Do you have suggestions to make this project run successfully?

Do you have suggestions to make this project run successfully?

As I was looking for common Upwork questions, the question “Do you have suggestions to make this project run successfully?” came up.

Some freelancers argue that it’s a good way to know which projects to avoid, as it is a template question that clients can add with a single click.

Meaning that they aren’t serious about it since they didn’t bother to think it up on their own. 

Either way, we still have to answer it.

Predict what the client wants with the 8-ball technique

Since this is a template question, it can’t be that important to them compared to one they have thought about deeply and custom wrote.

But the point is still fair, everyone — both freelancer and client — wants to make sure the project runs successfully.

In general, what makes a project run successfully tends to be a balance of the following points

  • Delivery on-time and according to scope
  • Flexibility for changes 
  • We communicate well

Delivery of the project on time and according to the scope is so obvious that most of us think “d’oh, is it even worth mentioning?”

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But unfortunately, it is. It’s a basic part of being professional just like we expect clients to pay our invoices on time.

Yet, you’ll be surprised just how many freelancers are ridiculously unprofessional. Just by being reliable, true to our word, and delivering what we promise at the promised date, we are far ahead of others.

Even if the client says they are flexible on deadline, insist on one for yourself (and make one) so that you can show them that you are good at keeping deadlines. They will love you for it. 

You can simply explain to the client that you are aware that many other freelancers tend to be unreliable, so you want to show that you are different.

The second point, flexibility for changes, is a bit trickier because it tends to mean something different depending on if you are a programmer, designer, writer, marketer, etc.

But the point is the same across the board, the client usually just wants to make sure that they don’t get stuck with something half-done or if there is some miscommunication, that we are able to help tweak things until they are happy instead of disappearing or simply asking for the money.

It ties in with the last point, communicating well, which in my experience, comes down to asking if something isn’t entirely clear as well as updating them on the project often.

Now, let’s jump into the 8-ball technique…

Action step

Are you familiar with the magic 8-ball that tells the future? » Magic 8-Ball Future Crime Predictor Influencing Decisions  About Prison Sentences

Basically, you ask it a yes/no question, shake it and it will tell you the answer.

We can use the 8-ball technique to predict what the client is looking for. Try to put yourself in the client’s shoes and image you are hiring a freelancer for the same project.

Visualize that you are writing the job description and how you imagine the project go step by step and how the freelancer works based on your own experience. 

What kind of concerns would you have? Leave them in the comments below.

When I do it, I notice concerns like

  • Will the freelancer disappear?
  • What happens if I have changes/revisions? Will it cost extra?
  • What if something outside of my control happens? (For example, someone dying) Will the freelancer be flexible?
  • Can we expect to reach the deadline on time? Or will this part of the project block the rest of the project because of delays?

Next, let’s look at some ideas as to how to answer the Upwork question.

How to answer “Do you have suggestions to make this project run successfully?”

Perhaps the simplest way to approach it is to share what you’ve done for other clients to make sure that their projects have been running smoothly and successfully. 

If you can include testimonials that talk about something related, that is great.

If you haven’t had any clients before, you can also explain in detail how you will do it with their project.

I suggest also asking for a phone call to flesh out the details and make sure you understand everything they need correctly. It’s your secret lever to building trust with them.

You might even suggest things that the client could have forgotten to clarify or consider in the job description, that you, as the expert, knows might come up during the project. It shows that you are thinking ahead and taking responsibility.

How I might answer this Upwork question

I’d mention the three points:

  • Delivery on-time and according to scope
  • Flexibility for changes 
  • We communicate well

And show how I approach each one along with pointing out that I’ve attached client testimonials that they can take a look at if they are interested.

I’ll point out that my clients usually don’t have deadlines and so I set them for myself in agreement with the client and send them frequent updates asking for feedback. 

That way, they always know how far we are with the project and they get to offer feedback before we get too far ahead with a certain task. I also offer phone calls if we need to discuss a certain point deeper.

I point out that they are not paying for revisions but the delivery of the project or results, if it is relevant, so if there are updates to the project, they just have to let me know in time.

I also mention that they as a minimum get a weekly email update about the project but if the project is smaller, I’ll update them more frequently.

I’ll also ask them what is important for them to make sure this project runs successfully besides the points that I have already brought up.

Here’s a script you can use to ask for the same: 

“Hey X, could you help me understand how you imagine it looks like when this project is running smoothly and successfully? 

That way I can adjust to help you the best.”

That’s it. This is only really a small part of the proposal and most of the time the client just wants to make sure they can trust you to be reliable.

Read more about Upwork in the freelance digital marketing guide.

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Three of the important things to make sure a project runs successfully are delivery on-time and according to scope, flexibility for changes, and communicating well. The perhaps most common challenge businesses face to make sure a project runs well is miscommunication.

I like to tell the client that I have several and I’d like to jump on a quick call to better understand their business and project. Asking generic questions just to ask something, shows laziness, and gives a bad impression.

I like to answer it by researching the company where possible, show other similar projects I’ve completed and what made them similar. Particularly, the last point is what most freelancers tend to miss and it makes a great difference because it helps the client better understand your background.

One way to answer the question is to point out that you don’t know the other candidates, so it is difficult for you to compare yourself to them. Followed by breaking down the outcome or results they are looking to get and show how you’ve helped other clients get similar results along with adding testimonials.


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