Why I Left Clickfunnels – And Why I’m So Glad I Did

About a year ago I joined Clickfunnels in order to grow my membership program with a new membership marketing funnel. I loved the ability to test funnels quickly and to get my landing and sales pages up. The challenge came in the actual delivery of the membership site and their lack of support.

Since then, I have migrated my site over to this Clickfunnels Alternative.

Biggest Problem : Poor User Experience

First and foremost, the member’s area doesn't allow you much, if any, customization at all. There's no deep linking URL's to the different modules and lessons. Overall, it was a poor user experience for me.

Before leaving, I did do a video where I showed inside my Clickfunnels membership site, which you can watch here, if you would like.

Unfortunately, The List Just Kept on Growing

When I added the search function to the member's area, it crashed the site. I reached out to their support and was told, “We'll work on it at some point.” And after 2 months, it never got done.

Some of my paying customers were getting locked out of their membership. For some reason.

people with an active membership subscription would simply find their access canceled by Clickfunnels – even though they were still on a monthly subscription.

I physically went to their support team while at their live seminar and sat down to show them the problems I was having.

Seriously, I had to physically go to them because they weren't responding via e-mail or they said, “No, that's on your end. Oh, that's not our problem.”

It’s that kind of ‘pass the buck’ support that really aggravates me as a customer.

The Financial Impact

Though they did a temporary fix for me on this glitch, it was never fully resolved.

The final straw was when I found out that dozens, possibly hundreds, of people had access to my membership content but didn’t have an active subscription. Or, if they did, their subscription was canceled.

For some reason, Clickfunnels did not pick this up and continued to give them access. Some people for over a year! It's $444 dollars per year per person.

I've found over ten thousand dollars that have been dropped by Clickfunnels. From my research, it looks like there are more people in that same situation. So, I decided that was it. Once it hit my pocketbook and it was financially affecting me, it was worth it to move.

Plus, people were getting access my content for free and as a membership site owner that’s not ok. Clickfunnels doesn't accidentally give their software to people for free!

Moving websites in content management systems is always really challenging. It's a last resort. But I had reached that point.

So, where did I move to?

I moved to a WordPress based system that allowed me to replicate that membership funnel in WordPress. After dealing with their lack of support, I realized I needed to be in a situation where I could hire developers and be in control.

I needed to be the captain of my ship. I don’t want to be a passenger on someone else's ship that’s going to a destination that isn’t where I want to go.

I'm using Thrive themes in WordPress. Thrive is fantastic for building the funnels on the front end but you also have their apprentice system. Check out the link in the video.


The Benefits of Thrive Themes

Thrive allows you to create a module and lesson based layout. Now, I have different modules and lessons for each of the products that are opened up new members.

I've got a search function that will deploy people directly to the lessons that I want them to go to. Plus, I'm working on adding a forum and playing with the look in order to make it a great user experience.

When our customers are paying $37.00 a month, or $1.30 per day, I take that very seriously. I want to make sure that they're getting the best possible experience. That’s why we've spent over two and a half months developing our theme.

There are ten different people who worked on it.  We hired migration specialists and spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to make our migration a well-thought out idea.

Thrive Cart

I'm using Thrive Cart, which is a very simple shopping cart that allows me to run my funnel. My particular funnel starts with an opt-in, then moves to a dollar trial, to a membership, to an annual upsell. Check out this video on our funnel. It’s working very well for us right now.

Active Campaign & ActiveMember360

For access, I'm using ActiveCampaign combined with Active Member 360.

ActiveCampaign is an e-mail management system that is tagging based. It's similar to Infusionsoft (which I don't recommend) but it's very simple to use. It’s also very user-friendly.

The plugin uses the tags that are inside of active campaign to decide whether a specific user has access to certain content. A new user will get access to week one. Then, when their week trial is over, they get access to month one.

A user who's six months in can make their next payment and then get access to month number seven. All of that drip content is done very intelligently through Active Campaign and Active Member 360.

No Looking Back

It was intense to make this move…. And I enlisted the help of Dave from Integrate Pro to manage the migration and help with all the bits and pieces of the new integration.

He is a badass and I can't recommend his membership site integration help enough!!!

All in all we moved the platform, content management system, email management, and theme. And I'm so happy and thankful that I did. We’re building a membership system and a long-term business.

I'm now on a platform where I can continue to add functionality. That's really important to me. I highly recommend creating an option that is not based on click funnels. They let me down and it has cost me thousands of dollars and months of my time.

The Bottom Line

If you're trying to sell an e-book or have a simple course with three modules and four lessons in each module, Clickfunnels is going to work perfectly. It also works well for one-time products.

All in all, I think Thrive theme is a better option because you have full control. It does require some WordPress skills and possibly bringing on a WordPress developer.

Luckily, you can find WordPress developers in the Philippines, India, and eastern Europe for $5 to $10 per hour. And, they're really good at what they do. Upwork.com is a great place to find freelancers too.

I committed to the process, and now that I’m on the other end, I'm thankful I did. If you're just starting a membership system, consider going straight to Thrive themes and a WordPress plugin to manage that access.

I'm happy to answer any of your questions in the comments if you have them.

At this point, the membership system is working brilliantly. I'm really excited about the future.

About the Author Miles

Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.

Leave a Comment:

Hristo Kolev says February 9, 2017

Hey, I’ve tried to look at ThriveCart but I can’t find any info about pricing or how to acquire it, is it a self-hosted solution or a platform?

    Miles says February 11, 2017

    It is a hosted platform that they mange, like SamCart and their cart is closed right now because they are rolling out some changes before they do their official launch…

Quentin Pain says February 12, 2017

I just got ActiveMember360 on your excellent recommendation above because I also use Thrive and Apprentice and have tried pretty much every other membership software out there – all with varying degrees of success (s2Member being the most solid – but massively lacking in the Cart department – so I got ThriveCart too!).

The only problem I’m encountering is that Thrive Apprentice Lessons and Pages don’t show up with the ActiveMember360 page options. Did you also find the same thing? And if so, how did you get around it? Thanks for any pointers Miles. It’s honest blogs like yours that make the internet a good place.

    Miles says February 15, 2017

    Sorry it took me so long to reply, but glad to see that you got it figured out from your other comment. Two resources for you since you’re moving in this direction… Number one find the Facebook group for active member 360! Very helpful people and very helpful discussions in their. Number two is my friend Dave at http://www.integratePro.com he truly managed this integration and migration for me so he has a really good understanding of how apprentice and active member and thrive cart all work together. If you hit any serious roadblocks and want a hired gun to come sort that out for you, Dave is your guy! Be sure to let them know Miles sent you so you get the white glove treatment and he’ll usually be willing to get on the phone with you for 15 to 30 minutes just to see if he can even help and his rate is incredibly reasonable for the value he brings.

Quentin Pain says February 13, 2017

It’s OK Miles. I figured it out. There is an option to turn on Thrive Apprentice pages and lessons in the Utility section of ActiveMember360.

Lawrence Earl says February 13, 2017

What are you using as the LMS after Activemember360? LearnDash? Do I understand correctly that AM360 handles the membership levels, payments, access, and the LMS/Learndash provides the actual structure of the courses/modules/lessons?

I’m in a Clickfunnels trial right now and have a Rainmaker site already, looking to add other sites so need to know how to piece it all together instead of another RM site if an alternative to Clickfunnels

    Miles says February 15, 2017

    I’m using Thrive themes’ apprentice feature… Learn Dash was a top contender, but from the design standpoint my wife liked what we could do with Thrive themes better. You are really close in your understanding of how it all works together. One tweak is that Thrive cart handles the payments and integrates with active member 360 an active campaign. Other than that you’ve got it! If you’re moving in this direction and want help on the tech side I highly recommend Dave from http://www.integratePro.com as he is the one who helped me get this working and really structured the marketing stack for me. He’s a great guy very trustworthy and incredibly smart when it comes to integrations… And an incredible value! Let him know Miles sent you if you reach out he’d be happy to help

Roy Rains says March 3, 2017

to be clear, You do not need a hosting service like hostgator, etc ?

    Miles says March 6, 2017

    If you are on Clickfunnels, no… You don’t need hosting. If you are on Thrive/Wordpress like I explain in this post, yes… You do need hosting. Here is who I recommend: http://www.milesbeckler.com/hosting

Barry Rodgers says March 6, 2017

Interesting stuff. I have a Thrive Cart account but have found that the only membership solutions that profess any integration (not native in TC – that is lamentable and hasn’t changed in the last 12 months) do not work properly. Namely Everlesson and Membersonic Pro.

The idea of just using tags is one I need to get my head round. When someone buys, I can see how a tag is added in AC and I can see that a tag can be removed if they refund or stop payments. I have a couple of questions, if I may…

What is the customer experience? When they buy I assume you set a welcome email but do they have to create an account for themselves with the membership plug-in?

What happens when someone’s payment fails (not cancelled)? Is there a tag that can be applied to lock them out until a successful payment is made and then removed when it goes through and ensure they pick up where they left off in the drip?

Are content and pages that are not yet available only become visible when the member has reached the drip time?

Sorry to bother you with this but it looks like you have found a solid workable solution using Thrive Cart and that is exactly what I am looking for before I start porting products over and creating new ones.


    Miles says March 6, 2017

    Happy to clarify here… Customer experience: they buy and then on the thank you page there is a button that they can click to auto-log in, straight away. An email is sent out to them with their login location, username and PW at the same time.

    When the customer payment fails Thrive starts an automation that removes their access (tags) and follows up… I also push a notification to my support at this time. This entire automation is setup and managed in ActiveCampaign. I have a dunning system running called Stunning that sends emails to follow up and get them back going with a new/updated card… The system should re-start as normal when they get going again, but my support ladies check every person automatically. And yes, same spot they left off.

    Content that is not yet accessed by the user is indeed hidden until they get the tag in Active Campaign via the automation that walks them through the 24-month drip… Then it shows up when they have the right tag.

    My friend Dave from http://www.IntegratePro.com was the genius brain behind all of this and managed the setup and integration. He tied Thrive + AC + AM360 together, got the auto-login link working, setup the automation template (I filled it out with all my content) and even wrote some custom scripts to help me add tags to protect pages (we have like 200 protected posts/pages) faster than using the native AM360 system.

    I can’t recommend him enough and his price is super reasonable for the level or detail, testing and how meticulous he is at this stuff… Me, I’m like ‘Full speed ahead… oh shit, were taking on water! …Grab the duct tape’ and Dave is like ‘No, we need to do a couple more inspections at port and test everything before we head out to the open seas’…. An absolute blessing for my personality type.

    If you email him (dave (at) integratepro.com) and let him know Miles sent you, he will generally get on skype for a quick chat to see if you and he are a fit… As long as he is not too busy… But he does have a team and is great at time management.

Chandeep Chana says March 10, 2017

Has anyone tried using Lifter LMS?

    Miles says March 14, 2017

    I have not heard of it…

Joseph Riggio says March 11, 2017

Miles … Great stuff, thanks!

I’m a big fan of ClickFunnels and Russell’s stuff in general. I’m also a HUGE fan of Kajabi (I used the old system despite how it was clunky in many regards, but the NEW KAJABI is awesome if you like hosted systems, and I do). So given your videos about the Click Funnels membership option, I’ve decided to keep Kajabi in place as our membership platform. My IT director wanted us to consider moving over to ClickFunnels membership (he really likes to keep things as simple as possible and minimize systems …). So thanks again for that.

My question is this … I’m assuming you use and are familiar with webinar delivery systems. Any recommendations for integrating a webinar platform with ClickFunnels. We have used Webinarjam (I’m an old “founder member” so I have lifetime access), Expertise.tv (a great platform if you’re a coach and want to do live sessions, very stable and easy, limited options), and our current favorite BigMarker (great virtual white label platform that you can really brand so it looks like your site, and superior embedding options for registration pages, live webinars and webinar recordings on your webpages … super simple and slick). The question is really about whether we A ) want to take folks from our funnel to a webinar registration page that’s outside of ClickFunnels, or B ) try to set up an API type integration with ClickFunnels so that they can stay right inside of ClickFunnels and register. This is in regard to PAID FOR webinars, not so much sales webinars.

Hey, thanks in advance for your observations …

    Miles says March 14, 2017

    Honestly, I have zero experience in webinars… Literally try as hard as possible to not watch them and have never put one on… not even one. That will change eventually but until then, I’m in the dark with the tech there.

    Took a long look at the new kajabi before going all in with WordPress… Even signed up and started in, but hit a couple UI and UX limitations that I couldn’t work around… So we went full on WordPress custom.

kehinde says March 21, 2017

cool info

Trevor says March 29, 2017


Very informative post. Thank you! I have a couple questions regarding your setup. I’m considering getting the lifetime option of ThriveCart before it goes public. Do you still like it and think it’s worth the investment? Based on what you know, do you think they’ll be a strong competitor in the future with other similar shopping carts like SamCart, etc., and continue to update it and add new features to keep pace with the competition? My next question is about the user experience with your setup. When someone buys a product/course from you, when they login to your WordPress hosted membership area, what is their experience like? Do they have the ability to view their order history, change their password, update their billing and credit card information, and update their profile information, email address, etc.? What does the page look like that lists the courses that they have been purchased? I’ve looked for demonstrations of how ActiveMember360 looks from a customer point of view, and I haven’t been able to find anything. I’d love to know what the experience is like with your setup from a customer’s point of view. Thanks!

    Miles says April 5, 2017

    Hey Trevor, thanks for the comment! I can say positively that I am becoming more and more of a fan boy of thrive cart as time goes on. I plan to move my other website that’s running on Sam cart over to thrive cart sometime soon!

    You have the ability to mail customers receipts after they check out from thrive cart, so their order history can be handled in their email. I have created a system that allows them to change their password on their own with an active member 360 shortcode. To update their billing I use stunning.co And it bypasses thrive updates the billing directly in stripe.

    Most customer questions and updates like this end up as a support ticket and my virtual assistant/customer support team really gives our customers the white glove experience to help them update and change anything that they’re not able to do on their own. My goal is not to automate everything with fancy web-based tools because a lot of my customers are on iPhones, iPads and they’re in their 60s

    The reason you can’t find a demonstration of how active member 360 looks from a customer point of view is because that is simply an access plug-in. The customer facing website is just a WordPress website. So it’s infinitely customizable.

John says April 27, 2017

Question: Hi Miles, I’ve just discovered your content – I’ll definitely be coming back for more! I was curious, you talk about moving from Click Funnels and yet you still have them on your recommended resources page… is this a mistake? Or do you still recommend them in some situations? Same with Russell Brunson’s training/book, would you still recommend them despite your experience of clickfunnels?

    Miles says April 28, 2017

    In some situations, they do make sense… But for many people (and all people who are bootstrapping) I don’t recommend them. The professional or lawyer who makes $180,000/year but has no life freedom and minimal time… Makes sense for them. Someone in debt with student loans and closer to the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle where I was when I started, no go. WordPress all the way.

    This post does a bit of a comparison: http://www.milesbeckler.com/choose-your-marketing-funnel-platform/

Reese says May 5, 2017

I went through the SAME experience. So terrible . Support made me feel like I was A. Crazy or B. Not techy (which I am) SOOO excited to be skipping away from clickfunnels to a platform that actually works. Not only that, Clickfunnels cause hundreds of spambots to be added to my email list and said that I was the only person they’ve seen the problem with, although I could see that hundreds, maybe thousands of people had this problem. Thanks for sharing!

Jamie says May 5, 2017

Hi Miles. Got to admit…I’ve stumbled across this at just the right time.

I’m launching my fitness community membership site in 10 days. All the options I’ve got available are somewhat overwhelming. But I use ActiveCampaign, and I want to integrate as deeply with that as I can.

As for using ThriveThemes, are you using the Apprentice plugin to build out your content? I think that’s how Thrive suggest you go about it. Right?

I’m actually wanting to create more of a Library kind of membership. I’ll be delivering workouts regularly, recipe packs, and Live Q&A’s. I think my fear is that, as I’m not simply creating a course that’s X many parts in length, I’m doing continuous publishing of content…I’d create a messy, unusable membership area very easily if I’m not careful.

Can you see how ThriveThemes would handle what I’m after with your experience of it?

Thank you for your time.


    Miles says May 10, 2017

    I am using Thrive’s apprentice feature. It is native in a few of their themes, not a separate plugin. Works great! I covered how to use it in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_ti25ynPNE

    Active Campaign’s developers have a plugin called ‘Active Member 360’ that gives access to customers to the appropriate products/modules/lessons laid out in apprentice after checking out.

    We have something like 280 ‘lessons’ (apprentice term) they get access to over the course of 2 years… we drip ‘archive’ content every month and add new content every month. UI/UX of the member’s area is our biggest focus and this is the best system we have ever been on… Tried WAY more than just CF over the years, all the high dollar systems we’ve tried and left.

    We love it… It isn’t perfect, nothing is… But it is completely customizable and we continue to make small changes to the member’s area based on feedback from our users and they are helping us make it better and better… Those other systems you are just stuck with what they thought was ‘needed’ and you can’t customize it.

    If you want help tying all the bits and pieces together, my buddy Dave at http://www.integratepro.com helped us get ours all setup. He is very meticulous with integrating everything and this marketing stack was his idea… I highly recommend his services and if you reach out, let him know Miles sent you and he will do a free 30 min call with you to see if you and he are a fit. He is a class act.

Hanson says May 7, 2017

Hi Miles, thank you for keeping it REAL! Power to you for making the move off CF onto Thrive – SO happy it’s working out for you!

Have really appreciated your CRAFT and am here to support you. In this message, I seek your guidance and possible cooperation.

In short, 10+ years in marketing, site development and more recently that has morphed into funnels (of course). Using OP2 + AC, was nearly going to go with CF and have been sitting on the fence and, your vid here helped me focus back onto MY business, My ship! (good fro you to make that move!!)

My question is, do you make it part of your business to sell your blueprint and all the related set up or are you keen on cooperating and profit sharing?

Appreciate your time, keep up the AWESOME work,


    Miles says May 10, 2017

    Glad you found the content helpful. OP2 + AC + ActiveMember360 is a great marketing stack! You have control, freedom and customizability that is completely missing from CF.

    I don’t sell anything, do client work or partner on sites… No time with my business and publishing content here and on YouTube. Just publishing what I do, the tools I use and how the pieces fit together for free with the hopes that people searching find it helpful!

Aryi says May 17, 2017

I can tell your a genuine and honest guy through your blog’s and your picture. That I can dig. I’m a newbie I don’t know Squat about these systems or marketing but I want to learn!

    Miles says May 17, 2017

    Thanks Aryi! The journey of 10,000 miles starts with one first step. I’ll keep publishing to help you keep taking steps in the right direction!

Rio says May 28, 2017

Great article Miles saved me thousands already! I have a question about their CF’s actionetics feature is there something comparable to it within ThriveThemes?

    Miles says May 28, 2017

    Not within Thrive Themes, but that is because Thrive is a theme, not an autoresponder or CRM. Check out ActiveCampaign : http://www.milesbeckler.com/activecampaign This is clearly who Clickfunnels is trying to copy.

    The leadscoring component and the automations are the two big technologies… And Active Campaign has been around for much longer and is MUCH more stable than Actionentics (which is a joke, btw)

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