THERE ARE FEW THINGS scarier to would-be entrepreneurs than the horror stories they have heard about acquiring financing from a bank. The truth is that today, the bank is the last place I would go for startup capital. In short, conventional lending in America has transformed, but there are plenty of other options than the bank to acquire startup capital for your new business.

Similar to students who have part-time jobs while they go to school, many startup pioneers start their business while they work part-time at other jobs. It’s not the fastest or easiest route, especially if you have a family, but it will keep you from incurring a lot of debt and having to pay a lot of interest. If you’re in a position to immediately start making money from your new endeavor and you can cover at least half of your expenses, why not switch to part time? If you can’t quite make enough money yet at your new business to switch your former position to part time, consider keeping your old job full-time, and focusing your nights and weekends on your new gig. It might not be fun at first, but neither is paying back a bunch of debt--your choice, but it’s always an option.

If you’re married and your spouse works, or if you have a friend or family member who is willing to support you and cover your living expenses while you start your new business, this is another way to get things started without incurring any debt. While this option isn’t available to everyone, it’s one to try if you have the opportunity.

If you’re willing to share your ownership of your new business, an informal money pool might work for you, too. If you have friends, family members, or coworkers who trust your abilities and are confident that you will succeed with monetary resources, here is another way to avoid banks for startup capital. Another option, instead of forfeiting ownership, is to negotiate a pay-back plan for the people from whom you’ve borrowed money. While you might have to give up a little interest, you’ll still retain complete ownership of your new initiative and your interest payout won’t be anywhere near the exorbitant amount that banks will require.