For your cupcakes the easiest remedy is to buy some disposable pastry/piping bags, or parchment paper (making cones out of parchment is fairly inexpensive), and some piping tips. As someone previously mentioned, having the proper tools will help immensely! However, starting out can be very expensive. It almost looks like you are using canned frosting (forgive me if I'm wrong) but that is so thick and very difficult to spread! There are some very simple frosting recipes on here that involve powdered sugar, butter, flavoring, and a bit of milk/cream and they are so much yummiest than canned frosting; with that said making your own frosting and using some piping tips will help you with icing your cupcakes.
For your cakes you want to get your frosting as smooth as possible, there are several techniques you can google (most are probably on this site in the tutorials section), someone previously mentioned a crusting buttercream (used with the Viva paper towel or a high density foam roller), the hot knife method, and my personal favorite the upside down frosting technique.
I only started decorating about a year ago, I still spend hours online googling 'fondant tutorials', watching videos on YouTube, pinterest, etc. there are also some very inexpensive online cake schools, I used 'My Cake School dot com' I believe it cost $30 for a year, well worth it! Melissa and her mother BeBe run the site, they have several video tutorials from 'baking a cake from scratch start to finish', all the frosting techniques I mentioned above, 'making all the different buttercreams', to 'building a football stadium cake', 'Noahs Arch Cake', and many, many, more. They add new tutorials each week, the have several recipes with explanations of which cakes are good for carving, covering with fondant, etc. they have a forum for members to share recipes and ask questions, request tutorials, and Melissa and BeBe are very quick to respond to any personal questions you may have. I have no affiliation with their site, it just helped me emmensly starting out and even now as I am still learning too!
As for your cakes, your just starting so try and be patient. You don't want to start taking orders if your not prepared, make cakes for friends and family (like you are) offer to do any and every cake you can for upcoming baby showers, birthdays, fundraisers, etc great practice. Maybe have your friends cover the ingredients until you get in a place where your more comfortable. Just don't be too hard on yourself and keep trying, someone else said the fact your asking for help shows your commitment, you'll get there. Take a look at Cake Wrecks website, your off to a good start!