First, ensure that you are using the same angle every time you slice down the sharpner, otherwise you may as well not do it at all. Consistency is how this thing works.
Second, if doing a straight edge and not a serrated one, you are going to be in for a little work. Every knife maker grinds at a different angle at the factory and your sharpener does not necessarily have the same angle. Preservere, for you are probably changing the angle of the edge, but this is okay. The first time you sharpen a knife will always take the longest time, after that you are simply maintaining the edge.
Third, if sharpening a non-serrated edge, use the corner of the sharpener. It ensures for a new-comer that you are maintaining consistent contact with the edge all the way down the edge. Use the flat of the stone only after you are well practiced.
Fourth, allow yourself some patience. I once spent approximately four or five HOURS (actual sharpening time) re-edging a Benchmade butterfly. The edge configuration was wildly different than the sharpmaker. Not that either is wrong, but I wanted to maintaing the knife myself, so I felt that the time was well spent.
Five, with the serrated knives spyderco makes, DO NOT SHARPEN BOTH SIDES OF THE SERRATIONS!!! ONLY SHARPEN THE SIDE OF THE KNIFE INTO WHICH THE SCALLOPS ARE CUT. Otherwise you will grind the serrations off the knife ( i did this once. Instructions did not tell me to avoid doing this.)
And finally, look at how the edge is on a new factory sharp knife. Attempt to gain that same consistency and then surpass it. I look at sharpening as an art form that takes years to get right. I have been practicing for fifteen years and will soon move on to big fixed blade, and I will have a new part of the art to learn.