You must define what is "making a long distance relationship work." Do you mean it leads to a marriage or is it just a certain amount of time as in a year, two years, or three years...etc?
The vast majority of couples in long distance relationships have no timeline or plan for when they will be together permanently. There is no substitute for spending time with a person in order to get to know them well enough before marrying them. Long distance relationships were meant to be temporary.
At some point someone has to make a move. A long distance relationship without “a light at the end of the tunnel” is likely to fail. It’s the counting down the months, weeks, and days until you are finally done with the inconvenience of being in a long distance relationship that keeps it strong.
The only reason for being in a long distance relationship is the belief he or she might be “the one”. If you’re just passing the time with someone you might as well do that locally. One man's opinion! :-)