurdle. There’s the google slap, spam issues, penguin and panda, all for the betterment of the internet as a whole, but it is certainly (cue music) “Hard out here for a marketer.” My biggest heartbreaker was when Amazon cut my home state out of their affiliate program due to tax laws; followed by getting Youtube account banned. I keep on truckin’ though.

  45. SELaplana says:

    I actually did not quit but I am not sure what niche I chose. Besides, I also lacks planning.

    So, I think, you’re right. Because I am guilty of some things you have enumerated above, then there are the reason why until now, I have not succeeded.

    I still consider my way of making money online a failure.

  46. Bernadette says:

    Wow you got great comments,
    how do I get people, this one person or group from spamming my blog? What do they get out of spamming?

  47. Dhruv Bhagat says:

    I have seen so many newbies want to earn money but they end up quitting in few months..

    Working towards a goal is the most preferable in building your future 🙂

    If you want to be successful, you don’t need to afraid from failures..!!

  48. Naphtali says:

    I agree with you, John Chow. Successful bloggers are usually successful because they enjoy doing what they’re doing, and they know what they’re doing. I used to think that the internet is a bed of roses, but for three straight years, I only spent money. Apparently I made my first dollar online this year. I think I figured out why I failed to make any buck through out those years. It’s because I knew nothing about the niche that I was in, I didn’t like the niche either.

  49. Rory says:

    I’m at Day 8 of of the IM John Chow program now and I’m more determined than ever not to quit. You have a great product John and I’m very grateful to have you as a mentor.

  50. Ryan Bruno says:

    Great article with information that is very relevant to my situation.

  51. Great post John,
    thank you for sharing details,
    will follow your advice


  52. Inaction is another one in my opinion. Failure to execute on plans is they key to failure. Ideas are great, but until you action it, nothing happens.

  53. sumit sharma says:

    i am agree with your points, even i am struggling on website as to make money online i purchased lots of products online but could not succeed on making money online. even i have a blog but now i am struggling for traffic to my website some says go for adwords but it costs much. so can you suggest me, how to get traffic.

  54. yes you are absolutely right and i agree with you thanks for sharing this

  55. Sarah A says:

    #4 sounds familiar for me 🙂

    I will complete you article with #5. They don’t work enough!

  56. Steven says:

    This is very true my friend and i agree alot of people often struggle on making money online because it is often very difficult to do so. I guess the real hard part is LEARNING how to do things because the online world if kind of like a mistery if you do not know what you are doing. My best advice is to find yourself a good mentor who is actually making money and follow him. Learn from people who are where you would like to be at instead of buying countless courses..

  57. Humphrey says:

    Hello John,

    Thanks for highlighting that it takes work to earn money online. I believe that once many people start to realize that they will begin to plan, work their plan, and finally earn steady income.

  58. It does take work and it also takes mentors. I did not earn a dime until I started following mentors who are already making the kind of money you want to make.

  59. Sonali says:

    Making money online can take lots of time but when the time has been invested, its basically running on auto mode with not too much effort.

  60. Fantastic! This certainly is a remarkable editorial you’ve written. Many thanks for spending some time to lookup your ideas and confirm the theory you have recommended. I’m likely to discuss this page with my subscribers, and I’ve ear marked your site to guarantee I am in position to to help keep active on your area of interest. Ive significantly took pleasure in looking through what your page penned right now, and I am hopeful for so much more down the road.

  61. I enjoyed this because you said all the right things that apply trusthfully.

  62. This is very well done. Quitting too early is the problem I most frequently see. It is possible to make money online! It just takes work and perseverance. It isn’t an overnight deal. The key to making money online is knowing your field, and knowing it well. There are many options for making money online, to really make a living, you have to

  63. Meliisa Harris says:

    lol I know! but that would be nice too! They make decent money.

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