That included learning NoSQL. At least that part was not a waste. There are no right answers to your questions, there are only right actions, starting with stepping outside the SQL box and writing an app using NoSQL. I started by thinking of a simple app that would be useful to me personally. I knew java servlets, I knew SQL, I knew all sorts of things, but after several iterations my app is architected like no app/server I've ever written before. Almost every iteration involved starting doing it the way I knew how, running into either roadblocks or major cognitive dissonance, and then rewriting it to fit these new-fangled constraints. Its been a huge learning experience. You might like to try it.
Could you just give me a brief description of how you arrange things (like "entities") with NoSQL?