Editor’s Note: MilSpouse Entrepreneur Spotlight is a monthly Q&A designed to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the challenges of milspouse entrepreneurship. In the past, we have highlighted Bridget Platt of Daddy’s Deployed, Stefanie Weakley of Abby Maddy, Patricia Marzella Mathisen of Nutrisha, Rosemary O’Brien of Pocket Parks Publishing, and Kristine Schellhaas of USMC Life. This month NextGen MilSpouse features Lex DeVille of Nonovels Press.
Military Branch Affiliation: Air Force
Years as a Military Spouse: 2
Business Name: Nonovels Press LLC
Year Established: 2013
Tell us about your business: Nonovels is an independent publishing company that brings fresh, new authors to the market by helping them learn to write, connecting them with other authors and offering free publishing services. Whether you’ve written 100 stories or have never written in your life, Nonovels will help you get your story published, so you can share and sell it worldwide. We’ve published over 150 books; have more than 600 members, 8 writing courses, and a number of other resources to help put you on the right track. In short, if you’ve ever wanted to make money writing, then Nonovels is your one-stop shop.
Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I didn’t always know. I joined the Army right after high school and when my tour was over, I returned to civilian life. In about 6 months I realized working a regular job just wasn’t for me. It was then that I started my first business, selling art made from LEGO®.
What motivated you to start your own business? Freedom originally motivated me. Working collections was really dragging me down and I didn’t want to spend my life getting yelled at over the phone. Eventually I took the plunge, quit my job and started working for myself.
What is the best part of being an entrepreneur? The best part about being an entrepreneur is not having to answer to anyone but myself. I can choose to work or not. Either way, it’s my choice. I usually choose the former since I like having food on the table. It’s also incredibly rewarding. The day you earn your first independent dollar, is one of the best days you’ll ever have.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an entrepreneur? The biggest challenges I face daily are overcoming fear of failure and solving unique problems. Fear of failure holds most people back from reaching for the stars. I refuse to let fear hold me back, which means I have to come up with creative solutions for problems I don’t have answers to. It can be tough at times because I don’t have a boss to turn to if something goes wrong. Whether I succeed or fail depends entirely on my ability to adapt and overcome.
Do you find that being an entrepreneur fits well with your role as a military spouse (or does it even factor in)?
Entrepreneurship integrates well with my role as a military spouse, though it can be challenging at times. Working for myself gives me the freedom to come and go as I please. If something needs taken care of during the day, I’m usually available, and if we ever move, then my income moves with us. That said, it’s certainly no ordinary job and I usually spend 16 to 18 hours a day handling customer service, web-development and everything in between.
How do you blend working from home and your family relationships? Mixing a home business with a relationship can be trying, but it works really well for us.
The trick is supporting each other 110% no matter what happens and always making time for each other. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle that encourages hard work, but you have to be in tune with your family’s needs if you truly want to succeed.
Biggest lesson learned so far as an entrepreneur? The biggest lesson I’ve learned is not to chase money. By that I mean that it’s not about how much money a business can make for you, it’s about how much value your business creates for others. When you solve problems for other people, then you achieve real satisfaction. Then the money follows close behind. Always keep your focus on helping other people and you can’t go wrong.
Best piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur? My best piece of advice for someone just starting out is to simply get started. So many people never make it because they never try in the first place. Whether you have 1 hour or 18 hours a day, it’s impossible to succeed without taking the first step. Your first business probably won’t be your last and it probably won’t be your money maker, but success is a process that has to be learned. Take the first step, get started and stick with it.
Are you a milspouse entrepreneur? Do you want to be featured as a MilSpouse Entrepreneur? Contact michelle(at)msbnewmedia(dot)com.
Update: After this spotlight was published, Lex DeVille announced that Nonovels have ceased publishing. The site will remain in operation to teach users how to write and to offer writing resources to its users.