Coyote Peterson seems to be one person with a death wish, but that is how he makes his money. He was once stung by harvester ants, and the video went viral; within a day after its release, it garnered a million views. He has consciously decided to be stung since then, even by venomous animals, but the worst sting he has ever experienced has to be from the executioner wasp. He likely has a lot of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. His inspiration to be stung, film the videos and share them with his audience is Justin Schmidt. Such dares have led to Peterson's net worth growing to $11 million so let's look at how he achieved the immense wealth.
Born to be Wild
Maybe the universe spoke to Peterson when he was born on a horse farm, perhaps telling him that being with animals was the life he was meant to live. His parents allowed him to be outdoors, and Peterson told Parent that they would open the door in the morning and ask him to go outside but remember to go back home for lunch. The morning hours were spent chasing bullfrogs, playing in the mud and building castles using sticks. After taking his lunch, his parents would again tell him to go out and play but return in time for supper. Therefore, even before he could be enrolled in pre-school, Peterson's interest in animals had begun.
The first animal he remembers having a good first encounter with was a toad. He was only four years old, and he caught one, convincing his mother to allow him to put it in a shoebox. However, as an animal lover, he knew that animals should be in the wild, so after a few days, he released it. He joined school, and during summer, he would hike the woods, being captivated by the ponds. He soon became engrossed with snapping turtles and the first one he caught when he was eight. Since he never got to see any exotic animals in Ohio where they lived, snapping turtles became his fascination. Catching them was mainly from being inspired by Steve Irwin.
If Irwin could wrestle with crocodiles, young Peterson could catch a snapping turtle; a snapping turtle is regarded as one of the most dangerous reptiles. Before long, he was dreaming of one day having his own reptile show. Getting nicknamed "Coyote" also stemmed from his fascination with lizards as a child. His mother would take him and his sister camping across Arizona in their old Chevrolet Suburban. Peterson's favorite lizard was the regal horned, and because they have excellent camouflage, the young boy relied on road runners to help him find them. He followed them around, hoping they would lead him to the lizards and the behavior led to his mother calling him a coyote.
Film Studies Pay Off
Even if Peterson wanted to own a reptile show in future, he still wanted to do a business course. So when he joined Ohio State University, he wanted to study business. However, as he told the College of Arts and Sciences, the course did not stimulate him intellectually, so he started wondering what else he could do. With his freshman year spent primarily watching classic movies, he thought about becoming a director to create films that made his audience feel the same emotions he was experiencing. Since his parents have always taught him to go after what he wants, the freshman changed courses and began pursuing a career in film and television. He, however, had to design his own major because the institution did not offer what he was seeking.
Everything happens for a reason, and joining Ohio State proved to be a good decision. It is while there that Peterson met Mark Vins. With Peterson halving already gained enough skills to become an executive producer of Buckeye TV projects within the institution, all he needed was a capable TV crew. He advertised the positions, and Vins showed up; the two hit it off fast because their minds were geared the same. They started thinking of developing a feature film, and after Peterson graduated, he was on his way to making his millions. He almost landed a deal worth $5 million, but along the way, it crumbled. He did not give up and instead started thinking of something else to utilize the skills learned in college. He disclosed that Irwin's death in 2006 got him thinking about an animal adventure show between 2008 and 2013. Peterson worked on the animal adventure concept and got his first round of funding for "Brave Wilderness" in 2013.
Fulfilling His Childhood Ambition
In 2020, Peterson finally fulfilled his dream as a child of owning a TV show. According to The Washington Post, he got to be on Discovery Channel's "Animal Planet" and felt so lucky to be drafted by professionals. Still, he is far from achieving his goal of being the largest animal adventure brand of all time. It is not clear how much he made per episode of the TV show, but if Dr. Jeff earns an average of $30,000 per episode, that would mean that with Peterson's "Brave the Wild," the 18 episodes raked in at least half a million dollars.
However, his primary source of income is not the TV show but rather the YouTube channel. Peterson told Entrepreneur that he launched the channel in September 2014 and never thought it would grow fast. He added that he monetizes the channel based on Google ads. With over 10 million subscribers, the channel earns him around $300,000 monthly and seeing that it was started six years ago, that would mean Peterson has been smiling all the way to the bank. Guinness World Records awarded his channel the most-viewed animal channel certificate; it had around 1.4 billion as of mid-November 2017, a number that has since grown to make it worth the while for the animal lover.
Written by Allen Lee
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