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Mike Lindell says there aren't many crack addicts who've become successful, but he's among them.

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"It can be done, people," the laughed.


The self-made multimillionaire and also infomercial superstar developed the MyPillow empire from scrape in 2004. He did it while addicted to drugs. "People say all the moment that's among the greatest miracles ever."

He's been clean and sober for over eight years, but his route from rags come riches — and almost back to rags — is an amazing American success story.

It is also one long, strange trip.


MyPillow is situated in Lindell's hometown of Chaska, Minnesota, exterior Minneapolis, a location he's constantly stayed nearby to. Ago in 1979, "I saw the U of M (University of Minnesota) because that one quarter, and also I was working 2 jobs," the said. "I felt favor I was just wasting mine time."

He battered school and also continued functioning both jobs, including one at a grocery store. "I actually gained fired in ~ the grocery store store," Lindell said.


He clashed with the manager, but he believes the manager sparked his business man spirit. "He says, 'Well, Mike, if you don't prefer it here, maybe get your own company someday.'"

Lindell did, yet only after several failures.


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In the '80s, Lindell do the efforts to make money in a range of ways. He started a carpet cleaning company after his sister's apartment came to be flooded. "I said, 'Wow, this would be a an excellent business,' and I wasn't doing anything."

Then the tried to do money as a professional card counter in ras Vegas. That didn't constantly go well. "I remember gift at one of the huge casinos," Lindell recalled. He thought the dealer to be cheating him.

Outraged, the then 22-year-old child from Minnesota referred to as over the pit bosses. "I said, 'He's second dealing me! He's 2nd dealing me!' and I'm reasoning this guy is in trouble." Lindell was wrong. "They came about the table and also picked me up and also literally threw me with the prior door."

Lindell's other zany organization ventures contained trying to raise pigs. The went south as soon as the pigs broke out that the pen the had set up in a residential area. Climate "the hog sector collapsed and I lost everything," the says.

That was followed by a having lunch wagon business he began after hearing how successful they were in California. "We didn't have actually nothing prefer that on this next of the twin Cities." Lindell bought a lunch wagon and went to the biggest service in town, forcing his means in to watch the boss and also promising free sandwiches for everyone during a one-week trial. The boss gave the go-ahead. "He liked that businessman spirit."

Eventually, though, Lindell began working as a bartender, and also then buying a bar. "Probably wasn't a real great idea because I was an addict in ~ the time, a nice hard-core cocaine addict."

More on the in a minute.


All his life, Lindell had trouble sleeping and never preferred his pillow. "I to be 16 years old in ~ the Supervalu store in Chaska, Minnesota, working as a bag boy, and also with among my checks i went out and also bought a $70 pillow in 1977," he said. "Who does that as a teenager?"

In 2004 the idea for MyPillow, a pillow that would host its shape, came to him in a dream. "I got up in the middle of the night — the was about 2 in the morning — and also I had 'My Pillow' written all over in the kitchen and all end the house."

One the his daughters come upstairs to gain a glass that water and asked, "What are you doing, Dad?" Lindell stated he called her, "I've obtained this idea because that this pillow. It's gonna be called MyPillow. What perform you think about it?" she reaction still provides him laugh. "She goes, 'That's yes, really random,' and also she went ago downstairs."

Lindell dove in come the project, persuaded the dream come from God. He and his son, Darren, spent hrs cutting increase foam and also testing configurations before they came up v a pillow that would hold its shape. Lindell teach himself how to darn — "I didn't know how to object the bobbin" — and he converted an old hammer mill to reduced up the foam.

Eventually, Lindell had made several dozen pillows, and he checked out the local Bed, Bath and Beyond. "I said, 'I have actually the ideal pillow in the world. How countless would girlfriend like?' and also they were like, 'OK, you should leave.'"

A relative suggested Lindell collection up a kiosk in the mall. "I said, 'What's a kiosk, and how perform you assignment that?'" He borrowed $15,000 to collection up a kiosk throughout Christmas, however sold just 80 pillows. However, one buyer was a guy who ran a regional home present in Minneapolis. Lindell claimed the guy was therefore impressed with the pillow, he invited Lindell to involved the following show.

That's once sales began to take off. "We marketed out."


The pillow job kept Lindell's cocaine seeks at bay, yet it never went far entirely. "And climate I obtained into cracked cocaine," that admits. During this time, Lindell's marriage broke up, he lost his house, and he virtually lost his business.

In in march 2008, Lindell said, he was awake because that at least two mainly doing crack. He tells an tremendous story about his dealer, Lee, who placed the word out on the street that no one to be to market Lindell any an ext drugs till he got some sleep.

Still, Lindell tried come score the night after Lee fell asleep, but no one would market him also a single rock. "One the the guys said, 'You're our just hope.'" as soon as Lindell went back to his dealer's apartment, Lee was awake. "He goes, 'Give me her phone. I'm going to take it a picture. You're going to require this for her book.'"

Lindell still has actually the picture. That looks haggard and also disheveled. It will be on the sheathe of his upcoming autobiography.

Even after every that, it would take another 10 months for Lindell to really hit bottom. Top top Jan. 16, 2009, "I had actually one prayer the night," the said. "God, I desire to wake up up in the morning and never have actually the desire again."

Lindell was convinced that God had actually bigger plans for him, because his company was starting to execute well. "I wake up up the next day — and also you've gained to establish this is year of cracked addiction — i go, 'Wow, something's different.'"

He stated that to be the start of his sobriety. His desire because that any kind of cocaine "was just gone."


By 2011, MyPillow was gaining some media attention. A local newspaper profiled Lindell and the company. The work the story come out, he was earlier in vegas making some money in ~ the card table.

Lindell constantly had his phone collection to ding every time one order come in. Suddenly, there to be a ding, and the dealer request him around it. "I said, 'My dream is to have actually (my phone) ding so lot I'll need to turn the off.'"

At that moment, the phone started dinging choose crazy. "I still obtain goose bumps when I talk about it," Lindell said. "I sold more pillows that day than I had actually in probably the whole fifty percent a year combined."

Soon Lindell began taking out print ads telling his story, and then that had an additional dream: make an infomercial. However even that undertaking had its very own strange course to success. The night before the very first taping, the producers uncovered Lindell wasn't good at analysis a script. "So we simply went live the following morning through no teleprompter ... And also I just ad libbed it."

It apparently worked. "By the finish of the year, us went from five employees to 500." The firm now has actually close to 1,500 employees, plenty of of whom have actually his an individual cellphone number in situation something goes wrong.

Over the last six years, Lindell estimates he's spent $100 million ~ above infomercials. The results? He's offered 30 million pillows, and also revenues have actually grown from approximately $100,000 a year to close to $300 million.


Lindell's dream come true has had actually a pair of nightmares in the last year. First, California authorities sued the agency for do unsubstantiated health and wellness claims. Lindell stated he resolved rather than go come court. "They would have run me out of money." The negotiation has required him to redo advertising, and it resulted in a pause in sales that led to layoffs in the spring. That insists company is ago on track.

Then the better Business office revoked MyPillow's A+ grade, turning it into an F. The reason? The company's never-ending 2-for-1 price "deal," i beg your pardon goes against BBB standards because Lindell is production his very own product and is as such his very own wholesaler. "Everyone assumed it to be political, which i still think it is."

Political, perhaps, because Lindell was very early supporter of Donald Trump, and also that support has not wavered. Trump asked to accomplish Lindell last summer, and also the chairman highlighted MyPillow together a an excellent example of manufacturing work in the joined States. Lindell was even invited to the White House and sat next to Trump in ~ a "Made in America" event. Lindell to be impressed. "This male is walking to it is in the most amazing chairman in history."


Lessons learned


These days Lindell has expanded the MyPillow product line to incorporate beds, linens and also pet beds. He's focusing an ext on his foundation, which networks funds to inner-city programs. There's the upcoming book, and maybe a movie, through the assist of his friend, gibbs Stephen Baldwin.

It's a stunner story. It's additionally a service story, and also Lindell has a few pieces that advice because that novice entrepreneurs.

First, if you create something, get a patent. Even if it's a provisional patent, that will defend your idea. Lindell did therefore after a huge pillow company rep suggested to him that someone might shot to patent his very same idea just to save such a product turn off the market.

Second, hit for far better shipping rates. Lindell didn't realize because that a lengthy time the he can command far better pricing based on volume. "I was more than likely $5 or $6 million in the hole" as result of shipping costs in 2012. It's hard for entrepreneurs as soon as they're little to get an excellent prices top top stuff."

Third, you need to have a enthusiasm for what you're selling, and you have to treat every customer prefer they are your only customer.

More than anything, Lindell really hopes his story convinces other human being struggling v addiction that things can get better.

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"I look ago now, and also I go, 'The only method that us were maybe to perform that was divine intervention.'"

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