So you want to start your own business, but you don't have megabucks? News flash: You don't need megabucks. All the businesses we spotlight here can be started for $10,000 or less-in most cases, a lot less. We're talking $5,000, $3,000, even $1,000-amounts you should be able to scrape up from your bank account, borrow from Mom and Dad, or put on plastic.
Now, before you get nit-picky about numbers, a few ground rules: Costs cited under "Gear Guidelines" are estimates based on interviews with experts and entrepreneurs, and may vary. For a reality check, we asked actual entrepreneurs what they spent to start. In many cases, it was substantially less than our experts' estimates. If you've already got some of the essential start-up stuff, your launch costs will be lower, too.
Pamela Rohland (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer whose work appears regularly in national and regional publications.