The answer to your question is..... Absolutely!
It doesn't take long to understand the rudiments of portraiture technique. The real art is in the engagement with your sitter to create a natural and telling portrait of the subject.
This is a pretty good start but there are some improvements that have been alluded to already. There is also some odd advice so take some with a pinch of salt. For instance try telling a certain David Bailey, whom I am sure you'll agree (love him or hate him) he is one of the most iconic portrait photographers of our time, that white backgrounds are for passport photographs! White, grey and black backgrounds are the basics for studio portraiture and with additional lighting and colour gels can become almost any sort of background you could imagine - variated, colour variated, colour..... And just plain white, black or grey is good.
Equally you can create lovely flattering portraits with on camera flash. Just avoid having the flash on the subject directly without softening it first. This can be done by bouncing the light off a white ceiling or card held above the flash or using some type of diffuse such as tissue paper or a purpose built softbox which are available to attach to speedlite flashguns via a velcro strap.
There are a lot of specular highlights here from what I can ascertain looks like they have been caused by the direct flash on camera. The background light has worked well to give you a nice clean white background. I would do away with the on camera flash and use one light to the front shot through a diffuse brolly or softbox and balance that with a reflector on the other side to fill in the light. Use the reflector to shape the light and push it back in where you need it. You could introduce a further reflector underneath the subjects chin too. This reduces shadows there and for this high key style works well.
On a crop sensor camera such as your 60D the ideal lens range would be anything from 50mm to 100mm for portraiture. Within this range it maintains perspective that is ideal.
Try to avoid shooting up toward females unless they are looking down into camera. Here you are shooting up Anne's nose which is not flattering. For a flattering portrait it is good to shoot from slightly above the sitter. Ask them to drop their chin slightly and the lift their eyes so they are looking straight into the lens. This gives beautiful white "canoes" under the pupil which is very flattering for female portraiture.
Watch the light catchlights in the eye too. You need just one in each eye and it should fall on the pupil. Multiple catchlights can start to unbalance the picture and also as they say, the eyes are the window to the soul; so you want to see the eyes and not full of reflections from the light sources. One catchlight per eye is enough to bring sparkle and personality and lift the portrait.
In processing you can choose to take out skin blemishes, reduce wrinkles, add a diffuse glow etc. All things that when done well retain the natural beauty of the individual without plasticising them. Or you can of course leave them as they are. In this high key beauty style I think a little diffuse glow adds a touch of class. I have uploaded a mod to demonstrate.
I have warmed the image up a little too as I think you have de-saturated too much. Did you use the master channel to desaturate or did you select individual channels to desaturate? Selecting the red channel, as you said your original was too red, and taking this down until you are happy should do the trick. You can tweak other channels such as Magenta and yellow to retain colour, reduce redness but not create a grey pallor.
The trick is to practise, practise, practise. Take note of lighting set ups and settings. Look at lots of portraiture either on EPZ or on the net that you like and try to emulate to work out how to recreate it. There are also lots of youtube tuitions to watch on the internet.
For me its a great start and with a little more practise you'll be knocking out some beautiful portraits of your friends.
Hope that helps.