Thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet, more people than ever are starting their own businesses and throwing off the shackles of nine-to-five life. If you have ever thought about starting your own business, but worried that it was not something that was economically feasible for you, maybe it is time to start thinking about it again. These days, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to start a business, and some can even be started with little to no capital. If your business idea does require some funding, there are many alternatives to the traditional bank loan that you can look into.

1. Crowdfunding

A lot of people are starting their own businesses thanks to crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Rather than finding one investor, many investors pool their resources together to help new ideas get off the ground. The thing to keep in mind is that you have to read the small print. Some crowdfunding sites can get fairly pricey, and have fees for payment-processing, and some won’t let you keep money raised unless you reach your full goal.

2. Factoring/Invoice Advances

Another option is to ask for service providers to advance money on invoices that you have billed out but have not yet received payment for. By doing this, your business can grow because you will have the funding you need while you are waiting for clients to pay their outstanding bills.

3. Trade Equity

This goes back to the old barter system. Basically, you trade your skills or something else for what you need. For instance, if your business offers tech support, you could trade tech services for office space. Or, equity can be exchanged for accounting and legal support. There are always others who are in need of what you have to offer, and can give you something you need in return.

4. Small Business Grants

If you are looking to get a business loan, you may also want to look into government funding for your startup. There are funds in place that are for new technologies and important startups, including medicine, education, and social needs. Visit to view a directory with over 1,000 federal grant programs. Getting a grant can be a long and tedious process, but it is free, so it is worth a try.

5. Advances from a Partner or Customer

It may be that you have a customer or know of another business owner who sees that there is a great value in your business idea. This person may be willing to advance you money based on royalty payments so you can get your business off the ground. Similar types of financing include white-labeling and early licensing agreements.

6. Self-Funding

Because a lot of online businesses are easy and inexpensive to start, you may want to consider funding your business on your own. While it may leave you broke for a while until you can get things off the ground, there are several benefits to funding your own startup. The main benefit is that your business is completely your own. You don’t have to give control to anyone else, and the equity is all yours.

7. Venture-Capital Investors

Another option is to seek out professional investors who will invest funds into qualified startups. In most cases, you will need to have a proven business model that is ready to scale. These investors look for those who need investments of a million or more dollars, and who already have a team in place that can make good on the promises offered and can ensure the investment will be paid back.

Author's Bio: 

Jane Hurst, writer from San Francisco. Find her on Twitter!