Mike as an entrepreneur - and crack cocaine addict
Mike was always an entrepreneur. He was also a cocaine addict starting in the early 80s. And, before the MyPillow business, he owned bars. He had been through drug treatment in the 80’s, but, “being in the bar business, everybody was either drinking or on cocaine.” So, treatment didn't work.
Then Mike switched to crack cocaine in the early 2000's and, as Mike relates, “I couldn't function like I had before - things finally started catching up.”
Mike has a dream - about MyPillow
Mike sold the bars in 2003. And, in 2004, God gave Mike a dream about MyPillow, so he started putting all his energy and the money from the sale of the bar into inventing MyPillow. And, after 1 1/2 years, Mike finally invented what he deemed as “the best pillow ever.” And, he was "completely broke."
But, full of confidence, Mike took his prized pillow to box stores to sell the pillow to them. They all firmly rejected him though.
Those rejections led Mike to try to sell his pillows at a kiosk in a shopping mall. But the kiosk was not that successful for, due to issues of divorce in his childhood, Mike was shy and had a hard time talking with people.
And, just when he was about to borrow money from a bookie he knew to try to keep the kiosk going, one of the customers from the kiosk called to say that "this pillow changed my life". This customer ran the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show and offered Mike a spot at the show.
At the show, Mike found that "an interesting thing happened with a table in front of me. I was able to talk to people because I had an agenda without being on drugs." He found that he could "talk their ear off about this pillow,” especially since people "started coming back into the show saying, 'Wow, I slept really well on this pillow last night.'"
And, the show was a tremendous success, so good that Mike went on the road selling his pillows at fairs and home shows around the country.
Mike beats his addictions
Meanwhile, though, Mike was doing crack cocaine. "Everything was crumbling. We were losing our house, we were losing everything.” And, he not only lost his house, he lost his marriage, and almost lost the MyPillow business.
In fact, Mike's addiction was so bad that three of the biggest dealers in Minneapolis had an intervention after Mike had been up for 14 days.
And, shortly after that, a friend came to him and told him how he had found Jesus three years prior and had been clean for 3 years. So, Mike was able to talk to someone he trusted and get answers about recovery, like "is it boring?".
Then, a month later, on January 16, 2009, Mike prayed, saying he never wanted to wake up in the morning and have the desire for drugs, and saying that he would use the MyPillow platform as a platform for good.
For, Mike had been having dreams about the MyPillow platform and how it could help others, and Mike knew that if he waited one more day, his calling would be gone.
And, he did "wake up the next day and the desires were gone." He has been clean ever since that day.
Mike creates the MyPillow infomercial
Mike then went to work and got the home shows and fairs going again. Then, in 2011, Mike had another dream: to make "the biggest infomercial in the world."
Mike first tried using a teleprompter for the infomercial, but that was a disaster: one line took 9 takes! So, they brought out a table to emulate the MyPillow home show environment, and Mike proceeded to sell the MyPillow just as if he was at one of his home shows, without a teleprompter.
And the infomercial was a phenomenal success. MyPillow had 5 employees at the time and 40 days later. MyPillow had 500 employees and has now grown to 1,600 employees.
The Lindell Foundation
Then, on February 18, 2017, Mike went to an Operation Restored Warriors for Veterans, and Mike found Jesus. So now, Mike has the "same passion for Jesus that I do for MyPillow.”
And Mike is using this evangelistic calling with the Lindell Foundation. The Lindell Foundation will be a site with vetted needs. For example, one of the needs could be what a woman in a homeless shelter needs to change her life. Then, donors can choose a need and will then get to hear the details about the difference they made in the donee's life. By being more specific in the giving, donors can feel they made a difference, and 100% of the money given to the foundation will go towards the needs.
Lindell Recovery Network
The Lindell Recovery Network is also part of the Lindell Foundation. The network will have "thousands of stories of hope from addicts that have made it through and now are clean." So, "imagine if you're a 22-year-old opiate addict and you can't relate to a 56-year-old meth addict." With the Lindell Recovery Network, “he punches in his age, he punches in what his addiction is and all these stories of addicts just like him that have made it through will appear. Now, the addict has hope."
Then, on the right side of the website, there will be a list of all the faith-based help centers that Mike has personally vetted. There will also be paid mentors who have come clean that can help the addict, which will be a win-win, for "when people mentor people they also help themselves".
Mike has a book coming out soon called "What are the odds - from crack addict to CEO." All the profits from the sale of the book will go to the Lindell Foundation.
Mike's goal: give people hope
Ultimately, Mike’s big goal is to give people hope. For, as he says,
“People need hope nowadays. Everybody knows people that are dying and having major issues. But we got to get hope out there, kick the shame out of addiction, tell them that it's okay, and that if you are clean you need to tell your story about how you made it through”.