In addition to working as a technical writer, I run a very small business developing small business classes and training materials. I have produced two books, Building Your Business, and the award-winning <a href="http://www.buildyourbizplan.com"> Building Your Business Plan</a>
Yes, the economy stinks, and yes, it might be better if you waited a year or two, but it seems to me that IF you are ready and IF you think you can make a go of it, you should apply for the loan.
What`s the worst that can happen? They turn you down. Take what you`ve learned and try again later.
To put what Robert said in smaller words, if your corporation is properly structured, what you can lose is limited to your investment.
Don`t want to lose your house? Don`t invest it.
And I would underline the suggestion that you understand anything you sign, and emphasize, get it in writing!
I`m not sure I understand exactly what you mean - the term "manager" has a specific meaning in regard to LLCs, similar to "member" but usually with more responsibilities.
However, I think what you mean is, can you hire an independent contractor to oversee the day to day affairs of your business. Am I right? If so, I see no reason why not.
However, one of the typical duties of such a person is to tell the other workers what to do. This might be a lot more difficult if the workers know that person is not also an employee.