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We are back with a brand new season. Now Life as a Gringo speaks to Latinos who are born or raised here in the States. It's about educating and breaking those generational curses that man have been holding us back for far too long. I'm here to discuss the topics that are relevant to all of us and to define what it means to live as our true authentic self. Listen to Life as a Gringo on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. MUSIC Authentic account by a man most people thought would never rise above his addiction-fueled failures.
Let's take a listen. I didn't know what I wanted to be and it was like that was the thing to do, go to college. I didn't go to class. I went to class twice and I was working two jobs. My roommate's going, what are you even here for?
And I would just go take the test and still get seized at not even doing anything. And I just thought it was a waste of time. And I'm going, it's a repeat of high school. And that bothered me.
I'm not going to sit here and waste my time. That's the way I thought. The driver for me was my fifth three year reunion. Everyone's now is out of college. They get these amazing jobs.
They've started families. In my mind, they were way ahead of me. It was bothering me inside. And then I'm doing stuff to show off. And I was a card counter.
Then I took a card counting class, professional card counting. I'm bragging at the reunion about skydiving with a parachute not opening and my car accidents and my card counter. Things that they've never seen are the mafia coming after me. So I'm blowing their minds. And so we don't get on the topic of, yeah, how you doing for work?
What are you doing, Mike? How many kids you got? How's your family? I'm just completely putting up this wall for these other things. And so they're all thinking I'm nuts, basically. Then I prayed. I said, God, all I want is to meet the right woman and have kids and the white picket fence, so to speak. And then God brought that all to me and handed it to me on a silver platter. And by then I was a very functioning cocaine addict, too. But I lost it all, eventually lost it all. I had this mask on and probably from when the divorce from childhood, when all this, you know, the divorce happened and everything, I always had to have, that's when I got a hold of cocaine.
It was so easy. Everything I did, I had to be on cocaine to be able to talk to people and be able to have my confidence because I have this unworthiness inside of me. That was, it's been quite a journey to where now I'm, if you had told me I would be speaking in front of people or doing a commercial, I would have said, there is no way or, you know, but what I noticed, I could have the same passion with the cocaine or without, only in one spot behind that booth.
Once I left that booth, I mean, it's like walking into another world. I'd walk, if I'm in and I have to talk to you and you're the next booth over and we're going to talk about the weather, it's not happening. I'm climbing up. I'm avoiding you.
I'm going, hey, yeah, we'll talk to you later. I didn't know what to say. I was very, very socially stunted in that respect where, where you go back to my addiction and you're going, you get stunted socially. I probably have the social skills of a 12 year old as far as, you know, which probably isn't bad today that people say, oh, you just talk, say what you want. Every part of it I invented, you know, and it was, and it was helping people where people come up that had bought the pillow, let's say the day before and come back to the show and say, this changed my life.
And just the look in their face of helping them. The money wasn't a money never, but for me, I didn't have money. It didn't matter if I had money, I would, I had a skill. I could go out and find, get money. And I never borrowed money.
If I borrowed money, I would pay you back double because I couldn't, I couldn't accept anything from anybody. I have another wound where I don't accept. I'm a giver, but I can't accept, which I've worked on. That's the way, you know, I am. And that's a wound. That's actually, it's not a healthy thing either.
It's to be able to accept is also just as good as blessing someone. You would never see me and all here. I was an addict for, from 1984 to 2009 and there isn't one person out there that said I borrowed money for drugs and didn't pay him back. If you and I were doing drugs, I'm not taking some of your drugs. You're taking mine.
You know, I'm not going to sell you anything. I'm going to give things to you. And that's, it was a, but to be able to be in that pillow show and to just see people coming up and they just, I just felt like this, you know, God gave me the idea for the pillow in the first place. And it was, I'm going, wow. This would be when I, I never, I wouldn't get depressed because of that.
It was like a constant feed of people going, this is amazing. This change, you know, I had this with my neck and this and I'm getting sleep now. I knew it was such a divine problem solution and it was a, I could have sat and just help people forever in that and never, and never got, I wasn't thinking like, okay, I'm going to make millions of dollars. My thought was always, I'm going to help millions of people.
There's a difference. What happened was all my life, I tried every pill. Even when I was 16 years old, I bought one of my first paychecks, went to buy a pillow.
This is 1977. So I spent the most expensive pillow thinking it would be the best. It was a down pillow and it was the worst because they, you know, I know now they just sell us air. I mean, I mean, how can that be?
It feels good. The down it goes, but I couldn't return it. That I do remember. They would not let me return that pillow. But then throughout my life, I'm trying different pillows and, and, uh, people always say, how ironic. You were a cocaine addict and you invented something to sleep. But I, uh, but I always had problems and I, and, uh, and it was with sleep and wake up in the morning, headache, neck ache, but most of these sleep interruptions are not being able to get to sleep right away. They used to have old commercials and say, we spend a third of our life sleeping. Really?
We all know that it's the other two thirds. It affects how you deal with your family. If you have a day off, if you're tired, it's no fun. You know, you need to have quality sleep and it's so important. So in, in 2004, I had a very clear dream of the name My Pillow that just popped in. It was a, you know, a God dream of the My Pillow name. And I put My Pillow and I go, that sounds really corny, you know? Um, but I go, well, where's My Pillow? But my daughter came upstairs and there was, she looked and there were pieces of paper written all over and was, uh, and Lizzie says, uh, she gets a glass of water. I don't know.
She's 11 years old maybe. And she said, what are you doing, dad? And I go, I'm going to invent this pillow. And I realized I hadn't even got the, you know, what, what it's going to be made of or what it's going to do.
It's going to be the best thing ever. I've seen it. And, and this is going to be called My Pillow. And she looks at all these pieces of paper. She goes, that's really random, dad.
And she went back downstairs. And you've been listening to Mike Lindell, the inventor and the founder and CEO of My Pillow and MyPillow.com. And he's talking about how he came to his discovery, how he came to the founding of his business, and also how so much of his life was dominated by drugs.
And this early childhood feeling that somehow he wasn't worthy. And when we come back, more of Mike Lindell's story, the story of My Pillow, a gigantic and successful American story, an American manufacturing story, no less, here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.
But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to OurAmericanStories.com and click the donate button. Give a little, give a lot.
Go to OurAmericanStories.com and give. Welcome to Biggie Burger. I'll take a cheeseburger?
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That's 8337-ROCKET or go to inflationbuster.com. You wouldn't settle for watching a blurry TV, would you? So why settle for just okay TV sound? Upgrade your streaming and sound all in one with Roku Streambar. This powerful 2-in-1 upgrade for any TV lets you stream your favorite entertainment in brilliant 4K HDR picture and hear every detail with auto speech clarity. Whether you're hosting a party or just cleaning the house, turn it up and rock out with iHeartRadio and room-filling sound. Learn more about Roku Streambar today at roku.com.
Happy streaming! And we continue with our American Stories. In 2004, Mike Lindell, MyPillow's CEO, had what he called a God Dream, which gave him the idea for the name of his pillow invention. His 11-year-old daughter called it random and thought his passion would be over by morning.
Let's return to Mike. Now, over the next week or so, and then it got turned into two weeks, three weeks, where I'm trying different things. I'm trying to think what this pillow's going to be. Well, then the kids said to their mother at the time, they said, when's dad going to get over this pillow thing? And he says, oh, it's just a phase.
It'll be over. At that time, I wasn't doing anything. I sold my little bar and restaurant for 13 years. My total focus was in this pillow now, and so I ran it completely out of money. Well, then I started getting the dreams of what it needed to be, this adjustability where you could move it and it would hold. And the fabric, you know, it was like God dreams, just amazing dreams. But I still had to figure out the material for what I'm getting in my dream. So we tried over 94 different kinds of foams and fills to put in there. My one son, Darren, and I, he was now managing 1,200 employees of the manufacturing.
That's what he does now. But he's like 9 or 10 years old, and every day we get home from school and we try different kinds of stuff on the deck, and the foam would fly all over the neighborhood, and we tried little machines to get the work. Finally, we get it and it worked, but I wanted to make it so that it would last. You know, in my dream it said it would last 10 years, and I worked with these engineers in Wisconsin. I said, here's what I had in my dream, make this, but it didn't stick together.
Then I went back to them and I said, no, I want this part. And that same company, by the way, I have to this day in Wisconsin where this patent and fill is made, amazing. And people said, oh, Mike, you can't make a pillow here in the United States.
You've got to make it overseas. I said, no, you're never going to get a patent on a pillow. And all these naysayers, and I'm going, and I fought every single thing to, you know, it was a constant fight. Anyway, I told my son, I said, I did a piece of paper. I said, here's what our factory is going to look like someday.
I still have it in my notebook. I said, he goes, what's this quality control? I said, you're going to have this.
This is very important, I said. I'm showing them all these things, and you could take that and lay it over our factory nowadays. I mean, it was all divine. So anyway, once we had the pillows all made, we had everything. We had mortgaged our house, everything, and we had no money left, but we had like 300 pillows. And I went into the first pillow.
I walked into a, it was a bed bathroom beyond, I'll just say the name. In Bloomington, Minnesota, I go in there, I said, I got the best pillow ever. I said, this pillow is going to change, you know, change, you're going to sell more of this than anything.
It helps this, helps you sleep, blah, blah, blah. Where's your buyer? Who's your buyer?
Who's your manager? And he looks at me, he goes, you need to leave. And I'm going, I just had all this passion, you know.
And I'm going, what do you mean I need to leave? I said, I want to talk to your buyer, and I learned right away. And I started calling on other stores, and everybody, it was the same shutout. My brother-in-law's brother said, Mike, why don't you do a kiosk? And I said, what's that, how do you spell kiosk? And then we did this kiosk, and we did sell about 80 pillows.
The one day, obviously we lost, I don't know, like $15,000 because it's very expensive to have a kiosk on November and December. But one guy, I was in there the one day, and he came up and he said, he buys, he said, hey, do you have a card? And I go, I don't have business cards. I go, oh, I'm all out, I sit here, and I gave him my number.
And in January of that year, now, the kiosk was almost, you know, a complete failure, basically. And I borrowed money from my ex-bookie to buy Christmas presents that year. And by the way, the reason he was my ex-bookie, he said, if you quit gambling, I'll borrow you money. I mean, that's, you know, he cared. So this guy called me in January, and he says, are you the guy that invented this pillow?
The one guy I gave my phone number to, and I go, yeah. And he goes, this pillow changed my life. He says, it is a miracle.
And he was all about that. And I'm excited hearing his, you know, hearing his, not worrying about where I am at, that this is, I'm going, I was just so happy for him on the phone that it helped him. And he goes, I run the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, would you like a spot in there? And I go, and I'm thinking to myself right away, well, the kiosk didn't work. And I'm going, I go, well, maybe there's more people or something, you know, and I'm going, sure.
But what I did is I got behind that booth, you know, where I could sell. And once I got behind, it was, it was like, wow. And I'm telling people, and as I'm seeing people that had come back, they would literally come back the next day. So many people after that first day going, this is a miracle.
And the same thing the guy said. Now I'm feeding off this passion, and I'm just, it was like amazing where, that I'd realized I could sell, and I could sell and help people. So this just went, and I sold out that four days. Sold out, I was, and I'm going, wow, I can, this is where I'm going to be.
I can support my family in spite of everybody turning me down. So I started doing home shows and fairs. They had, the Minnesota State Fair recently had to move us, this is two years ago, last year, move us from the grandstand because we were so busy clogging the aisles. This is 12 years later or whatever, whatever it was, you know. I'll backtrack a little, the, on January 16, 2009, that's when I quit everything overnight, you know, crack cocaine and everything.
If you went back, there's a lot of stuff happened in 2008, but we were actually, it was lights out. We were making, we were labeling the pillows in our living room, and these guys were taking our company. They were, what little bit we had, it was just us, but they were taking that, and we were losing our house. We ended up getting divorced that month, later that month, and I said, Karen, if we ever make it, I'm taking all the debt, and if I ever make it, obviously I'll never stop taking care, you know, helping you and take care of you and take care of the kids. But throughout it all, the thread was the company never died.
People tried to take it, destroy it from every angle. In 2008, my dealers, they did an intervention on me. I get downtown Minneapolis, and all three of them are in the room. I go, what are you guys doing here? Now, I'm in a, the worst part of Minneapolis, in the one guy's apartment, his second apartment, Joe's second apartment, they said, you guys know each other?
I'm up for 14 days, or, you know, they said it was 19, it's 14. And the one guy says, he goes, what am I here for? And he goes, well, Mike's been up 19 days, and we're shutting him off.
And the one guy leaves, he says he ain't getting nothing from any of my people or me, and he was just disgusted and left. And the other, and before he left, though, you know, the one guy says, he goes, you made a promise to us, because all the time when I'd be doing drugs and stuff, I would always promise them this is a platform that's going to help. When I quit, I'm going to come back and help everyone, you know, get out of this horrific addiction and everything. And I prophesied that back then I would be in, there were many times I was in crack houses or bars, whatever, and I would talk about Revelation, which I read about when I was ever in jail. You know, every time I was in jail, I'd read the Bible, about the only time I would, you know. And so I'm telling these guys, well, they would quit that day, the next day.
Like 28 people quit all through my life. I'm going, well, what did I say? And they go, I don't know, but it sure made sense.
Well, normally you would think it's a hypocrite. Yeah, this is really bad, give me another line, you know. And they would listen, but all that time it was me trying to convince myself, whether it would be Jesus or whether it would be to get off the drugs. So anyway, these guys are in the middle of this intervention thing and I'm going, and one guy kicks the other guy, Joe, out of his own apartment and he sits there in the chair next to me, says, how much you have left? And I had, I don't know, enough to probably last an hour or so. And he sits there and now I run out and I'm scraping the pipe, anybody that's on crack out there.
You're scraping the residue out of the pipe and re-smoking it and trying to, then you're looking on the ground all over the carpet trying to find pieces you may have dropped over the last few days. And it's horrific. And then anyway, I look over and he's asleep.
So I head on down to the streets. And you're hearing a remarkable and pretty crazy story about how Mike Lindell started his company. And by the way, so many entrepreneurial stories are a bit crazy. And here he is, mortgaging everything, his home, his life, and all for this dream, all for this idea of a pillow. When he finally gets the product down, he does what entrepreneurs do. He goes to bed bath and beyond to sell, door shut. Everywhere he's turning, door shut. And does that stop Lindell?
No. But what does happen is a miraculous intervention. One person tells them one transformational experience and opens up the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show. And Lindell decides, I'm going to sell this pillow myself.
And that opens up so many more opportunities for what is now a really great American company, employing 1,100 people manufacturing right here. Can't make it in the U.S., he was told? He said no.
Can't get patents for a pillow? Mike Lindell says no. But what he can't say no to is crack cocaine. Imagine this, folks. Drug dealers staging an intervention. Your own drug dealers saying, enough, we're cutting you off.
The story of Mike Lindell continues here on Our American Stories. Welcome to Biggie Burger. I'll take a cheeseburger?
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That's kind of cool. Right, so you get the car you want at the price you want. It's like getting your burger just how you like it. Get every rebate and discount available, then save big on your next car with Roto. Download the Roto app or check out Roto.com. Roto, the easiest way to buy or sell a car right from your phone.
Buying a home? Rocket Mortgage will cover 1% of your rate for the first year at no cost to you, saving you hundreds, even thousands, with Inflation Buster. For example, if you lock a 7% rate today, you'll only pay 6% for a year. That's more game days. More girls' trips. More family gatherings. Every month for a year and your rate is secured for 30 years. Plus, if rates drop within three years of your home purchase, you get exclusive savings when you refinance with Rate Drop Advantage. More kitchen upgrades.
More room to grow. More cash in your pocket. Save when you buy today and refinance tomorrow. Call 833-7-ROCKET today or visit inflationbuster.com to start saving. That's 833-7-ROCKET or go to inflationbuster.com.
For fees covered, rate, luck, date, requirements, and other terms and conditions, visit inflationbuster.com or call 1-833-7-ROCKET, equal options, lender license, and all 50 states, and unless consumeraccess.org number 33. You wouldn't settle for watching a blurry TV, would you? So why settle for just okay TV sound? Upgrade your streaming and sound all in one with Roku Streambar. This powerful two-in-one upgrade for any TV lets you stream your favorite entertainment in brilliant 4K HDR picture and hear every detail with auto speech clarity. Whether you're hosting a party or just cleaning the house, turn it up and rock out with iHeartRadio and room-filling sound. Learn more about Roku Streambar today at roku.com.
Happy streaming. And we continue with Al American Stories, where Mike Lindell, MyPillow's inventor and CEO, has been sharing with us his story. In 2008, Lindell's drug dealers staged an intervention. They came to him and said, If you've been awake for 19 days, we're shutting you off. After one of the dealers got kicked out of the apartment, the other fell asleep.
Let's return to Mike Lindell. So I head on down to the streets. The only white guy, they're going, You ain't getting nothing from me.
You're not getting nothing from me, and you're not getting nothing, you know. How do they know it's me? And my buddy, Joe, he goes, Yeah, Mike didn't realize. We told him, you know, if a crazy white guy comes down with a mustache, you know. So Joe just told this story the other day, and he, because he works for, no, he's a Christian, he lives in the, he works for my company. Is he one of the dealers?
One of the dealers, yeah. And he just told the story. So anyway, I get back to the room, and I feed it, and I get in there, and he says, How'd that work out for you? And I said, I was so mad.
And it was like 2.30 in the morning, 3 in the morning. And he goes, Give me your phone. You're going to take this picture. You told us you're going to write a book.
You're going to need this for your book. And you, you know, you make your promise. You've got to keep your promise.
You ain't going to be dying on us, you know. And that was in March of 2008. And in fact, my book is, it's going to be amazing. It's got that picture and where I am today, and it says, you know, What are the odds from crack addict to CEO?
It's called, What are the odds? So that, so then an interesting thing happened. A week after that little intervention, I'm sitting all by myself at this place I was living, and I get a phone call now from that little public access station I was on. And that lady was a nice Christian lady.
She would air it. And I would get phone calls of people wanting to buy pillows then, you know. So it was helping me out.
And, and well that night, it's about 9.30 at night and the phone rings and I answer and I'm up doing, you know, of course I'm still up for probably two, three days. And she says, You know, are you the guy I've seen on channel six? And I said, Yeah. She says, Well, she says, God, God, I prayed and God told me to call you and say what you're doing is so important to the kingdom.
Can we pray about it? And I said, Okay, so we're praying. About a half hour goes by and she goes, I say goodbye and I still have her name, by the way, for this, you know, the proof that this happened. About another hour goes by and another lady calls up and this never had happened, okay.
I really got one call to buy a pillow. And she calls up. She says, Are you the guy I've seen on channel six that invented this pillow? And I said, Yeah.
She goes, Well, I haven't bought one. But she said, I was gonna call him and see if it's okay to pray with you. She said, And what you're doing is so important to God. And I'm going, Okay. And so we pray for about an hour. That was a long one. And we prayed. I talked right now.
You know, I'm doing lines of cocaine. I wanted someone to talk to anyway, you know. And now three in the morning, this guy calls up same night. And he calls up and he answers and he goes, I want to get you the guy on TV.
And he was mad. And I go, Yeah. He goes, Let me get something clear here.
I don't believe in God. But I keep getting this dream that I'm supposed to call you and tell you what you're doing is important to God. And he slams the phone down, very upset. Now about seven in the morning, the phone rings, and I get on there.
I go, You don't want to buy a pillow. You want to pray. And she goes, How did you know?
And I'm going, It seems to be the thing tonight. So we prayed. So that day, I'm going, Wow, you know, and I knew that this platform, then my sister called me up a week later. She says, You got to quit standing in front of semis and thinking that God's going to pick someone else for this. He chose you for some for a big calling. My sister is telling me this and I'm going, and I'm thinking to myself, Yeah, I heard that last week. You know, she goes, You have a calling and this and she said, This window is going to close and God's going to choose someone else in here. And but then I'm kind of thinking, Well, if I'm chosen for this, I can surely wait, you know. So I procrastinated through the year and then other things. And you got it on January 16, 2009. I sat there and I'm going, OK.
It was just like you're probably too young to remember, but they used to have black and white TVs. When you turn them off, there'd be that little tiny dot and you turned it back on before that dot went out. Right. And and in my mind, I just knew that if I waited one more day, someone else would be chosen. And this would be. And at the same time, I thought, You know what? This is going to help so many people because this is going to be God's going to show the best comeback or the best with God. All things are possible ever.
This story, this story is going to be an amazing story. I actually thought that the day I quit. And and so I said, I prayed, I said, God, I want to wake up in the morning and free me from all these addictions.
I don't ever want to feel them that, you know, the desire free me from the desire. So I overnight, of course, I did a bunch of drugs and then the next day when I went to bed, I woke up. I go, wow, I thought I'd have all this pain, plus this big world on my shoulder, you know. And and what I did then is I go, OK, God, here we go.
What do I do on my company? I found out these guys had taken all my shows and they had also taken my fabric and I had to pay for this fabric. The guy I know he was in on it, but I had to pay him for it and act like I was still his friend. And I needed thirty thousand dollars by that Friday. Now, I was led to these guys.
There were eight of them. Now, they're all in suits. And I'm petrified of talking to people, much less suits. I had very insecurity that I'm not worthy.
I'm not as good as them. And I walked in and there was a C CFO, a CIO, a CDO and all these C's. And I'm going, OK, I need thirty thousand dollars.
I'll pay you back forty thousand. And within three months, I have nothing. I used to be a crack cocaine addict and I have nothing. The guy goes, I'm telling this whole story. The guy goes, there's CFO or something. He goes, well, when did you quit crack?
And I said, last Thursday. And four of them got up and left the room and shook their head like it's some kind of candid camera joke. And they leave and I didn't even blink. I said, OK, now there's four of you. They're all going to put in seventy five hundred. So they all put in there. They all put it. They ended up doing it. OK, so in 2009, then I spent 2009 and 10 getting back my company, getting back shows and fairs and fighting these guys taking my company.
One guy even said, I said, you know, this is going to be so big. I forgive you. Come back.
Three times I asked him any day and he still didn't do it. You know, it's kind of sad now. I think, you know, I pray for them all the time.
The ones that have done that. But I got through it and then it gets to be January 2nd of 2011. I had a dream that I was going to be in the Minneapolis Tribune. I'd had this dream.
Finally, they had came out and interviewed me and they didn't know if they were going to run this thing or not. And at that time, I'm out in Laughlin, Nevada, and I'm talking to my Rob Laughlin. Don Laughlin built the town of Laughlin and whatever, and his name.
He's from Minnesota. And Rob's standing there and my phone dinged. And he said, what's that? And I said, that's an order. I said, someday my phone is going to get so loud I'm going to have to turn it off, Rob. And I no more said that and we heard da-da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da. It just kept going.
And I'm looking at it and it's spinning literally on the Internet because it orders, orders, orders, orders, orders. And he looks over and he goes, looks like it's working or something like that. He made some comment.
He talks real slow and real kind of a subtle sarcasm. And I'm going, Rob, this hasn't happened before. And I'm going, and I didn't think it was real. I mean, it was just.
Well, what happened was that article did launch in the Minneapolis Tribune. I did more that day in sales than I had the whole, probably previous six months maybe. And at one point I took 20,000 minutes myself on that phone. It wouldn't matter when anybody called. I would try halfway across Minnesota to get somebody their pillow by the guy's birthday. You know, this is the way I was.
Every customer was my only customer. And you've been listening to Mike Lindell share his story and what a story it is indeed. And for all the Americans out there listening who've had that kind of transformational faith story and faith experience, this is not new to you.
And for those who haven't, well, it's got to be at least interesting. It changes Mike Lindell's life. It changes his nature and his character. And here he is trying to forgive and bring back many of the people who had tried to steal his company from him because this was the nature of the transformation.
It had freed him from the desire for that drug and to do something else to sublimate that desire someplace more productive, someplace higher. When we return, more with Mike Lindell, the founder and inventor over at my pillow here on Our American Stories. Ready, set, roto. Buying a home, Rocket Mortgage will cover 1% of your rate for the first year at no cost to you, saving you hundreds, even thousands, with Inflation Buster. For example, if you lock a 7% rate today, you'll only pay 6% for a year.
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Happy streaming. And we continue with Our American Stories, and Mike Lindell's story, and Mike is the founder, inventor, and man behind the American manufacturing enterprise, MyPillow. Let's pick up where we last left off.
I would try halfway across Minnesota to get somebody their pillow by the guy's birthday. You know, this is the way I was. Every customer was my only customer, and it was exciting times. I had other people doing shows then, but then I said to myself, I'm going to duplicate that. Why can't I make an ad that's real? People like what's truth and real, and so I did.
I made an ad with myself holding the pillow, and I just wrote, hi, I'm Mike Lindell, and I went through all this, and I put God bless on there. That ad ran, and it's called Remnant Ads, and it can drop any time. Well, we stayed the first few, and it was just, it was just explode.
It was like 10 times what we were paying. Wow, so I'm putting the money back in, and people are calling me from New York because it started to come out in these other papers. They're going, did you make this ad? This is terrible. Did you write this yourself? We can do so much better, blah, blah, blah, and now it's the number one ad in history. Look it up. I'll put it up against any ad ever.
We've been in every paper over 200, 300 times in this country. Well, what happened then at that moment in time, I had, you know, I also parallel railroad tracks. I didn't have any money. I told my friends and family, let's all pool our money and do this infomercial dream I had. If nobody's going to take my pillow, let's bring it right to the people, and I didn't know that infomercials don't work. It's just to get in box stores.
You don't make money on the front end, but nobody told me that. It's like, I use it to the thing when they said, and it was an old Gilligan's Island episode, when Gilligan's up flying, and the skipper goes, Gilligan, get down here. You can't fly, and Gilligan says, I can't, and he crashed to the ground.
He was flying just fine until somebody told him he couldn't do it. Well, nobody told me I couldn't do it. We couldn't make this infomercial and couldn't make it, you know, amazing. It would be the biggest in my head.
I'm going, this is going to be the biggest ever. I'm telling my friends and family, well, in order to, what I had in my head, I had to get people believing in me, and one of them was a fabric company that's in the U.S. here, and they're in their corporate office in New York. So I had to go off to New York and tell them, I mean, correct, because he had to buy great goods, which you can't return. I mean, this, you know, and they don't give credit. He had told me, that company had told me one time, it said, we don't care, and in fact, this was their quote. This is back in 2000, we don't care if you're Donald Trump.
Nobody gets credit because it's a patented fabric, right? Well, anyway, he looks over, I tell him about these, you know, my dream, and I said, I'm going to go to a million dollars a week or two million overnight, and then we're going to sell this much, you know, this much pillows, and I've seen it. And he goes, you really think you can do that?
I go, yeah, 100 percent I can do it. And he turns to his CFO guy, and he says, what do you guys think? And he goes, we have no, he goes, we don't have any credit on him. I go, I have no credit, I already told you that.
Or no, he goes, he already told you he has no credit, he has nothing. He looks back at me again, he goes, you really think you can do that? And I go, absolutely. He turns, he goes, order the great goods. And now he starts arguing with them, and he turns back to me again, and he goes, are you sure? And I go, absolutely, I can do it.
I'll hit that mark, you know. And he turns, he goes, I own the company, order the great goods. So I'm going, oh, that, you know, get out of there.
And so he orders this. But I'm mopping my floors, and we were just working on this little, tiny office in this garage, and I'm mopping the floors, and this phone rang, and it never rings. That phone never rings, but I answered it, and it was, yeah, this is WABC in New York. And I said, and I didn't know what it was, he says, would you like to, you know, come out and advertise, right?
I said, no, we don't do any advertising right now, advertising doesn't work or whatever. Because I was doing this infomercial, and I hung up. And, well, at that moment in time, this gal walks in, and she says, I said, wow, that phone just rang, there was some WABC thing, and she goes, that's the Imus station. And I'm going, and she had a thing, I mean, just the Imus was like, you know, and I'm going, who's the Imus?
I don't know who Imus is. And she calls him back, she goes, Mike, we can go out there to New York. I had never been to New York before. And I go, I don't care to meet this guy. And I said, radio doesn't work, I've got this infomercial. And she goes, no, I think it's important. So we fly out to New York, and we go to meet Imus. Now, she had sent pillows to him, right?
Well, he never got the pillows. So I go to meet Imus, and his manager, his guy at the time, this Jonathan, he says, now, you're only going to get five minutes with him at the most. And I'm going, okay, that's great, I don't care. And he comes in, and I go to shake hands, you know, what am I here for?
I don't shake hands. He sits down, and I go, okay, you know, I'm about ready to leave. I'm going, that's kind of, you know, whatever. And he goes, what am I here for? And I go, well, didn't you get the pillows? He goes, what pillows?
I don't know what you're talking about. And I go, and all of a sudden, I went into action, and there was a decorative pillow on his couch. I said, let's say this is one of my pillows. I said, I invented a pillow. And I started telling him a thing, and I'm standing up in front of him, and I'm telling him, yeah, I used to be an addict, a crack cocaine addict.
I mean, I'm just getting into all this. I'm telling him about inventing the pillow belt like I'm telling right now. And he looks up, and he goes, you're effing crazy. And Jonathan tries to cut him off. And Imus says, I want to hear some more from this guy.
Well, I talked for 50 minutes, okay. Now, Imus ends up getting the pillows, you know, and it changed his life. Him and I have become friends.
He's had me on his show numerous times over the six years. But a phenomenon happened right there, is that fall of 2011, I knew radio, you know, it worked. And Imus carried the ball. His passion, his passion for the pillow and for my story that I had been an addict.
And, you know, he believed in both. And, you know, it was a big, amazing thing that because we had ran out of money. We had no money. So that radio, we were living by a thread all the time. Now, on October 7, 2011, I'm living in my sister's basement, and this aired at 3 in the morning.
I'm not sure what channel, and all of a sudden this half-hour infomercial comes on, and I'm going, wow. And we exploded. We went from five employees to 540 days. We were hiring people as fast as we could.
We were working out of a little schoolhouse. They go, Mike, you need to be CEO. I go, that sounds horrible.
Don't they just take money? And then I go, we need an HR department. I go, that really sounds bad. And someone says, we need a corporate lawyer.
And we're going, oh, I mean, all these things. I just wanted to make pillows, you know. And we took in millions of dollars over the next six months, and then all of a sudden I wake up one day, I'm being copied on TV, and we're $6 million in the debt, and we don't use a bang. I didn't know my indirect costs.
I just wanted to make pillows. And people took such advantage of me, and it was sad. I'm going, oh, God, what? I said, God, I'm going to work the rest of my life for nothing.
It's over, basically. Well, then we got noticed because we ran more long-form infomercial than anybody in history. And then all these box stores and QVC, they all came on.
I broke records everywhere as soon as we got into there. So it did pay off. I look back, I'm going, I did a terrible thing by not doing my due diligence.
But by doing, even the mistake I made, once again, God protected the company. Then we get to, then the infomercial finally fatigued. And when it did fatigue in the summer of 2014, I thought, you know, it's over. I mean, it was just scary.
We were within two days of going under. During that time, I had fell away from God. I mean, I was like, when I took in all that money, I'm going, wow, this is, you know, I kind of forgot about the platform that he had given me.
And everything started to just cry up. In the summer of 2014, I met Kendra. And I noticed something with her that she had that I didn't have. It was like this relationship with Jesus. And she's telling me things about myself and the company.
And I'm going, no, you don't understand. We got rid of these problems. And I'm trying to get it back now. We had people come back from the past that were taking our money. I mean, there was just a lot of bad things. But we were within two days, literally, of going under.
That was in 2014. And she came at the perfect time because I'm going, God, you know, give me another chance, you know. I was like, that was my prayer. Give me another chance.
I won't do it wrong, you know. But I seen something in her, this relationship with Jesus. It was very different than, you know. And I wanted that. I really wanted that relationship or whatever she had. February 18th, 2017 is when Jesus showed up and I had this personal relationship now. And now I'm doing speaking all over the country.
I have the same passion for the pillow as now I have for Jesus. And you're listening to Mike Lindell share his story, The Ups, The Downs, The Ups, The Downs, and multiple occasions where he and his enterprise flirted with literal bankruptcy. And that is many a story of many an entrepreneur, that it is not a smooth ride and one day you're up and the next day market exigencies, competitors, and well, your own stupidity can get you into trouble. And then you have to reinvent again and again and again, like we all do in life. The story of Mike Lindell, his addictions, his contradictions, and in the end, how his faith saved him.
Here on Our American Stories. Ready to play some tennis? Let's do it. Are you going to put your phone away? No, Roto makes it so easy to buy a car, I can do both at once. It's really that easy?
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