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Top 10 Startups Using ROBS

Startups using ROBS

Recently, IRA Financial’s Adam Bergman published an article on Forbes about the Gig Economy and the Solo 401(k). This got me thinking about another retirement strategy called “ROBS,” or Rollover for Business Startups. ROBS allows you to use retirement funds to start your own business.  This strategy is generally used when you don’t have the capital on-hand for your business venture. It is also a viable strategy for individuals that want to avoid debt financing to pursue their business ambitions. Further, it’s a way to invest in yourself instead of making outside investments, such as stocks and mutual funds.

After some research, I’ve come up with what I feel are the Top 10 Startups you can fund using ROBS.  These businesses ideas, or “gig” jobs, have little to no startup costs and can be done by just about everyone.  The great thing about ROBS, is that you can also use it to expand your business, once it’s off the ground.  Therefore, you might not need your 401(k) or IRA money to start a business, but it might come in handy as you expand.

Top 10 Startups Using ROBS


Tis the season to mow lawns, pull weeds and prune flowers.  If working outdoors in the summer heat is where you’re happiest, why don’t you make a job of it?  You get to pick and choose the services you offer and design a business plan accordingly.  Depending on what you choose, there will be equipment costs.  This can range from gloves and clippers, to riding mowers and trailers.

Further, as many landscapers do in the off-season, you can switch to snow removal with a plow attachment and some shovels.  You can even hire more workers as you see fit.


In a similar vain, a handyman is a great side job if you have just a bit of knowledge.  It offers loads of options – painting, plumbing, woodworking, general maintenance.  This list goes on and on.  There’s always someone in need of small repairs that don’t require larger construction companies.

Startup costs can also vary depending on the route you choose.  If you already tinker around your own home, you might already have the tools you need to get started.  The key here is to get your name out there so you build a solid reputation. You can go big with your own company or keep it small performing odd jobs as you can.

Housecleaning Services

While housework isn’t for everyone, it certainly can be if you make money doing it!  There’s a lot more people that don’t want to do, so there’s lots of opportunities out there for someone willing.  If you want to keep it small, overhead is really low.  Again, you just need to get your name out there.

However, if you want to go bigger and start your own company, there will be more costs for supplies and employee wages.  The sky’s the limit for what you can make if you’re willing to get your hands dirty.

Meal Kit Delivery

In today’s age, everyone wants to eat healthy, but might not have to do so. Meal Kit delivery services have been around for awhile and it’s booming.  If you enjoy coming up with interesting and healthy recipes, this is a great way for you to earn some money.

This can be a perfect self-employed business venture, or you can look to hire others for grocery runs and delivery. It’s probably best to start out local and develop relationships with local farms.  As your business expands, so can your reach.

Food Truck

Speaking of food, why not invest in a food truck?  Meal kits are all about prep work, food trucks are all about the finished product. There almost no limit to where you can take your truck. Parks, business complexes, functions, farmer’s markets, etc. Just be sure to check with your local health department and town officials to see where you can and can’t go and what types of standards must be adhered to.

While, investing in a food truck is not the cheapest option on this list, it’s a fraction of the cost of operating a restaurant. Break out grandma’s recipes and find a unique menu that will cater to different crowds. Then, hit the road!

Bed & Breakfast

Continuing with the food theme (partially), a B&B is perfect if you already have the space for it. Maybe, you’re an empty-nester with some spare rooms, or you have a guest house on your property. If you live in a quaint town or outside of popular destinations, you can quickly fill up the calendar.

It’s easier than ever to get your B&B on the map with apps like airBnB and VRBO. There’s a lot of flexibility for you as well. You can cater to the crowd you want. Setup activities/itineraries for your guests And even plan for a sit-down meal. On the other hand, you can simply provide lodging and a continental breakfast and be done. It all depends on the time you want to invest and the rates you want to charge.


Math Whiz? Writer? Teacher? Why not put your brain to use by helping our youth. This is the ideal “Work Harder Not Smarter” startup. There’s always a demand for tutors as parents want their children to excel in school. On top of that, there are not many startup costs in being a tutor. You can advertise on local website message boards, supermarkets and anywhere else fliers are accepted.

You can work from home and get the added bonus of helping people out. If you’re bilingual, you can teach ESL (English as a Second Language) as well. There are so many opportunities to teach, you just have to get out there and find them.

Blogger/Social Media Manager

I can relate to this as I do a little of both for IRA Financial. There are plenty of companies, both large and small, that can benefit from bloggers and social media managers. Generally, you can work from home and choose your own hours. You can freelance with multiple businesses, or get lucky and get a long-term gig with one.

Many companies under-value the importance of an online presence. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, everyone has some sort of social media account. If you don’t have someone to manage yours, you’re missing out on potential business. Plus, blogs are great way to promote a business. All you need is a knack for writing and the ability to learn everything about the businesses you’ll be writing for.


No, I’m not suggesting you go get a job from Amazon, however, you can utilize their Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service to sell goods. Nowadays, you don’t need a brick and mortar store to sell something. Amazon is tops in the world for e-commerce. eBay is the largest auction site and you can set up a store there as well. Like to design things? Check out Etsy. The great thing about FBA, is Amazon will do most of the work for you. You just have to get your product to them.

Another Amazon opportunity is to deliver for them. Recently, Amazon offered employees $10,000 to quit their job so they could deliver packages. The Amazon Flex program allows you to earn a decent living working flexible hours. You don’t have to deliver packages; deliver people too! At least, sign up for a ride share program like Uber or Lyft and earn some extra cash.

Photographer/Event Planner

The last business on the list take a certain type of person. You need a keen eye to details and the ability to adapt to customer needs. Photographers are always in demand for events, such as weddings and parties, family photo shoots, including birth announcements and news stories. Cameras and equipment can be very expensive, but there’s not a lot of other costs involved.

Event planning has always been a part of society. Whether it’s for a new bride or mother-to-be, or a corporate retreat, there’s lots of logistics that can overwhelm people. This is where you, as an event planner, can step right in. Hitting a home run with one client can really allow your business to grow.

The Basics of Using ROBS for Startups

To use the Rollover for Business Startups structure, you take existing 401(k) or IRA funds and invest in a new 401(k) plan. A C Corporation is then created and sponsors the plan. You take your new 401(k) and invest the funds into the C Corp stock. These funds are deposited into the C Corp bank account and are then available to invest in your business.

There are a ton of benefits to utilizing the ROBS structure. You can invest in yourself, have startup capital for your new business or money to enhance a current business. Your portfolio becomes more diverse as it’s not all invested in one place. Plus, you can earn a salary as you need to be an employee of the business…something you cannot do with other retirement plans.

Learn More:

What is the Rollover as Business Startup Solution?

Rollover as Business Startup Compliance

The IRA Financial Difference


Deciding to start your own business is a scary thought. What if it fails and you’re left with nothing? The first step is getting out there and assessing the landscape. Research everything you can on a business you might want to pursue. Then, take a stab at a gig job, while still having your main job as a cushion. The ROBS solution allows your retirement money to work for you and lets you take responsibility if it gains or not, instead of Wall Street.

For more information and to see how ROBS can work for you, please contact us anytime at 800.472.0646.


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