Incorporation is easier than most people think. To incorporate a business, you have to first choose your state, and then choose the type of entity. Most people choose their home state. For those who think Nevada is better, see our article on the Nevada Myth. The big question is really whether to be an LLC or a corporation. Most solo business people today go with the LLC because if you are the only shareholder, you can avoid filing an extra tax return and file a schedule C on your 1040 if you are a one-person LLC (the IRS calls a single member LLC a "disregarded entity").
To incorporate, file articles of incorporation and pay a fee. Its as easy as that. We do have a separate how-to page for each state on Free Legal Aid, with a few to get you started here:
How to Incorporate in New York
How to Incorporate in Illinois
How to Incorporate in California
How to Incorporate in New Jersey
Or use the tools provided by attorney Kevin Houchin's incorporation kit here.
Once you have incorporated, you will need to adopt bylaws if you are a corporation or an "operating agreement" if you are an LLC. Our most popular form is our "bylaws" which is segregated by state, but the California Bylaws form is a good example to learn from. Remember that Free Legal Aid requires that you be logged in or sign up as a member to get free legal forms, but we won't bug you with a lot of junk mail.