I've been working with websites since I was 15 (2005) and really enjoy making attractive web interfaces. I would really like to make a career out of web design but I am terrified by the thought of freelance work. Do any of you do web design for a living? If so, what can you tell me about your career, pay and where you learned the most? Would you suggest a career in web design?
Here are two examples of things I have begun designing recently. It's a challenge for me to finish a design when I'm not doing it for anything but fun and practice. I wind up not knowing what to put on the site because I don't know what industry it's supposed to cater to!
I am currently unemployed. At my most recent job I was the Marketing Director and handled all of the computer/website/tech stuff for the entire facility, as well. I set the website up on Wordpress and performed a crap ton of SEO to increase business. I really don't want to be in marketing anymore, though. I'm done with that, haha.
I have all the time in the world to practice my web design skills. I've got the entire Adobe CS6 and a lot of ambition. When I do get a new job, I hope to make it temporary until I'm able to break into the world of web design as a career.
I am really looking for advice, guidance and constructive criticism. I want to know if you think I'm in the right direction with my designs that I've presented to you (if you think they are/could be good upon completion), what you know about careers in web design and what books/courses should I take. (I can design in Photoshop, but I still don't even know the first thing about coding it and making it more than just a picture.)
Thank you to all!
EDIT: I am mostly interested in designing for WordPress. So if you make suggestions for good reads or learning resources, keep in mind that WP is the direction I wish to go.