Meet the Harvard MBA who turned a side hustle into a quest to redefine the term 'mogul' for women

  • Tiffany Pham was still in her twenties when she launched Mogul, a social media platform and website for millennial women, which now has 18 million users in 196 countries.
  • In her new book, "You Are a Mogul," Pham shares what she went through to build the start-up and the career advice she has for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

A mogul is usually known as a powerful business person. But one young entrepreneur has been working to expand that definition.

"For me, 'mogul' is the best version of yourself, " Tiffany Pham told CNBC's "On the Money" in a recent interview.

As founder and CEO, Pham launched a social media platform and website for women in 2014 — and named it Mogul. With 18 million users in 196 countries, the site aims to "enable women worldwide to connect, share information and access knowledge from each other."

Now, four years later, Pham has published a book entitled "You Are a Mogul," to share tips on how she was able create a start-up. She told CNBC that a crucial part is finding your "authentic self, someone who is an incredible sister, friend, daughter, mother, team player or team leader."

After graduating from Harvard Business School, Pham wanted to "create a company that could empower and enable" women on a global level. "When I first started Mogul, you'd Google the term and find page results of business moguls who were men," Pham said. "It wasn't until the sixth page that you got to women's names."

If you do the same search today, Pham added, "we are the number one search result helping to redefine that word for the next generation of girls and women to know that they can be moguls, too."

But she had a lot to learn before she figured out how to put her idea into action.

"To do this, I needed to know every facet of the media industry inside and out," Pham said. "And so that's why I subsequently took on corporate jobs during the day working with HBO, CBS and more."

It was when she decided to maximize her hours after work that she made progress in creating what became Mogul.

Mogul's Tiffany Pham on her top tips for entrepreneurs

"At night, I would take on side hustles — working with the vice mayor of Beijing at night on a side venture, or working with Hollywood talent producing feature films and documentaries — so I could supplement that learning," Pham said.

Just like Grandma

Among the success tips in her book, Pham stressed the importance of seeking out mentors to learn from their success and experience. But one of the earliest and most powerful influences on her life was the example her grandmother provided.

"She was this incredible maverick of her time, such an amazing woman who ran businesses across industries, one of the first women to drive a car in Vietnam," Pham said. "I wanted to be exactly like her."

And she says the idea for what became Mogul struck her at a young age.

"Early on, when I was 14 years old, I made a promise that I would create this company one day," Pham said. "Create this company that could empower and enable women all around the world, and follow in my grandmother's footsteps."

On the Money airs on CNBC Saturday at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.