Incorporating yourself or your business can have a substantial positive impact on your business--as well as your own personal peace of mind.
You can save as much as 50 percent on self-employment taxes, as well as provide additional protection for your personal assets. Plus, it makes for a great first impression on potential clients to show that you're serious about doing business with them.
Decide if forming a corporation is necessary. Occasionally, forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be a more suitable option with fewer responsibilities. Weigh your options and assess your needs by asking yourself questions about your intended business (see link below for an online questionnaire).
Select an online document service provider like MyCorporation.com, LegalZoom.com or BizFilings.com (see Resources below). There are numerous other companies to choose from, but stick to companies that have a good reputation and excellent customer service to walk you through the process.
Complete the online questionnaire. Most of the questions are self explanatory, but if you are unsure of how to answer some of the incorporation questions, place a call to customer service and they can walk you through the process.
Enter any and all information required by document provider. If needed, you can delay this section of the application if you do not know the answers. Once again, customer service should be able to provide some assistance.
Pay for your document preparation fees. This will include your name, contact information and a credit card.
Wait for your paperwork to be approved. When completed, you will receive notification and your paperwork will be mailed to you.
Sign any and all documentation and return it to the document service provider or regulatory agencies (if relevant).
Document preparation firms have streamlined the "how to start a business" process, and generally offer the most cost-effective option when forming your own company (other than doing it yourself).
You can choose to select an attorney to file the necessary paperwork for you, but this is the most expensive method. You can elect for a Do-It-Yourself method by using the resources provided by your local state government (see link below).
Incorporating yourself or your business has a few legal and regulatory restrictions, and generally requires more work at the end of the fiscal year. This includes tax preparation, filings to shareholders, etc.