I do not have employees, but I may hire independent contractors in the future. I am currently working as a freelancer. but I am contemplating becoming a sole proprietor. It's really cheap, so I figure why not? I want to get my business license one day, but financially, now is not the time.
From what I have researched, the biggest benefit to becoming a sole proprietor is legally doing work under a business name. I know that once you become a licensed business you also get some protection as far as personal property goes - if you're sued as a sole proprietor, individuals can come after your personal belongings, where as a business they can only come after the business' belongings.
I see the benefits of becoming a business, so I'm looking for legal differences between being freelance, a sole proprietor and even a business. I am currently located in Washington State, USA.