From the outside, the entrepreneurial world, colored by success and fame, seems effortless. However, the entrepreneurial journey is a long and arduous one requiring an unwavering dedication to one’s dream, resilience after every setback, and setting realistic expectations. One individual who continues to defy the odds and rise to the top of her industry is Joanna Danielle Olsen, a seasoned entrepreneur and the owner of the renowned Coyote Ugly Saloon.
Joanna Danielle Olsen graduated from the University of Georgia, earning a bachelor of science. After graduation, she joined the workforce at a top design firm in Atlanta. But, with her entrepreneurial fire burning bright, the go-getter soon left the corporate world and established her first enterprise, Paradox, where fashion, art and music merge into one wholesome creative outlet.
Taking the creative world by storm, Joanna was awarded the Glamour magazine woman of the year for her entrepreneurial achievement and philanthropic endeavors in 2000. The same year, she partnered with Lil Lovell to establish the renowned Coyote Ugly Saloon across Tampa, Atlanta and Panama City Beach.
Within two years, the seasoned entrepreneur purchased a building in the historic district of Ybor, Tampa, now home to Coyote Ugly Saloon. With two decades of being the best spot in the city with a lively ambiance and a standout bar section and cocktail list, Coyote Ugly Saloon-Tampa is soon to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Through 25 years of being an entrepreneur, Joanna has gained a wealth of experience and encountered numerous challenges. She shared that one of the biggest challenges was resilience through the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the crisis, her astute leadership skill, unwavering positivity and ability to embrace change and adapt to the times helped keep her business afloat and her staff employed.
On top of that, Joanna attributes her success to a great core management team working together to ensure the success and longevity of the company. “They have been an integral part of my success,” she acknowledges. With Joanna at its helm, Coyote Ugly Saloon weathered the storm and now provides jobs and growth opportunities to over 200 people.
Living by a watchword that translates to giving back to her community and ensuring the well-being of those who contributed to her success, Joanna ensured her staff was cared for during the pandemic despite all her bars closing down for six months. Besides ensuring job security, she gave out Publix gift cards to staff members, meeting their individual needs during unexpected life events. She understands that showing kindness and generosity to employees ensures the business’s longevity.
In this dog-eat-dog world, being an entrepreneur is no easy feat, especially as a highly successful one. But, looking back at how far she has come, Joanna shared the motivation behind her lifelong success. She shared, “I have learned never to give up no matter what obstacles come my way. Each city has brought its challenges that I have had to overcome.”
Taking giant strides in the entrepreneurial space, the inspiring individual has served as an Atlanta Women Leaders in Business member from 2005 to 2011. In addition, she has been a board member of the Ybor Chamber of Commerce since 2015 and the CEO of the Council of Tampa since 2020.
Additionally, she remains committed to giving back to the community and has taken leadership roles or partnered with several charitable organizations such as Heart Gallery of Tampa, Feeding Tampa Bay, Clothes to Kids, Thorn Ministries of Tampa, Anchorage Kids Foundation, My House, and Grace Lutheran.
In the coming years, Joanna Danielle Olsen aims to expand Coyote Ugly Saloon nationwide while contributing to the growth of her community. “My goal is to continue growing my business worldwide, provide jobs and add more properties to my real estate portfolio,” she shared.