Portland News

Joanna Danielle Olsen Talks How to Succeed in Business for Over 25 Years

Successful entrepreneurs not only realize their ambitions but those of others as well. The advantages of entrepreneurship go beyond the enterprises started by those who create them. They are able to connect their personality, abilities, and ingenuity with market possibilities and client demands. Entrepreneurs enhance people’s lives, communities, and the economy as a whole. They have played a significant role in promoting social change and improving people’s quality of life. Few entrepreneurs understand this better than Joanna Danielle Olsen, a businesswoman with over 25 years of experience in the industry best known as a franchise owner for Coyote Ugly Saloon.

Joanna’s interests include purchasing commercial and residential real estate, architecture, and giving back to her community. One skill she has developed over her long career is her ability to handle any unexpected circumstance—including operating a bar during a global pandemic.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Georgia, Joanna Danielle Olsen went on to work from 1997 to 1999 for Atlanta’s leading design company. She decided to launch her first business not long after with Paradox, where fashion, art, and music collide. In 2000, she received the Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year Award for the success of her business and admirable charitable work.

She moved onward on her entrepreneurial path by partnering up with businesswoman and NYU alum Liliana Lovell to create four Coyote Ugly Saloon locations in Tampa, Atlanta, and Panama City Beach.

In 2002, Joanna acquired a building in Tampa’s historic Ybor neighborhood, effectively becoming her own landlord. She moved Coyote Ugly Saloon-Tampa into this location, which is about to mark its 20th anniversary.

Asked about what her experience has been like as a leader, she said, “Through my life experience, resilience, and 25 years of being an entrepreneur, I have learned to never give up no matter what obstacles come my way. Each city has brought its individual challenges that I have had to overcome (weather, demographics and laws/permitting).”

The biggest challenges for Joanna recently have been what she calls “the unexpected acts of God” that she has bravely weathered. She has had to embrace her position as a leader through circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic and staff shortages.

“I have really established a great core management team that has grown with me since the beginning. They have been an integral part of my success. Navigating through obstacles of being an entrepreneur and business owner while staying relevant with the times along with staffing over 200 people jobs,” she said.

Beyond being an entrepreneur, Joanna prides herself on giving back, being a part of the community, and caring for her staff. When the pandemic hit, she had to close her bars for six months, which meant that her staff had to go without income. So she generously gave out Publix gift cards to each staff member.

“My mantra is to have empathy toward my staff and to give back to those who help contribute to my success. Being able to acknowledge my employees’ individual needs and unexpected life events by showing kindness and generosity has to the longevity of my business,” she said.

Despite having been in business for 25 years, Joanna Danielle Olsen is just getting started. Her current goals include expanding her enterprises globally, creating more jobs all over the world, and increasing the number of assets in her real estate portfolio. 


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