Running your own business can certainly take up plenty of your time and cash. If you feel there's not enough hours in the day or your wallet is taking a beating, check out these five apps that'll give you important tools for free.

1. ScreenSteps 2.8.2

When taking screenshots of what is happening on your desktop, it is often with the intent of demonstrating how to do something. ScreenSteps has been designed to make it easier to create striking documents - both on- and offline - with your screenshots.

A countdown timer can be used to capture your screenshots and these can then be arranged in a project window complete with chapters and headings to aid navigation. As well as screenshots, images can be annotated and you have the option of embedding video footage.

2. CyberGhost VPN 2011

Free Wi-Fi connections in coffee shops, airports and hotel receptions aren't necessarily secure and you can find yourself leaving a trail of information behind you that can reveal your identity when you browse the web from these locations. .

However, install CyberGhost to ensure all web traffic is routed through an anonymised web server –. After restarting your computer, you will be invited to connect to a VPN server before browsing the internet as normal.

3. Pamela Basic

The one thing missing from Skype is the ability to record your calls. Perhaps you're interviewing someone or you want to be able to refer back to parts of the call later, the problem is that Skype doesn't provide any kind of call-recording facilities. Then there's the question of voicemail – being able to let people leave messages if you're not around to answer their call. That feature's available in Skype, but only if you're on a premium package.

Pamela Basic fills in the missing gaps – install the program, launch Skype and make sure you allow Pamela access to it. Once done, you have a recording device capable of working with Skype and as a custom recorder. You can use it to take voice mails or record active conversations.

4. CoffeeCup Free FTP 4.3.2

Free FTP is a fast, reliable, easy-to-use and of course free FTP client.

The program supports a wide range of standards: FTP; SFTP; FTPS over TSL/SSL, SSL or TLS; HTTP and HTTPS. It remembers your server and logon details, so in future you're able to connect with a click. And then you can upload or download files by simply dragging and dropping them from your computer or server.

5. SiteUp 2.0

SiteUp will regularly monitor the websites you specify, and warn you if they go offline, for example because a server has crashed.

To set up the program, click the Add button and enter the web address of a site you'd like to check. Then enter a word or phrase that will appear on the page you've specified. SiteUp will check both that there's a page at the address you specify, and it contains your phrase, which means it should also warn you if the page is replaced by an error message.