Want to buy and sell products from the comfort of your room? Say hello to dropshipping: a relatively new e-commerce technique that does just that: sellers identify low-cost products that offer a simple solution to your everyday needs or impulse urges. Think of those tempting but useless products you buy from the TK Maxx queue. So forget about the boredom of standing in that queue.

From sunset lamps to satin pillowcases and jade face rollers, these items are often chosen for their potential to go viral, like the laptop neck fan who had a throttling on TikTok during the heat wave. Once they have selected a product, dropshippers produce content to promote it, then sit and wait. When the orders are (hopefully) pouring in, the dropshipper buys the product from their original supplier, usually a site like AliExpress, and purchases it directly, ordering the product to be sent to the customer. Then they pocket the profit.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, not quite. The problem with dropshipping is that it tends to hinge on whether these items go viral. This makes it an unpredictable and precarious stream of income. Also, if your product goes viral, it will likely be picked up by many other dropshippers, which you will then have to compete with.

All of this has catalyzed another one side-hustle: Dropshipping gurus are tricking TikTok users into buying their e-com courses by teaching them how to get rich quick efficiently. @biaheza (who has God bless the bustle” in his Instagram bio) sells one for $297 and claims to make around $80,000 a month. Sebastien Esquedawho has 50,000 YouTube subscribers, is a self-proclaimed ad master on Facebook.

So while dropshipping may seem like it only takes a phone and the internet to get big, an investment in sales-generating digital marketing tools that work behind the scenes comes at a steep price.

The commotion never stops.

*Name has been changed