Making Money Online - The T-Shaped Marketer

by potpiegirl

Over at my blog,, I talked about taking your online earnings to the next level and how to get there. I'd like to share some of that post here with you.

The corporate world looks for 'T-Shaped' people. They believe that this trait makes for great employees and team members.

What is a T-Shaped person? How does that apply to making money online? Can you be a "T" shaped internet marketer? Would it benefit you?

Glad you asked! Keep reading and learn about becoming more "T-Shaped" and how it can help you in ALL your efforts.

Moving Away from "I"

Over the years I have been helping and teaching people to make money online, I have come across a really big road block I see many people facing.

This road block tends to stop them dead in their tracks...and they get stuck there.


The best way I have found to describe this situation is by using something from the corporate world called being "T-Shaped".

Before we get into my thoughts, let me tell you what "T-Shaped" means out there in corporate America.

What is a T-Shaped Person?

On this post over at ( ), Tim Brown (from Ideo), describes a T-Shaped person as this:

What’s a T-shaped person?

T-shaped people have two kinds of characteristics, hence the use of the letter “T” to describe them. The vertical stroke of the “T” is a depth of skill that allows them to contribute to the creative process. That can be from any number of different fields: an industrial designer, an architect, a social scientist, a business specialist or a mechanical engineer. The horizontal stroke of the “T” is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. It is composed of two things. First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective- to stand in somebody else’s shoes. Second, they tend to get very enthusiastic about other people’s disciplines, to the point that they may actually start to practice them. Tshaped people have both depth and breadth in their skills. 

An "I-Shaped" Marketer or a "T-Shaped" Marketer?

In my opinion, this definition speaks volumes to me about what happens with people who try to make money online.


They get stuck being "I-Shaped".

They get stuck in learning mode...running all over chasing their tail trying to learn new skills and new strategies.

The reality is, the "money" is in that horizontal line that makes an I a T.

Let me show you an image I made to help explain...

The T-Shaped Internet Marketer

The T-Shaped Internet Marketer
The T-Shaped Internet Marketer

Reversing The Priorities

It's perfectly normal for someone new to internet marketing to spend a good bit of time gaining the skills it takes to be "findable" online.

Things like keyword research, blog set up, monetization, list building, link building....and on and on of all the stuff we try to wrap our head around and implement in order to have our words found online.

But is that really what matters?

I don't think so....and this day and age in Google pretty much confirms that it's not the stuff that matters.

It's our message that matters.

And that message is the one thing that those new to internet marketing and those stuck aren't working to the best of their ability (or simply not doing it at all)

3 Common Internet Marketers

I have found that those I talk to and work with online are one of 3 types of online marketers.


1.  They get stuck for years and years working on learning skills and stuff yet never get to the "T".

2.  They spend years and years in the skills learning as an I-Shaped marketer in pure avoidance of having to become T-Shaped.  These are the ones that buy training course after training course just hoping that ONE of them will show them the magic button where they don't have to be T-Shaped.

3. Then there is the "others" - those that come online, learn enough skills to start getting found and get right to being T-Shaped.

Even though these type #3 marketers don't know everything or a whole lot of stuff, they DO get to making more money online than those that are a type #1 or type #2 - and they do it a LOT faster.

But My Content IS Unique!

How does one become T-Shaped in this business?

It's fairly simple - and it takes a lot less time than avoiding it  ;)

Find out what people want - and give it to them.

Use your unique voice, put yourself in THEIR shoes, and talk to them.  Give them solutions.

At the end of alllllllll those skills, it is people that you want to find your web page, right?

Talk to them as consumers and human beings...not some 500-word article talking AT them.

Oh, and yes, I said "unique content", but if I hear one more person say, "but my content is unique", I just might!

Unique to a search engine is totally different from being unique and helpful to people.

Sure, Google might come along and determine your spun content is "unique" from other documents in their index - but so what?

What is that really doing for anyone?

Taking It To The Next Level

I recently took a survey on my blog which has turned out to be quite enlightening for me.

It's always a good idea to ask...and then what people want and/or need, right? 


(hint: that is a BIG part of being T-Shaped in this business)


I found out that a large majority of my readers were trying to make money online to replace their current income and/or work for themselves online one day.

The survey is still open for answers if you'd like to participate...  You can find my make money online survey here.

I really thought that the majority of my readers were looking for extra income...some side earned so one can stay home with the kids or something of that nature.

I was wrong.

Glad I asked tho!


What was most relevant to me is that *I* needed to change things up a little bit.  I've been focused on teaching the skills...when I should have spent more time on helping as many as I can to develop their "T-Shape".

If your message isn't good, it doesn't matter who finds you or where you rank.


Don't Be Like Everybody Else

Goldfish Jumping into Different Bowl
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Want To Read More?

Naturally, this is just a summary of my 2500 word post on this topic.

Please feel free to stop by and read the complete article here:


Taking It To The Next Level

As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome both here and on my blog.

Thank you!




Updated: 09/08/2014, potpiegirl
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potpiegirl on 03/25/2012

Thanks, Samsons!

samsons1 on 03/25/2012

Very interesting article and I would like to be 'T' shape. I think you've 'nailed' the issue, now if 'I' would not just stop with the down-stroke (vertical), and continue with the horizontal, I might see some results somewhere down the road. Took the survey, joined your web page; now I'll sit, read and hopefully learn something, but I better hurry, I'm not getting any younger...

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