Sounds like a pretty normal first experience! Don’t let it discourage you.
Quick question: Have you ever tried Pimsleur? Their program is the best I’ve found for getting a total beginner to start talking with confidence. However, it’s quite expensive, and it doesn’t take you very far. If, however, you can get Pimsleur Mandarin 1 for free through a library, it’s worth a try.
Part of the premise behind Pimsleur is that a huge part of language acquisition is muscle memory training - getting your mouth speaking the right sounds, over and over and over until it’s natural. Pimsleur also guides you, through audio only, how to construct your own sentences. This is important preparation for face-to-face conversation, since you can’t exactly set up a Teleprompter in front of the person you’re trying to talk to.
I did Mandarin 1 (lessons 1 through 30) first, then I did ChinesePod Newbie lessons in conjunction with Pimsleur Mandarin 2 (lessons 31 through 60). I’ve actually wondered if ChinesePod might consider a partnership with Pimsleur, since getting brand-new Newbies talking has been a weak point with ChinesePod.
Pimsleur does have more lessons beyond the ones I did (but not many!), but once I had successfully started speaking, I considered focusing on ChinesePod to be the better choice.