The Small Business Administration
has mini- and micro-loan programs for startups and sole proprietors. They also sponsor regular educational forums (for free!) where you can talk to volunteer business owners who have been there and done that. Just check the site for your local chapter. They've put together a nice primer on financing
that's been very useful. You may also want to check in with your local SCORE program for additional mentoring. These are invaluable resources for new entrepreneurs. Listen to these guys and you'll never have to reinvent the wheel.
Hope that helps - and good luck with your venture.